“A nice tour of Hammond Hill State Forest, hitting most of the marked trail system.
— Cycle - CNY
Hammond Hill State Forest is a nearly 4000 acre area popular for outdoor recreation. The trail networks is designed for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and cross-county skiing.
The 16-mile trail system was machine built in the late '90s. The trails are not technically challenging, but contain some big climbs and descents. This featured ride shows off much of what Hammond Hill has to offer for mountain biking.
This is a shared use trail system. These trails see occasional horse use, so ride accordingly.
Need to Know
This forest is very popular for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and cross-county skiing. As such, be aware and respectful of other trail users and yield the trail when appropriate. During snow-covered conditions, fat bikes are discouraged, as this is a very popular location for skiing. Hammond Hill is one of the highest points in Tompkins County (~2000').
More information can be found on the Cycle-CNY website
or on the NYS DEC website
Hammond Hill State Forest can be accessed from Irish Settlement Road on the west side of the forest. Turn onto Hammond Hill Rd, stay right at the V, and free parking is available in a large lot near the beginning of Yellow 1 (Y1)
The recreational trails at Hammond Hill were machine built in the 90's by the DEC land managers, and are maintained by volunteers. Though they are generally doubletrack and don't provide a technical challenge, there is significant elevation changes and many miles of trail to explore. This trail system is ideal for beginner or intermediate level riders, provided they have the fitness and stamina needed for the repeated hill climbs.
This featured ride of Hammond Hill covers nearly 13 miles and 1500' of climbing. Numerous intersections and other trails allow for extending or shortening this ride as desired. The trails are marked with the typical DEC trail markers - by color and number.
The initial trail, Yellow 1 (Y1)
, from the parking lot will introduce you to the hill climbs found here, and eventually brings you to a great view near the northern end of Yellow 1 (Y1)
. You'll find some fun flow and downhill on Yellow 3, 8 and 7.
Yellow 7 (Y7)
exits onto a forest access road (Canaan Rd), where you'll turn left and climb up Red Man Run Road (Forest Access Road)
, another forest access road. At the top of Red Man Run, turn right onto the Red 1 (R1)
and Red 2 (R2)
for the horseshoe loop.
After the Red Trail loop, head northwest onto Yellow 4 (Y4)
and enjoy the flow. After a short repeat on Yellow 8 (Y8)
, turn right (west) onto a fast downhill of Yellow 5 (Y5)
, and add in the Blue 1 (B1)
loop towards the end of your ride. Circle back around and follow Yellow 6 (Y6)
and Yellow 1 (Y1)
back to the parking lot.
History & Background
Hammond Hill Forest was established between 1935-1950 to help prevent issues surrounding soil erosion, produce forest products, and create recreational opportunities. The majority of the property was previously pasture or tilled acreage that was in bad shape due to neglect.
The DEC planted around 708,000 pine, spruce, larch, maple, cherry, ash and oak seedlings. Today, nearly all of the area is forested, the soil has been improved, and the harvesting of forest products supports all management activities, including recreation.