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Camping in a state forest

Camping in a state forest

  • State forest campgrounds are first come, first served and cannot be reserved. The only exception is Elk Hill Equestrian State Forest Campground (Otsego County). Advance reservations are available at takes advance reservations at

    Camping fees and registration procedures are posted at the information kiosk at each campground.

    The process of “tagging” – paying and holding a campsite in advance of arrival – a campsite is prohibited. To be considered a legally established camp, the site must meet one of the following: a) opening or setting up of a tent; b) parking and occupancy of an enclosed, self-contained camping unit; or c) sleeping or occupying a sleeping bag or sleeping in any other manner between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.

    The use of fuel-powered generators is not allowed during established quiet hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. To help visitors with medical needs, electric and solar-powered generators are allowed.

    You many not camp with more than 6 horses per campsite at an equestrian state forest campground or trail camp.

    Find state forest campground operating dates and fees

    More information about state forest campgrounds »

  • Backpacking or car camping (also known as dispersed camping) is permitted on state forest land as long as your site is located more than one mile from a state forest campground. It's free of charge.

    The following applies:

    • Campsites cannot be located in a state park, recreation area, state forest campground or state game area and must be located more than one mile from state forest campgrounds.
    • The campsite or adjacent area cannot be posted "No Camping."
    • A backpacking registration card must be prominently posted at the campsite for the duration of the stay. It's your responsibility to ensure that the registration card remains legible. Placing the card in a zip-top bag is recommended.
  • View a map of state forests and state forest campgrounds

    The map can be used as a measurement tool to determine state forest boundaries and which locations are more than one mile from state forest campgrounds. Camp registration cards are also available at customer service centers.