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Our 2010 Hikes - July 11

State Forest


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We planned a tour of numerous state forests for our adventure on Sunday, July 11th.  This tour would take us into three counties; Madison, Chenango and Cortland County in central New York.  Our adventure started at Stoney Pond State Forest as I wanted to see how many people were camping at the small primitive campsites located near the pond.

The campsites were almost all full as we drove around the camp loop.  I also snapped a few pictures of campsites for the website.  It's free to camp at Stoney Pond with a permit from the NY DEC between May 1 - Sept 30.  Free permits may be obtained from the DEC Lands & Forests Office in Sherburne, in person or by calling 607-674-4017 between the hours of 8 am and 4 pm Monday through Friday.  We will also be doing a loop hike here at a later date to feature on our website.

Our next stop was Earlville State Forest.  There are no formal hiking trails, however according to the DEC website there are a couple of ponds.  We did an auto tour of the state forest and did not see any herd paths that might have lead to ponds but were unable to find or locate.  We were pleasantly surprised with the panoramic view from the entrance to the forest.

Next we drove quickly through Lebanon State Forest along Bisbee Road.  According to the DEC website there is a nice camping spot along the road.  There seemed to be to many homes in the area on the paved road for a nice campsite.  As we drove to our next destination on NY 80 west of Sherburne, we saw a DEC kiosk and parking area and decided to turn around to see what we just drove by.

It was the Adams Farm Parcel of the Rogers Environmental Education Center.  After looking at the kiosk map, I decided that we would explore this place by doing a outer loop hike.  What a great place!  We would recommend this hike to everyone in the family!  The trails are well maintained and nice views of the Chenango River as well as a scenic Pond.

Scenic pond in Adams Farm Parcel

We finally made it to Pine Ridge State Forest to see if there was a herd path that lead to a pond.  We did see a kiosk, but no trails.  On our way to our next scheduled stop, we drove through Skinner Hill State Forest.  Along Skinner Hill Road, I had to pull over to take pictures of an amazing panoramic view (see panorama above).  We continued on to Hunts Pond State Park.

Hunts Pond State Park is more of a primitive campground (like Stoney Pond but you have to pay) than your typical state park.  There is a small picnic pavilion overlooking Hunts Pond and a boat launch.  We were disappointed to see that the grounds of the park have not been mowed all year.  There were a few people camping and boating there.  The best campsite for those looking to be by the water is #13.

Campsite 13 in Hunts Pond State Park

Next it was on to Whaupaunaucau State Forest to check out some of the 13 miles of hiking trails there, as well as the pond and lean to located in the state forest.  When we signed the trail register, I noticed that some stated that they saw a moose while hiking a few days earlier?  We did a short loop hike of just under two miles featuring the lean to located on trail 20 and the pond.  We did not see any moose during our short stay.  A very nice place, unfortunately some of the trails have yet to be mowed, so the grass was somewhat high.

Next we were off to Balsam Swamp State Forest to check out the camping area near Balsam Pond.  There were still a few people there when we arrived in the mid afternoon.  Looks like a nice place for free camping, however not as nice as Stoney Pond State Forest, although the pond is much bigger.

Next we did a quick auto tour of Five Streams State Forest to check out a scenic pond that is visible from Pucker Street.  Pucker Street is a dirt road that travels into the state forest.  There are no formal hiking trails in this state forest, however we did see many old stone walls visible from the road.

Scenic pond in Five Streams State Forest

Now it was on to Long Pond State Forest along NY 41.  There are hidden primitive camping spots located off NY 41 near Long Pond.  There were a few people still camping and enjoying the area when we drove through mid afternoon on Sunday.  Looks like a nice place to explore with a kayak.

We checked out Papish Pond, which is easily reached via a paved road.  This pond is popular for fishing and kayaking as there are no hiking trails.  From there we drove a short distance to Gee Brook State Forest.  First we explored the forest from the Ace of Spades Forest Access Road and then we went to the Calico Pond Day Use Area off NY 41.

A dirt road leads to a small parking area for three vehicles at a gate.  By following the old dirt road you'll reach Calico Pond in just under a mile of pleasant walking.  There is also a herd path that leads to some small waterfalls and the trail just past the pond has some nice views of a stream below.  We also saw a campsite marked #7 near the pond, however no other campsites were observed.

That ended our state forest tour for Sunday, July 11th.

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