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Hiking in Yates County
Wildlife Management Area
The 6100 acre High Tor Wildlife Management Area has numerous ecological habitats with many steep wooded hills, gullies, eroded cliffs and marshlands in the West River Valley. The area is well named by the word TOR which means craggy hill or peak. The largest part of the area, approximately 3,400 acres just east of the Village of Naples, is primarily scenic steep wooded terrain, intersected by administrative truck trails usable as foot access to the more remote sections of the area.
Immediately north of this area is about 1,700 acres of marsh which lies between State Routes 21 and 245 and borders on the south end of Canandaigua Lake. This area is drained by the famous Naples Creek, known for its rainbow trout spawning runs, and the slow picturesque West River, which provides excellent bass and crappie fishing. Numerous wood duck boxes placed adjacent to the West River and its associated wetlands offer additional nesting sites for the beautiful wood duck. Other waterfowl species which frequent the area include the mallard, black duck, bluewing and greenwing teal, plus the hooded merganser which competes with the wood duck for available nesting sites.
East of the southern end of Canandaigua Lake is a third part of the area known as South Hill. This portion is composed primarily of 1,000 acres of overgrown fields with steep wooded hillsides. According to Indian legend, South hill is known as the "Birthplace of the Seneca's". The Seneca tribe belonged to the Iroquois Confederacy and were keepers of the "Western Door". The open areas on the top of South Hill offer excellent scenic views of the Naples and West River Valleys.
All of the State lands are identified by public hunting signs, and the Bristol Hills Trail which runs through the area has signs at its entrance to the area. There is also another hiking trail called the Hi Tor Blue Trail. Both of these trails are part of the 900 mile Finger Lakes Trail System. There are also other trails in the WMA. Look at the map below.
Rules and regulations for the use of the area are posted adjacent to most of the parking areas. Some rules include any camping at High Tor WMA is restricted and requires a permit from the DEC. The DEC only allows camping there during the months of March, April, and June-September, and they only issue permits to organized groups such as scout troops, hiking clubs, etc. Contact the NY DEC for more info.
Lean To in Hi Tor WMA
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