Backyard Hike: Carlton Hill State Forest

For just about any New Yorker from Binghamton and over, Western New York is a podunk little region of the state so worthless that it doesn’t even warrant being split off from “Upstate,” the name given to all parts of the state that aren’t Long Island or the confederated bits of New York City. Let’s get it out of the way: yes, Buffalo and Rochester pale in comparison to the vibrant, cosmopolitan epicenter that is the Big Apple, but what we lack in city culture we more than make up for in our plethora of beautifully varied state forests and parks. From Letchworth to Stony Brook, WNY has more than its fair share of the state’s natural wonders.

Carlton Hill State Forest, located in Wyoming, NY, is one such paradise. Strangely, despite living only 25 minutes from the forest, I hadn’t ever been there — not before today. Carlton Hill, part of a multi-use land project sponsored by the Department of Environmental Conservation, features some of the best hiking around. Varied landscapes, diverse flora and fauna, and challenging, winding trails make for an enjoyable day hike — so long as you pay attention.

What Can You Expect of the Trails?

Carlton Hill is located in one of the most remote areas of any state owned nature preserve I’ve yet visited. Driving to the crest of Bank Road in the center of Wyoming, you’re treated to views of farmland and woods of birch, evergreen, and maple to the horizon and beyond. Somewhere in between, there are farmhouses and homes, but this is a part of Genesee county that is very much ruled by the verdant.

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