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Sanford Lake

Coordinates: 42.33091°N 77.17747°W

Elevation: 1063 feet/324 meters


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Sanford Lake in Steuben County, New York, USA.



Sanford Lake is physically located in Birdseye Hollow State Forest (3,446 acres) in the Town of Bath in Steuben County. The lake abuts Kettle Road in the hamlet of Sonora. Just west of this point is a parking area and a trail to the water's edge. However, best access can be had on the west side of Round Lake Road (south of the Hamlet of Sonora and north of the Village of Savona) where there is a gravel road into the forest with a sign. (See photo below.) Follow the gravel road. It divides into a Y shape. Both directions lead to the lake--the left to a gravel boat launch area, the right to the campgrounds and toilets.


The easiest access the Sanford Lake in Steuben County, New York is by way of the gravel road off Round Lake Road next to this sign. Sgn says: Sanford Lake Day Use Area

Physical Features

Like many of the minor lakes in the Finger Lakes region, Sanford Lake is a glacial lake. It is 18 acres in size and surrounded by state land, most of which is forested. The lake is shallow with a silty bottom.


Wilderness camping is permitted at seven designated sites in the Sanford Lake Day Use Area by permit only. Portable toilets are provided, but there is no running water or other amenities.


One of six campsites at the southwestern end of Sanford Lake.


Boats, except those powered by gasoline motors, are permitted on the lake. The best launch site is the one described above in the forest.


Swimming is permitted at the swimmer's risk and there is a spot near the shore in the campgrounds where some people sunbathe.


This is the only site on the north side of Sanford Lake and the only site on the lake shore.


The roads in and around the forest are mostly gravel. They are appropriate for mountain bikes and some hybrid bikes, however, in dry weather, road dust may be a problem. State Route 226, off of which Round Lake Road (paved) runs, is good for touring and has paved shoulders. Touring bikes coming from the direction of Savona to the Sanford Lake campground should have no trouble with roads.


Mountain biking is also permitted on the multiple use trail through the forest. Trail map (pdf)


Steuben County has the highest hilltop in the region and provides an ideal spot for a quiet vacation.


The Finger Lakes Trail runs through Birdseye Hollow State Forest. It doesn't run next to the lake or campground but is within hiking distance of the lake. Trail map (pdf) See also map

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is permitted on the multiple use trail in the forest. Trail map (pdf)

Winter ActivitiesThe bullhead-lily (Nuphar variegatum)

There is a specific snowmobile trail in the forest and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on the multiple-use trail in the forest.


Because Steuben is a large and relatively undeveloped county, it has abundant wildlife, including black bears. The forest is part of a self-guided, forest stewardship demonstration tour. The tour brochure discusses how the forest is being managed and what types of wildlife you can expect to encounter.


The lake is picturesque and there are plenty of native wildflowers to photograph. Photographing birds is a little difficult as the trees are rather tall and the understory is good.

Parks, Forests and Wildlife Management Areas

Birdseye Hollow State Forest is next to Moss Hill State Forest (1,815 acres). Sanford Lake is on the same road as Round and Van Keuren lakes, which are also open to the public.


Nearby, too, is Birdseye Hollow Park on Birdseye Hollow Road in the Town of Bradford (north of Sanford Lake). The day-use park has a 68.5-acre pond, a picnic area, a pavilion, and a playground. It is managed jointly by the state and the county. The Finger Lakes Trail runs through the park.

Nearby Places of Interest

Birdseye Hollow Park and Pond

Cohocton River

Corning Museum of Glass

Keuka Lake

Lamoka and Waneta lakes

Mossy Bank Park and Nature Center

Spencer Crest Nature Center


Campgrounds in Steuben County

Bed and breakfasts in Steuben County


Created 5 August 2010








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