Campers Crowding Popular Parks in 2021, Stay at 5 Free Spots in New York Instead
Camping has become more popular since the coronavirus pandemic hit and it looks like it's going to stay that way. A new KOA North American Camping report says families plan to camp more in 2021. Instead of trying to find room in crowded popular state parks, consider getting away from it all at these 5 places to camp for free in New York.
Stoney Pond State Forest - Madison County
There are nearly 1,500 acres to explore in the Stoney Pond State Forest in Madison County. Camping is allowed at 17 designated campsites. Two site are accessible only by foot and are for tent camping. Most sites are nestled among a white pine plantation at the south end of Stoney Pond. Each site contains a fire ring. A latrine services the camping area. There is no water well. Camping is free but a permit is require between May 1 and September 30. Camping reservations for Stoney Pond must be made online.
Morgan Hill State Forest in Onondaga County
Morgan Hill State Forest spans more than 5,000 acres. There's 13.1 miles of marked trails to enjoy
Camping is only permitted at one of the 12 designated sites. Two drive-up, accessible camping sites are available on a first come, first served basis. The sites are located in close proximity to the trail.
Primitive camping at Spruce Pond requires a permit from the Cortland Lands and Forests office. Call (607) 753-3095 ext. 217, Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM to obtain a permit.
Moose River Plains Complex in Adirondack Park
The nearly 80,000 acre Moose River Plains Complex is part of the Adirondack Forest and includes the 64,322-acre Moose River Plains Wild Forest, the 2,907-acre Moose River Plains Camping Corridor and the 12,258-acre Little Moose Wilderness.
There are more than 100 primitive roadside campsites, miles of marked trails and numerous lakes and ponds, making it the ideal destination for the outdoorsman or woman.
All designated campsites and lean-tos are available on a first come - first served basis and cannot be reserved. Tents or small campers can use the sites but there are no hook-ups for water or electricity.
Sugar Hill State Forest in Schuyler County
There are lots of trails to explore through the 9,085-acre Sugar Hill State Forest that also features the largest designated camping area. Sites are available on a first-come first-serve basis in the nine-acre open field. Campers must fill out a self-issued camping permit once they arrive.
A limited number of fire rings and picnic tables are available. A restroom with potable water is available during the summer as well as access to the Six Nations Trail System, and the Sugar Hill Fire Tower.
There are also individual campsites located throughout the State Forest. These 19 primitive sites are semi-flat spots, some are graveled parking areas, others are small openings set back in the woods on topsoil, most with no other facilities provided.
Camping for more than three nights or in groups of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.
Lake George Wild Forest in Adirondack Park
The nearly 73,000 acres Lake George Wild Forest is one of the most popular areas in the Adirondacks.
There are 63 designated primitive tent sites with 8 lean-tos. In the Hudson River Special Management Area, overnight camping is only allowed at 19 designated campsites at various locations in the area.
Explore miles of marked trails through the Adirondacks or enjoy a day on the water.