Tug Hill State Forest, large gorges
Info: These trails are located in the town of Rodman in the Tug Hill Forest, which totals about 12,000 acres. Much of the land was bought for $4 per acre in 1933, when it was abandoned agricultural land. All cuttings to date have been thinnings, which make more room for the healthiest trees to grow. Many thousands of dollars have been returned to the State Treasury from the sale of this excess wood. In July 1995 a severe storm, The Microburst, swept through the area and the downed wood was salvaged by local loggers. DEC’s Operations Unit and local volunteers re-opened the trails. The impact of this storm will be evident for many years to come. This is a popular cross-country ski trail area. (information taken from the DEC pamphlet.)
There are at least three nature/hiking trails lined up end-to-end, overlooking the five miles of Inman Gulf. Things to look for – sheer shale walls, a waterfall, lots of different kinds of forests, wildflowers and seasonal foliage, informative pictorial plaques, the ancient river drainage, a lot of wildlife and bird watching. Beware of dangerous, unstable edges, keep to trails but still watch your step.
*One mountain biker e-mailed me this info – ‘Do not try the area marked “NO BIKES”. Five years ago an expert biker lost his bike (GT Zaskar) over the edge and almost his life, he held onto a tree.’
* Scotti writes: “This trail is beautiful in the fall. A little soggy in some areas but you can find your way around it. I went last year around the beginning of October and the leaves were incredible. Can’t wait to do it again this year.”
Directions: From the north side of Route 177, about two miles west of Barnes Corners and .75 miles east of the intersection of Route 177 and 189. The parking is well-marked on the north side of NYS Route 177.
Trail Distance: See legend in map below. Many different trails of varying lengths, comprising five loops of trails (five trails) totaling more than eleven miles altogether (slightly out of date, there are more now).
Mountain Biking Allowed: Yes. Easy to hard.
Regular Biking Allowed: Not recommended in most areas. Many back dirt roads though.
Hiking/Walking Allowed: Yes.
Cross-Country Skiing: Yes, see Tug Hill Forest skiing and map.
Pets Allowed: Yes.
Built on Former Railroad Bed: No.
Special Instructions: None.
For More Information and Camping Permits: Write to – NYSDEC, RD 3, Box 22A, Lowville NY, 13367, or call (315) 376-3521 or 785-2310 (weekdays 9 AM to 4:45 PM). DEC website on Tug Hill Forest.
The maps below may be somewhat outdated, see more current ones on DEC website on Tug Hill Forest or at the trailhead.