Northern Trailhead: From Ithaca, head east on Rt. 79 to Slaterville Springs. Turn left at Midline Rd. which becomes Irish Settlement Rd. Turn right onto Hammond Hill Rd. and park.Southern Trailhead: Continue through Slaterville Springs on Rt. 79 and turn left on Harford Rd. After about 2 miles turn left onto Hammond Hill Rd.
Hammond Hill State Forest is over 3,600 acres in size, with an average elevation of 1,800 feet. Once depleted and abandoned farmland, it was converted to a natural mixed forest consisting of hardwoods such as birch, oak, maple, cherry and a variety of pine. Today, the heavily forested, hill and valley terrain is cut by gorges and creek valleys containing waterfalls and swimming holes. From the ridge tops, stunning views of the surrounding hills can be seen through the foliage. Not far from Cortland or Ithaca, it's an ideal getaway for a day or a weekend.
A 16 mile network of marked trails criss-cross the forest. Although most of the riding here is geared toward the moderate to advanced rider with good bike handling skills, there's something for everyone at every experience level. The trails range from easy and wide for beginners to twisty and narrow with steep, short climbs and sharp drops-offs for experienced riders.
All the trails tend to be wet most of the time except after long dry spells. The fall is the best time to ride here. Then the black flies are gone and the foliage is spectacular around mid to late October. Trail maps are available at the check in point near the parking lot.
Only specific activities are allowed on certain trails—minimizing user conflicts and enhancing trail sustainability. There are 16 miles of hiking and snowshoe trails; 11 miles of mountain biking, horseback riding, and cross-country ski trails; and nearly six miles of snowmobile trails.
There are also 6.2 miles of Forest access and seasonal use roads such as Hammond Hill Road, that are used mostly by snowmobiles. The trails which branch off the seasonal roads are basically double-track trails used by snowmobiles or narrow single-track hiking trails also used by mountain bikers and equestrians.
The trails, marked by numbered trail junctions as well as colored/numbered plastic markers, are classified according to user ability levels. Beginner trails have gentle slopes and are fairly short in length. The Intermediate level trails are moderate in length with gentle to steeper slopes. Advanced trails have gentle to steep slopes and are generally longer than the intermediate level trail system.
Yellow Trails: 5.6 miles on old logging roads and fire lanes. Numbered Y1 - Y8. Y1, Y3, Y4, Y6 and Y8 are classified as intermediate level trails, the longest segment being 1.9 miles. Y5 classified as advanced is the second longest of the Yellow Trails 1.3 miles. Y2 (.6 mile), Y6 (.2 mile) and Y7 (. 5 mile) are coded for beginners. Beginners, don't let the colors deter you. With some basic bike handling skills you can try some of the intermediate coded trails. You can always stop , get off and walk the steeper sections, if you feel you are not ready.
Blue Trails: 1.4 miles. Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing permitted.
Red Trails: 1.7 miles total. Used by Cornell Nordic Ski team. These trails are cut wide and coded as advanced.
Green Trails: 1.7 miles total. Coded as Intermediate and Advanced.
Orange/Snowmobile Trails: 5.6 miles in length. The trails are designated as corridor snowmobile trails.
Finger Lakes Hiking Trail (FLT): 3.2 miles (white blazes). (No biking) The Finger Lakes Hiking Trail (FLT) section on Hammond Hill. Recreational activities allowed on the trail are hiking during the summer and skiing and snowshoeing during the winter.
For more information:
NYS DEC REGION 7
Phone: (607) 753-3095