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Hiking in Cortland County
The James D. Kennedy Memorial State Forest was named in memory of the District Forester James D. Kennedy. The 4422 acre forest is located in the towns of Harford, Lapeer and Virgil on Babcock Hollow, Baldwin, Bleck, Cook Hill, Courtney Hill, Cortwright, Hauck Hill, Hilsinger, O'Dell, Owego Hill, Quail Hollow, Scutt Hill, Valentine Hill and Van Donsel Roads.
This state forest has a great trail system featuring over 10 miles of the North Country Trail/Finger Lakes Trail as the main trail through the forest with several side trails that offer many loop hike opportunities of different lengths. This is the most visited state forest in Cortland County.
A few primitive camping spots are located behind this gate off Hauck Hill Road
The Dabes Diversion Trail, Kuzia Cut Off Trail, Virgil Mountain Trail, Spanish Loop Trail and the new Swedish Loop Trail are also located in the forest. These spur trails are part of the 900+ mile Finger Lakes Trail System. There are four miles of cross-country ski trails as well as the Foxfire Lean-to.
There are also 3 Public Forest Access Roads,(PFARs) within James D. Kennedy Memorial State Forest. They are: Scutt PFAR (2.1 Miles in length), Courtney Hill PFAR (0.8 Miles in length), and Cotton Hanlon PFAR (0.9 Miles in Length). PFAR's are permanent unpaved roads that are open to public use unless gated or otherwise noted.
Camping is free in this state forest as it is in most other state forests with the same rules as other state lands from the DEC which include camping allowed anywhere in the forest as long as you are at least 150 feet from any road, trail or water. A good camping location in the forest is off seasonal dirt Hauck Hill Road at the yellow gate. Park along the side of the road and a few primitive campsites are on the other side of the gate a short walk away.
This part of Hauck Hill Road is part of the Dabes Diversion Trail and this primitive camping area is located just west of the Kuzia Cut Off Trail. Hikers will find many great hiking opportunities in this state forest.
To access the forest there are numerous roads that pass through this state forest. From Virgil and NY 392 --> Owego Hill Rd, Daisy Hollow Rd, Babcock Hollow Rd, Van Donsell Rd, O'Dell Rd, Bleck Rd and Baldwin Rd all access this large state forest.
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