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Hiking in Cattaraugus County

Rock City
State Forest

Little Rock City Nature Trail


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The 2905 acre Rock City State Forest has a popular picnic/camping area off Little Rock City Road (seasonal dirt road) and has the remains of the old Seneca CCC camp near Hungry Hollow Road.  This state forest also has many miles of mountain bike trails.  This state forest received its name due to the massive boulders the size of houses which are naturally arranged so that they resemble a city with “streets” running between them. This unique “city” is formed by many factors including a massive resistant conglomerate bed, erosion of the weak shale base and soil creep. The conglomerate bed actually has its own geological designation known as Devonian Salamanca conglomerate. A conglomerate is a rock consisting of individual stones that have become cemented together.

With nothing to prevent this bed of rock from sliding down slope, the conglomerate has been carried slowly downhill by soil creep which has been going on for thousands of years. This downhill slide has caused the conglomerate bed to break into huge blocks to form the “buildings” and “roads” of the “city”. As these blocks lean against each other they form caves, tunnels and passageways.

There are many "free" campsites located in the state forest as well as many miles of biking trails.  A stretch of the North Country Trail travels through the forest.  A short nature loop trail allows visitors to explore "Little Rock City".  Look below for more info on this popular loop hike, pictures, a video of the hike and trail maps.

Little Rock City Nature Loop Trail

This 0.7 mile nature loop trail travels through Little Rock City. Little Rock City is a natural outcrop of conglomerate rock. The start of the loop trail is located at the end of Little Rock City Forest Road at the turn around loop. The trail is marked with yellow DEC Trail discs. This is one of three "rock cities" in Cattaraugus County. The others are Rock City, south of Olean, and Thunder Rocks in Allegany State Park.

A "rock city" is a rock formation with large rocks with narrow pathways between the rocks that may resemble city streets to some people. This loop trail winds through the rocks and coincides with the North Country National Scenic Trail where it can be followed back to the Little Rock City Forest Road, by turning left at the junction. When you reach Little Rock City Road turn left to return to the turn around loop and the end of this hike.  The overall hike is about one mile.

Squeezer along the Nature Loop Trail

Trail in Little Rock City



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