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Hiking in Cayuga County
New York State Lands
Bear Swamp State Forest is located in Cayuga County at the southwestern end of Skaneateles Lake. The state forest has 3280 acres for you to explore in. There are over 13 miles of multi-use trails located in Bear Swamp State Forest, making it a very popular location for hikers, bikers, x-c skiers and others. The state forest is the location of the highest point within Cayuga County at 1860 feet, which is located just off Yellow Trail 9 (no marking or fanfare for the highpoint).
We have included a loop hike of 4 miles that we have done and enjoyed in this state forest. We have called this loop hike, the Bear Swamp Yellow Loop. Below are a few pictures and a couple of DEC maps of this state forest. We have more pictures and even a video on the Bear Swamp Yellow Loop webpage. Below is also a listing of all the trails in the state forest from a DEC brochure (we found available at the trailhead).
Directions: This state forest is located off NY 41A near Sempronius, NY. See the trail guide below for locations of parking areas.
Bear Swamp State Forest Trail Info
The Red Trails are shown on the map below as R1-R6. The trail starts on the flat land off NY 41A, loops down hill to Bear Swamp Creek and then climbs up hill back to the trail register on Hartnet Road. The long loop of trails R1, R2, R4, and R5 is 3.2 miles in length, while a shorter loop of R1 and R6 is only 2.1 miles long.
Red Trail lengths are as follows: R1 (1.6 miles), R2 (0.8 miles), R3 (0.2 miles), R4 (0.3 miles), R5 (0.5 miles), R6 (0.5 miles). R3 connects the red trails with the blue trails. Snowmobiling is allowed on a section of R1 and R6.
The Blue Trails are shown on the map below as B1-B7. The trails offer a contrast between easy and tough up hill climbs. Entrance to these trails can be found from the Curtis Road parking lot & trailhead. The entire blue trail system is 3.6 miles long. Trail B5 is a 0.2 mile dead end trail that leads to a spectacular view of Bear Swamp.
Blue Trail lengths are as follows: B1 (0.7 miles), B2 (0.8 miles), B3 (0.5 miles), B4 (0.2 miles), B5 (0.2 miles), B6 (0.4 miles) and B7 (0.6 miles). Y4 connects B2 & B3 and is 0.2 miles long.
The Yellow Trails are shown on the map below as Y1-Y9. The brochure states there is a view of Skaneateles Lake from trail Y6 (not true as we did not see a view, however maybe with leaves off the trees). Also I read in a guide book that Y6 is not maintained. This is also untrue as we had no problems hiking Y6. The highest point in Cayuga County is located along side trail Y9.
The main parking area for the Yellow Trails is located just off seasonal dirt Bear Swamp Rd (just off Iowa Road). This is a large parking area.
Check out our Bear Swamp Yellow Loop that have done and recommend to anyone visiting this state forest looking for a loop hike to do. This loop is 4 miles with an elevation change of 370 feet.
The Yellow Trail lengths are as follows: Y1 (1.1 miles), Y2 (0.8 miles), Y3 (0.6 miles), Y4 (0.2 miles), Y5 (0.3 miles), Y6 (1.7 miles), Y7 (0.2 miles), Y8 (0.2 Miles) and Y9 (0.9 miles).
Pictures from Bear Swamp State Forest
Many of the trails are old woods roads
Bridge along Yellow Trail #6
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