Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

California Road State Forest

primitive campinghikinghuntingtrappingFishingSkiingSnowshoeingicon key

California Road State Forest locator map

The 1,410-acre California Road State Forest's topography is very hilly with thin soils and rocky exposed ridge tops predominating. Better quality upland sites support a mixture of northern hardwood, hemlock, and white pine forests. Lower quality upland sites are dominated by red oak, eastern hophornbeam, hickories, and other species adapted to droughty and nutrient poor soils. Pine and spruce plantations were established on what were formerly farm fields and pastures. Flatter ground supports open wetlands and shrub swamps, which gradually transition to swamp hardwoods in seasonal flooded areas. The southwestern portion of this state forest shares a common boundary with the Fort Drum Military Reservation.

Featured Activities


primitive camping

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

There are no designated campsites on this property; however, primitive camping is 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.


a beaver pond in California Road State Forest
A Beaver Pond in California Road State Forest

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

There are several short trails in California Road State Forest. Hiking is also allowed throughout the state forest.

This state forest is located adjacent to a 164 acre parcel of state land classified as Forest Preserve. The forest preserve parcel is not managed for timber but is accessible for hiking and hunting.

Hunting &Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 6C

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. This state forest is located adjacent to a 164 acre parcel of state land classified as Forest Preserve that is accessible for hunting and hiking.



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

Fishing is permitted in all streams and ponds in California Road.

Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing

cross-country skiing

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

There are several trails suitable for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. No trails are specifically maintained for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.


This forest can be accessed from Ore Bed and Streeter Roads in the town of Pitcairn and the Sibley Road in the town of Fowler.

  • Ore Bed Road (44.21067°N, 75.4358528°W) Google Map (leaves DEC website)
  • Streeter Road(44.216597°N, 75.391521°W) Google Map (leaves DEC website)
  • Sibley Road (44.22064°N, 75.40294°W) Google Map (leaves DEC website)

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

Rules, Regulations & 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 with other users.

All users of California Road State Forest must follow all State Forest Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Specific Rules

Mountain biking and horseback riding are allowed within the property but there are no designated trails or maintained areas for these activities.

Planning and Management

DEC developed the draft St. Lawrence Rock Ridge Unit Management Plan that describes proposed management activities for this and several other state forests in the area. DEC accepted public comments on the draft until April 30, 2022. Questions about this draft UMP may be sent to


This forest consists of 12 parcels which were purchased between 1940 and 1989 for the purposes of reforestation, wildlife management, timber production, recreation, and watershed protection.

Portions of this area were formerly agricultural land that has reverted to forest. Open fields were planted with a variety of species including white spruce, red pine, Scotch pine, and white cedar. A total of more than 74,000 trees were planted on 120 acres of this state forest between 1954 and 1967.

Several state forests in southwestern St. Lawrence County were severely damaged by an intense windstorm which occurred on July 15, 1995. This storm came to be known as the 1995 Microburst, which affected a wide area stretching across northern New York State, from Lake Ontario to the central portion of the Adirondack Park. Winds gusted as high as 100 miles per hour, which caused damage ranging from broken tree limbs and tops to areas of 10 or more acres that were entirely blown down.

Four state forests in the town of Pitcairn suffered heavy wind damage: California Road, Cold Spring Brook, Greenwood Creek, and Toothaker Creek State Forests. Over the next 3 years, a total of 1,100 acres of storm damaged timber were harvested, yielding 1.4 million board feet of sawlogs and more than $280,000 in revenue. Many of the harvested areas have become dense stands of hardwood seedlings and saplings. These areas now provide early successional habitat preferred by several species of birds such as ruffed grouse, woodcock, and warblers.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

  • Dining opportunities, gas, food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Gouverneur and Harrisville.
  • Lodging opportunities may be found in the nearby community of Gouverneur.

St. Lawrence County Tourism (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 on-line 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 the internet 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.