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Charles E. Baker State Forest

hikinghorseback ridingprimitive campingpicnic areasrestroomhuntingtrappingfishingsnowmobilingbikingcross-country skiingsnow shoeingaccessible facilitiesparking icon key

Charles Baker State Forest locator map
4 horseback riders on a paved road in the forest

This 9,400-acre forested property, located in southeast Madison County, makes up the core of the Brookfield Trail System. Charles E. Baker, combined with Brookfield Railroad and Beaver Creek State Forests, contain 100 miles of connected trails. These recreational trails are open for hiking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and mountain biking. Several trails are open for ATV use by permit only for people with disabilities.

For those who prefer to drive through the forest, the Brookfield Auto Tour Guide (PDF) provides highlights of this state forest. The topography ranges from mild to moderate slopes with a few steep areas.

Featured Activities

Hiking

hiking

General information on hiking includes how-to, safety tips, and links to rules and regulations.

Hiking is allowed on all trails year-round in Charles Baker State Forest.

Moscow Hill camping and assemboy area can accommodate campers
The Moscow Road Assembly and Camping Area
can accommodate campers

Horseback Riding & Stable

horseback riding

The assembly area on Moscow Road is the beginning of the trail system. The assembly and camping area can accommodate campers and approximately 150 horses with covered tie stalls and stallion box stalls. There is a pavilion as well as water, picnicking, and camping facilities. Accessible portable toilets and an accessible mounting platform for people with disabilities are also available at this site.

Equestrian riding has a set season - May 1st through October 31st each year. Organized trail rides or events need a temporary revocable permit (TRP) which can be obtained through the local Lands and Forests office in Sherburne. Plan on two to three weeks for processing prior to the event. An application fee is also required for the TRP. Proof of current negative Coggins certificate is required for all horses and out-of-state horse owners are required to produce a 30-day health certificate. Further information on these permits can be obtained through any NYS DEC office throughout the state. See Rules and Regulation section for more information.

Camping

Primitive campsite
primitive camping

General information on primitive camping includes how-to, safety tips, and links to rules and regulations.

Primitive campsites are located at the Moscow Hill Assembly and Camping Areas, the Cherry Ridge Camping area, and other camping areas noted on the map. In these areas, camping is at designated sites only, except in the Moscow Hill Assembly area where there is room for RVs and trailers. Campsites feature picnic tables and fire pits. The Cherry Ridge camping area has potable water. Campsites are on a first-come, first-served basis. Lean-tos are also available for camping. See the map for locations.

At large primitive camping is also allowed. Campsites must be at least 150 feet away from the nearest road, trail, or body of water. Camping for more than three nights or in groups of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.

Day Use/Picnic Areas

picnic areas

The Moscow Hill Assembly area has a pavilion, picnic tables, and a limited number of grills and fire pits. Picnic tables, grills, and fire pits are available in numerous other locations throughout the property. Portable toilets are available at the Moscow Hill Assembly and camping areas May 1- Labor Day.

Hunting & Trapping

hunting
trapping

Wildlife Management Unit: 7M

General information on hunting and general information on trapping includes how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules and regulations.

Hunting and trapping are allowed in accordance with State laws and regulations. Follow all hunting safety guidelines, be prepared before going into the woods.

Fishing

fishing

General information on fishing includes fishing tips with links to seasons, rules and regulations.

Charles E. Baker State Forest features a number of brooks throughout the property that are open to fishing in accordance with statewide fishing regulations.

Snowmobiling

snowmobiling

General information on snowmobiling includes how-to, safety tips, and links to rules and regulations.

Hiking and equestrian trails are used for snowmobiling in the winter. The main truck trails and town roads are groomed by local clubs. Other trails are open to snowmobiling but are not groomed. The Brookfield Trail System connects to an additional 78 miles of snowmobile corridor trails through unplowed portions of town roads, public forest access roads, and woodland trails. Most corridor trails are located in state forests in Chenango, Oswego, Cortland, and Madison counties.

Biking

biking

General information on biking includes how-to and safety tips with links to rules and regulations.

Biking is allowed at Charles E. Baker State Forest on the off road trail network during the trail riding season (May 1st to October 31st). During the rest of the year, mountain biking is only allowed on the road network.

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

cross-country skiing
snowshoeing

General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips with links to rules and regulations.

All trails on Charles E.Baker State Forest are open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. However, no trails are groomed for cross-country skiing.

Wildlife

General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

The wildlife present in the Charles E. Baker State Forest includes deer, turkey, ruffed grouse and migratory songbirds.

Accessible Features

accessible facilities

General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.

Accessible features at this state forest include:

Directions

To access the forest, take State Highway 12 to Madison County Route 74 (Larkin Road) heading East. This will bring you to Moscow Road. Turn right and proceed south approximately 1/4 mile. The camping and assembly areas will be on your left. A parking area in the assembly area offers space for large rigs and day-use parking. For camping permits, contact the State Forest Ranger at (315) 886-1669.

  • Parking: (42.79359°N, 75.40741°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace Principles (leaves DEC website) when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts.

All users of Charles E. Baker State Forest must follow all State Forest Use Regulations (link leaves DEC website) and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Don't move firewood. The insects it can carry could kill the forests you love. Please review the state firewood regulations before traveling with firewood.

Site-Specific Rules for Charles E. Baker State Forest

  1. No horse camping November 1 to April 30.
  2. Off-road trails are closed to horse and mountain bike travel from November 1 to April 30.
  3. Horse owners must have a current negative Coggins certificate in accordance with Agriculture and Markets Rules and Regulations, Part 64 and carry this document with them.
  4. Out-of-state horse owners are required to produce a valid health certificate issued within the past 30 days by their state of residence.
  5. Horses may not be run, galloped or cantered in the assembly area.
  6. During hunting season hunters may camp and use the Moscow Hill Assembly and Camping Areas, but must receive a permit from State Forest Rangers, (315) 886-1669.

Planning and Management

Charles Baker State Forest

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Brookfield Unit Management Plan (UMP). In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural and human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us at R7Forestry@dec.ny.gov.

Charles E. Baker State Forest is named after the district forester who oversaw the establishment of this property as a state forest. This state forest was purchased for reforestation, watershed protection, timber production, recreation and similar purposes. This property is a blend of red, white and Scotch pine and Norway spruce plantations with natural hardwoods consisting of American beech, sugar maple, red maple, black cherry, white ash, basswood and eastern hemlock. Many different habitats can be found on the forest. Various forest products have been harvested over the years, supplying market demand for paper products, construction lumber, cabin logs and fine furniture.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

  • Gas, food, dining and lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Hamilton, Sherburne and Clinton.

Madison County Tourism Office (link leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Numerous guidebooks and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and online booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search online for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.