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Potato Hill State Forest


Potato Hill State Forest is located entirely in the Town of Caroline in the eastern part of Tompkins County. Topographical map. (Note: The topo map appears to show a pond in the forest. This a actually a shrubby, wet area with no usable water.)


Potato Hill State Forest is only 890 acres, but don't let its small size put you off. This is a beautiful moist forest with a wide variety of deciduous trees, The Finger Lakes Trail through a fern glade in Potato Hill State Forest, Town of Caroline, Tompkins County, New York, USA.some quite large. You will find ash, oak, black cherry, birches, American beech, maples, ironwood (hophornbeam), and American hornbeam among others. European larch, whose needles turn a beautiful golden color in the fall, and spruce were planted decades ago to regenerate the forest. The understory is a vaste array of wildflowers--both native and non-native--and a large selection of native ferns with some multiflora rose and raspberry in sunnier spots.


On days when the weather is hot elsewhere, Potato Hill can be refreshingly cool. Consequently, the forest is an excellent place Pileated woodpecker feeding hole in Potato Hill State Forest, Town of Caroline, New York, USA.for hiking, birding, and nature photography. There are many downed trees that can provide a spot to sit and have a picnic lunch. You'll find that, if you sit quietly in the forest, you'll see and hear many animals that wouldn't normally show themselves. Camping can be rather iffy as the ground is often moist, however, there is a spruce plantation just off the Finger Lakes Trail where the ground tends to be dry and free of vegetation, but it isn't level.


The wildlife in the forest is typical of the region, however, because the forest is moist, you should be able to find a wide variety of birds, including woodpeckers, warblers, turkeys, grouse, vireos, thrushes, pewees and other flycatchers, and broad-winged and other hawks. You should also be able to find a variety of amphibians and a turtle or two.

Popular Parking Places

One of the easiest ways to access Potato Hill State Forest is by taking State Route 79 (Slaterville Road) to Level Green Road. As soon as you turn on Level Green, you will pass a lovely church that is now a residence. Continue on Level Green. It will become a dirt, rather than paved, road. When you see the state forest signs, look for the spot where the Finger Lakes Trail cross the road. There is a parking space just south of that point.


Another place to park is near the intersection of Tower and Blackman Hill roads. You can access the forest via the Finger lakes Trail at this point.

Words to the Wise

1. The Scots may have midges, but we have six species of black fly and two types of deer fly, all of which bite. They especially like the face and arms, so take whatever precautions you feel necessary.


2. In the beginning of July the temperature can be 70°F/21°C with 70% humidity. The humidity can be opprThe Finger Lakes Trail can be rather wet in certain spots in Potato Hill State Forest, Town of Caroline, Tompkins County, New York, USA.essive. Make sure you bring plenty of water.


3. Because of the hills, cell/mobile phones generally don't work in the forest.


4. Although fleas and ticks are few and far between, if you wear shorts, tall socks would be a good thing to wear.


5. A hat would also be nice.


6. So would a compass or GPS.


7. Please don't allow your dog to roam or chase wildlife.


8. Most baby animals that seem to be abandoned are not. Leave them where they are.


9. You are allowed to camp in state forests, but if you plan to stay longer than three nights or are a group, you must have a permit from the regional office of the Department of Environmental Conservation.








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