Black Rock Forest
The Black Rock Forest is
a 3750 acre preserve dedicated
to scientific research, education, and conservation of
the natural ecosystem that once covered this entire region.
Located in the Hudson Highlands on the west bank of the
Hudson River, 50 miles north of NYC, the area is home
to numerous ponds, wetlands, and great biological diversity.
Despite the area's rich cultural history,
the land remains relatively pristine due to the foresight
of Dr. Ernest Stillman, who established it as a research
and demonstration forest early in the 20th century.
The Black Rock Forest was acquired by the not-for-profit
Black Rock Forest Preserve in 1989, which set the region
aside as a natural area for perpetuity.
The forest is administered and used
as a field station by the Black Rock Forest Consortium,
comprised of private and public educational and research
institutions. The Consortium provides a center for research
and teaching at all levels and an information network
linking students, researchers, teachers, administrators,
The forest is cross by many well maintained
trails and old roads ideal for day hiking and is generally
open to the public for their enjoyment. However, please
remember that this is privately owned and conserved
lands and obey all of the rules that are posted. Some
of the most spectacular views can be had from atop the
peaks in the forest, so enjoy your day and observe the
The forest is closed to hikers during
deer season, from mid-November to mid-December as it
is open for hunting to members of a local hunt club.
Considering ignoring this period when the forest is
closed is extremely dangerous!
Most of the access points into the
forest are located on Route 9W as it hugs the eastern
edge of the forest. However, on Route 32 north of Woodbury
there is a single access point, relatively well marked,
where you can park and take to the trails.
The landscape around the forest is
comprised of a mosaic of Mixed Northeastern Deciduous
Forest, as well as human dominated areas such as current
and fomer farm lands. There is a diffuse network of
backcountry single lane dirt roads running through the
forest as well as many suburban two lane paved roads.
These offer excellent routes and views for hikes, runs,
and mountain bike riding. There are seven lakes and
reservoirs within the forest surrounded by many beautiful
mountains and hills with great views. Each of these
lakes eventually feeds into streams that merge into
the majestic Hudson River.
The forest is open to the public
year-round, daylight hours only, for recreational pursuits
such as hiking. However, it may be closed during periods
of fire danger, deer hunting, and other times as posted.
The following usage policies are enforced at all times.
- No motor vehicles of any kind (including
motorcycles, snowmobiles and ATV's) are allowed in
the forest without a permit. The Forest director and
Forest Manager are the only persons authorized to
grant permission to drive on the roads.
- Bike riding in the Black Rock Forest
is limited to members of the Black Rock Mountain Bike
Club, and is allowed only on forest roads. For information
- All ponds and connecting streams
(with the exception of Sutherland Pond and Mineral
Spring Brook) are part of the water supply for Cornwall
and Highland Falls. State and local laws prohibit
public use of these waters in any form, i.e. swimming,
bathing, boating, fishing, etc.
- No open fires are allowed at any
- Camping and overnight stays by
the public are not permitted.
- Hunting and fishing privileges
are restricted to members of the Black Rock Forest
Fish and Game Club. Hunting is further limited to
State of New York deer season in compliance with New
York State DEC rules and regulations. Any carrying
or usage of firearms by permit only.
- All forest contents are (e.g. wild
plant and animal materials, rock, soils, etc.) are
the property of the preserve and may not be collected
without prior written permission of the Forest Director
or Forest Manager.
- Dogs are permitted in the forest
only if kept on a leash and under control at all times.
- Please stay on forest trails at
all times to minimize impact.
- Do not disturb scientific and educational
equipment and materials in the forest; violators will
- Scientific and educational use
of the forest is limited to members of the Black Rock
Forest Consortium; if interested please contact the
- All organized groups (hiking, birding
groups, etc.) must register with the forest office
prior to visiting.
A variety of natural hazards are indigenous
to the forest. Travel trails at your own risk as the
management does not claim that these are free from potential
hazards. Be especially aware of loose rocks and steep
slopes. Snakes and other forest animals can be dangerous
and/or act violently if approached. Some wildlife, such
as ticks and raccoons, may carry diseases such as lyme
disease or rabies. Use Caution. Some plants, such as
poison ivy, may be harmful if contacted. Do not consume
surface or spring water or any plant or animal materials
as they may be harmful to your health. Be particularly
alert for vehicles,bikes, etc., when traveling in the
forest. Bad weather can occur unexpectedly; be advised
no shelter is available in the forest.
Forest visitors are not charged for
access, but the consortium is dependent on voluntary
contributions to cover a portion of the cost of maintaining
the forest. Suggested donations are $2 for adult and
$1 per child, per visit. Be more generous if you can.
Suggested map donation is $1 to help defer some of the
accrued printing cost. Please consider supporting our
efforts to keep Black Rock clean and beautiful and provide
broad educational benefits by contributing to our friends
of Black Rock campaign. Details about Friends of Black
Rock Forest are available at the Center for Science
and Education and on the Information Board near the
you may encounter members of the Black Rock Forest Patrol.
These are volunteers from the local community here to
watch for any problems in the forest. Please contact
them if you need assistance and treat them courteously.
We thank the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference for
maintaining the following trails: Scenic, Stillman,
Sackett, Duggan, Chatfield, Secor, Ledge, Ryerson, Stropel,
Split Rock and the two short side trails to Spy Rock
and Eagle Cliff.