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California Hill State Forest

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California Hill State Forest locator map

The 982-acre California Hill State Forest includes the 94-acre Waywayanda Lake. The varied landscape of this unit allows for a many types of recreational activities. Target shooting is prohibited at California Hill State Forest pursuant to 6NYCRR Part 190.8 (ab) (leaves DEC website).

UPDATE: DEC is working with our partners at the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference to rehabilitate illegal trails and to design and construct a more sustainable trail system that reflects an inclusive "multiple use" philosophy. We anticipate this process to be completed by November 2022. Mountain bikes will remain prohibited on the property until this process is complete. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

If you would like to become a volunteer and help, please feel free to contact the NYNJTC: (leaves DEC website).

Featured Activities



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

There are 1.92 miles of multiple-use trails and unpaved forest access roads throughout the property that provide hiking opportunities.

Primitive Camping

primitive camping

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

There are no designated campsites, however, at-large 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.



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

Canoes and kayaks can be launched from a hand launch off Waywayanda Court on Waywayanda Lake.



General information on boating includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations and lists of DEC boat launches by county.

A hand launch off Waywayanda Court provides boat access to Waywayanda Lake for non-motorized boats and boats with electric motors.



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

Southeast NY Fishing provides information on fishing in the area and links to top fishing waters, stocking lists, public fishing access and waters open to ice fishing listed by county.

Largemouth bass, chain pickerel, bluegill, black crappie, yellow perch and brown bullhead can be caught in Waywayanda Lake.

Hunting & Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 3N

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 during appropriate seasons. Various game species and furbearers found on the unit include white tail deer, pheasant, turkey, waterfowl, rabbit and squirrel.


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

Due to the largely undeveloped forest, an abundance of wildlife can be seen ranging from white tail deer and turkey to much smaller animals including waterfowl, rabbit and squirrel.


  • Gordon Road parking area, 5 car capacity (41.442719°N, 73.765199°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Waywayanda Court parking area and boat launch, 4 car capacity (41.437222°N, 73.782889°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 with other users.

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

Specific Rules

Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, mountain biking and horseback riding are allowed within the property but there are no designated trails or maintained areas for these activities.
Target shooting is prohibited at California Hill State Forest pursuant to 6NYCRR Part 190.8 (ab) (leaves DEC website).

Planning and Management

DEC is developing a management plan (UMP) which will describe the management activities for these lands. In addition to management objectives, the UMP will contain 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

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

  • Dining and lodging opportunities as well as gas, food and other supplies may be found in the nearby communities of Fishkill, Mahopac, Hopewell Junction and Carmel.

Putnam 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.