Split Rock Wild Forest Trails

The largest undeveloped tract of land on the Lake Champlain shoreline, Split Rock Wild Forest covers 3,700 acres in the towns of Essex and Westport. The landscape is dominated by Split Rock Mountain; the “split rock” can be seen where the lake meets the land at Whallons Bay. The parcel is also home to the timber rattlesnake, a threatened species in New York.

Hiking

The Split Rock Wild Forest trails encompass 2- to 6-mile loops, ranging from easy to moderate difficulty. 

The trailhead on Lakeshore Road, 5.8 miles south of Essex and 4.7 miles north of Westport. Here you will find a series of trails through New York’s largest protected forest on Lake Champlain. Trails go up, over, and along this mountain, overlooking Lake Champlain with wetlands, little waterfalls, an old quarry, hidden bays, and views.

Hunting

Several access points are available. Hunters will often use the pheasant-stocking area near the corner of Clark Road and Lake Short Road. A trailhead just to the south on Lake Shore Road access a trail system that traverses the entire forest, including the back side of Webb Royce Swamp, which is also popular for waterfowling.

Map below points to Clark Road and Lake Shore Road.

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

A series of trails through New York’s largest protected forest on Lake Champlain, Split Rock Wild Forest. Trails go up, over, and along this mountain overlooking Lake Champlain with wetlands, little waterfalls, an old quarry, hidden bays, and stunning views.

Distance: 2-6 mile loops, ranging from easy to moderate in difficulty, are possible here.

Trailhead: On Lakeshore Road, 5.8 miles south of Essex and 4.7 miles north of Westport.

Find out more

Our blogger takes a winter adventure in Uphill Adventure on Cross Country Skis AND Snowshoes.

On The Map