Recreating Responsibly during COVID-19

During this time of uncertainty related to the spread of COVID-19, we have an increasing responsibility to take care of ourselves and to take care of others. Outdoor recreation, when engaged in responsibly, can be an excellent way to do both. Physical activity is important for physical and mental health and outdoor environments have been proven to reduce stress. They also provide areas where individuals can recreate and exercise while still maintaining appropriate social distance.

Below is a short, non-comprehensive list of outdoor places to recreate local to Hamilton, NY. “Local” is a dynamic term whose definition may be adapted with changes in the national situation, and each person should give serious thought to the range of places they would consider “local.” Colgate Outdoor Education encourages people to choose recreation locations which will not require them to make stops at gas stations or other businesses outside of the Hamilton area, or their own immediate community of businesses. The list below includes locations that are likely to meet that criteria, but we hope you’ll make the right decision based on your own circumstance.

Please remember to:

  • Stay home if you are sick - no matter what!
  • Avoid any activity or location which will put you within 6 feet of another person (unless you live with that person).
  • Refrain from recreating in groups of 10 or more.
  • If the parking area at the place you are trying to recreate is full, choose another location. Come back another time!
  • Refrain from engaging in any activity that will put you at a higher risk for injury or being in need of emergency medical care.
  • Consider bringing a mask or some sort of face shield to wear in the unforeseen emergency or event where you are closer to other individuals than intended.
  • Only visit businesses, convenient stores, and gas stations within your immediate sphere of regular activity.
  • Always bring water, food, map, and attire proper to your particular activity.
  • Follow rules and regulations regarding recreation and COVID-19 implemented by each facility or land management area.
  • Keep yourself up to speed with and follow the changes in state and federal regulations regarding COVID-19 protection measures.
  • As always, have fun!
  • And if you find yourself enjoying some healthy time outdoors at one of these locations, feel free to let us know you’ve done so by tagging us on Instagram @colgate_outdoor_education or on Facebook @colgateoutdoored


See also:  New York Department of Environmental Conservation updates and best practice and CDC Guidelines for best practices. during COVID-19.

Alfred J. Woodford Memorial Forest


(Photo from CNY Hiking)

Beaver Creek State Forest

  • Hiking and Boating
  • To access the forest from State Route 20, take State Highway 8 south from Bridgewater approximately 3.5 miles to Skaneateles Turnpike (County Route 80) and turn right. Proceed 4 miles west to the village of Brookfield. Turn right onto Fairgrounds Road and look for State land on both sides of the road approximately a 1/4 mile past the Madison County fairgrounds. (per DEC instructions)
  • DEC Website


(Beaver Creek State Forest)

Brookfield Trails at Charles E. Baker State Forest

  • Open for hiking year around. Park at Moscow Hill Assembly Area.
  • To access the forest, take State Highway 12 to Madison County Route 74 (Larkin Road) heading East. This will bring you to Moscow Road. Turn right and proceed south approximately 1/4 mile. The camping and assembly areas will be on your left.
  • 1700 Moscow Rd. Hubbardsville, NY 13355
  • DEC Website


(Brookfield Trails at Charles E. Baker State Forests)

Cazenovia Preservation Foundation

  • Over 13 miles of trails that connect many Cazenovia area natural attractions, including Chittenango Creek, Fairchild Hill, and Carpenter’s Pond.
  • Wide path makes proper social distancing while hiking with friends easy.
  • See the CPF website for interactive trail maps.


(Cazenovia Preservation Foundation)

Gateway Reserve

  • 1 mile loop through 4.5 acres managed by the Southern Madison Heritage Trust.
  • Parking lot on Johnny Cake Hill Rd (¾ north of Hamilton, driving north on Madison St).
  • Area Google map can be found here.


(Harvey L. Kliman, 2015)


Chenango Canal Towpath

  • Up to 8 miles of hiking, biking, and birdwatching along the historic canal between Madison and the Village of Hamilton.
  • Parking access in multiple locations in Hamilton, Bouckville, or Madison.
  • Wide path makes proper social distancing while hiking with friends easy.
  • Don’t miss Woodman Pond on the northwest side of the Hamilton Airport!
  • Parking and trail maps.


(By Stephen Sommerhalter - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,


Leland Reserve

  • 1 mile loop Managed by Southern Madison Heritage Trust.
  • Parking on right (South) side of Preston Hill Road driving southeast from Hamilton.
  •  Detailed map found here.


Leland Reserve


    Schapiro Reserve

    • 3/4 mile loop managed by Southern Madison Heritage Trust.
    • Parking on left (east) side of Randallsville Rd driving southwest from Hamilton on Lebanon St/Randallsville Rd.
    • Area and trail maps located here.

    Detailed information and history about the Gateway, Leland, and Shapiro Reserves in Hamilton can be found at the Southern Madison Heritage Trust website.

    Stone Quarry Hill Art Park

    • While SQHAP has closed its indoor facilities and public events, the trails remain open to individual use. The admission fee is waived, but donations are encouraged.
    • Four miles of trail exist in addition to the ¼ mile gravel trail through the art exhibits. See the map here.
    • Located at 3883 Stone Quarry Road, Cazenovia, NY


    Stone Quarry Hill Art Park