Boyce Hill State forest Trails

Posted on August 26, 2008

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Boyce Hill State Forest Trails

Boyce State Forest is in Cattaraugus County in the Town of Franklinville.  Its western border is on Rte 242 at Phillips Road.  Its eastern border is near Jackson Road which is off County Route 17 (Bakerstand Rd.).

 
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It has two main entry points.  The first is at Philips Road and Route 242.  You can park on Phillips Road and walk north on Route 242 for about 30 yards until you see the State Forest sign and the Finger Lakes Trail and North Country trail information signs.

 The second main entry point is off Jackson Road, which is off County Route 17, also known as Bakerstand Rd.  Drive down Jackson Road almost to the end, about 1/3 mile, and you will come to the forest service road on your right.  You can drive up the forest service road about ¼ mile to a parking area.  I would not attempt to do so in winter unless you have a good off-road 4×4.  The service road is part of the Cattaraugus County snowmobile trail and is usually packed down but is still very uneven in the winter.

 The East Entrance:

 The east entrance is reached from Franklinville by traveling west on County Route 17 (not State Rout 17), where it intersects with Route 16 at the stop light in the center of the village of Franklinville.  Note that County Route 17 is called “Narrows Rd or “Elm Street” in the village of Franklinville.  At about the 1.5 mile mark County Route 17 bears to the right and is named Bakerstand Road.  Bryant Hill Road comes in from almost straight ahead (it actually looks like Bryant Hill Road is the continuation of County Route 17 but it is not, you have to bear to the right onto Bakerstand Road.)

 You can also get to the east entrance by traveling east on County Route 17 (aka Bakerstand Road) from where it intersects Route 242, just north of the intersection of Phillips Road and Route 242.

 In either case, turn south onto Jackson Road off of Bakerstand Road.  Jackson Road is just east of Tug Hill Road.  It is approximately 2.1 miles east of Route 242, and 2.9 miles west of Route 16.  It is slightly east of the high point on Bakerstand Road.  There is a Finger Lakes Trail sign on a pole on the west side of Jackson Road.  There are white blazes for the FLT on the west side of Jackson Road leading to the beginning of the forest service road. 

Walk or drive up the forest service road about 200 yards and you will see the New York State Boyce State Forest sign.  You will also see the white FLT blazes on trees.  Picture of Boyce Hill State Forest sign

Boyce Hill State Forest Sign in Winter

Continue up the service road.  Just before you reach a level opened stretch you will see a cleared area on your right that is just past a brown and yellow Cattaraugus County snowmobile trail marker for snowmobile trail number 2.  This is the end (or the beginning depending on which direction you take the trail) of the DEC loop trail.  This point is at decimal coordinates 42.33574, -78.51865.  The beginning of the DEC loop trail (or the end depending on which direction you take the trail) is further up the forest service road.  This point is at decimal coordinates 42.33574, -78.51865.  
Picture of exit point DEC Loop trail

Boyce Hill State Forest DEC Exit Point

Continue another quarter mile up the service road to reach the parking area.  The Finger Lakes Trail enters the woods directly across from the parking area on the west side of the service road.  The DEC trail enters the woods about 30 yards further up the service road.  The service road ends in a turn around loop just past the parking area.  Picture of  entry point of DEC Loop trail

Boyce Hill State Forest Entry Point

The FLT goes through the northern portion of Boyce Hill State Forest.  It cuts through the stand of pine trees in the northeastern section of the forest, then travels through the hardwood stand in the middle, and then travels through the stand of pines in the western panhandle of the forest.  The FLT leaves Boyce State Forest at Phillips Road and Route 242.  For information on the Finger Lakes Trail please visit www.fingerlakestrail.org and order Map M-4. 

The DEC loop trail is marked with some yellow DEC disks but mostly with orange flagging.  In the summertime it is easy to follow because it is apparent on the ground due to the fact that is used as a horseback ridding trail.  Unfortunately, flagging is not as durable as disks or paint blazes so there may be spots where it is difficult to follow.  And there may be spots where there is confusing flagging because hunters use flagging to track wounded game and they don’t always remove it as they should.  But I was able to stay on the trail despite never having hikes it before, and not even knowing that it was a loop trail.  The first time I hiked it I just followed what look liked a trail until I came out on the service road.  Hopefully, the DEC will either put up more disks or paint blazes before next winter to facilitate following the trail when the snow obliterates the horse tracks.

 A More Detailed Description of the DEC Loop Trail

Topo Map of Trails

topo of Boyce Hill State Forest Trails

Trail in white is FLT.     Trail in red is DEC trail

From the point where the county snowmobile trail enters the woods at the end of the forest service road it follows the county snowmobile trail in a southerly direction for about a tenth of a mile.  The DEC loop trail then veers southwest onto a DEC ATV trail for the disabled.  (The snowmobile trail continues south and eventually leaves the State forest and crosses private lands.)  It continues heading southwest until the end of the DEC ATV trail (there is a sign stating “End of ATV trail” with the handicapped symbol.  This is about the .5 mile mark.

 The trail then follows along the southern border of the northern section of the state forest as it proceeds up a small rise and then back down until the one mile mark where it heads northwest along the edge of a stand of pine trees on the right (east) side of the trail.  At 1.25 miles the trail turns east and follows along the northern border of the same stand of pine trees.  It again begins a slight climb until the 1.5 mile mark where it starts to descend in a northerly direction.  At about the 2 mile mark it reaches a small creek and follows it for a short distance before crossing and heading back up hill in a northwesterly direction, once again along the edge of stand of pines. This is the large stand of pines in the northeastern portion of the forest. 

 At the 2.1 mile mark the DEC loop trial crosses the FLT.  Shortly thereafter the DEC loops trail turns east and heads down what appears to be an old logging with a stand of pines on both sides of the trail.

 At the 2.5 mile mark it passes the small pond in the northeastern section of the forest and begins descending to the creek just a tenth of a mile ahead.  After crossing the creek it turns northwesterly and follows the ravine created by the creek until the 2.8 mile mark where it turns east and heads up a hill on an old logging road.  The trail reaches the service road at the 3.25 mile mark.

 The West Entrance:

 To enter the forest from the west end you have to go to the intersection of Phillips Road and Route 242, which is about 1 mile south of the intersection of Route 242 and Bakerstand Road (County Route 17).  Just before getting to Phillips Road you will pass Ridenour Pl.  Phillips Road is not plowed in the winter although I did see a four wheel drive Jeep come down the road.  There is a small space on the north side of Phillips Road to park a vehicle.  The FLT begins at the edge of the forest on Route 242.  You can follow Phillips road until the point where it veers southeasterly out of the forest.  Just keep heading east into the forest and bushwhack due east until you come upon the portion of the County snowmobile that is in the forest.  Turn left (northeasterly) onto the snowmobile trail and it will take you to the parking area at the end of the forest service road that enters the park at the eastern entrance.  Directly across from the parking area the FLT enters the woods heading back west which you can follow back to the intersection of Phillips Road and Route 242.  The roundtrip is about 5.5 miles depending on how straight of a bushwhack you keep.

 Backpacking Opportunities:

 Bring a map, compass, and gps and bushwhack through the forest.  It is roughly shaped as a frying pan with the handled on the west side.  There is also a long narrow section jutting south that doesn’t have any official trails going through it.  I am going to bushwhack that portion in the near future to see if there are any herd paths.

 You can also try following the perimeter which is approximately 18 miles long so you have plenty of room to explore.  You can camp anywhere in the forest that is 150 feet from a road, trail, or water (that means no camping right next to the pond but there is plenty of room just 30 yards away).

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