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Exploring Yellow Barn State Forest

Tuesday 04/23/2024 4:00 pm

Hike rating:

Distance – 5 miles; Terrain – Moderate; Pace – Moderate; Overall rating – Moderate

Event/Trailhead location:

This trailhead is at the dead end of Tehan Road in Freeville off Irish Settlement Road off Rt 13 (click for map). Be careful not to park in the snowplow turnaround area.

Hike Leader:
Neil Belcher


Hike leader contact information will be sent in the email acknowledging that you have registered for this hike. 

Hike Details:

Join Neil Belcher for today’s adventure in hiking, which brings us to Yellow Barn State Forest in Dryden, across the valley from Hammond Hill. We’ll meet at the Snowplow turn-around on Tehan Rd/Signal Tower Rd, Dryden. After a short hike south on a seasonal road we will venture west on to old logging roads that are partially overgrown. On this hike, we will be stepping over a number of downed trees and a few small creeks. We will make our way further south and eventually swing back north towards the trailhead. This is a lollipop shaped route of 5 miles. There are a few ups and downs but nothing dramatic.

The lands that comprise the Yellow Barn State Forest were once part of a rural farming community. In addition to the village of Dryden, a hamlet called California was settled at the intersection of Yellow Barn and Midline roads. Iva Cornelius Van Pelt (1904-2001) says it received its name “from a group of pioneers whose original goal had been that far-western state but who so liked the hollow that they decided to remain here instead” (Gutchess, n.d.).

The majority of the lands that cover Yellow Barn State Forest were once used for farming and pasture. However, the land could not support intensive agriculture. Farming came to an end during the Great Depression when many of Upstate New York’s hilltop farms became economically unproductive. The Yellow Barn State Forest lands were added to the State Forest System from 1956 to 2002. The most significant acquisition took place in January of 1956 when about 1,242 acres of federal lands were added to the State Forest. The New Deal, State Reforestation Law and Hewitt Amendment paved the way for the establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1933. CCC Camp S-125 planted between 400,000 and 600,000 Scotch pine, European larch, Norway spruce, red pine, white pine, jack pine, red oak and Austrian pine seedlings in Yellow Barn State Forest. The forest is sustainably managed for diverse wildlife habitat and for soil and water conservation. As a managed working forest, Yellow Barn produces forest products such as firewood, paper pulp and sawtimber, while storing large amounts of carbon. Today, strong towering pines, spruce and northern hardwoods cover the landscape.

Dress in layers for the weather, wear sturdy hiking boots, bring water and a snack or sandwich.

If you will have trouble navigating to the trailhead, email the hike leader at the email address above.

Check the website the day of the hike for any changes or a cancellation.

Event Report

A great outing. We had a total of 17 hikers including me. Went 5 miles in 2:45. The weather was in the 60’s and mostly sunny. Trail conditions were mostly dry with many downed trees to climb over. Lucy brought cookies to celebrate Tom’s birthday!

Neil Belcher

Registration is closed!