Tug Hill Region ( Tug Hill Plateau) NY

New York / Lewis / Turin

The Tug Hill Region (Also known as the Tug Hill Plateau)

Tug Hill is noted for heavy snowfalls, usually described as the heaviest east of the Rockies, and is famous for its excessive amount of yearly snowfall. Although it is located just to the west of the Blue Line, the Tug Hill Region is commonly referred to in the same sentence as the Adirondacks' Western Region. It is named this because the location is entirely on the Tug Hill Plateau, an area that is renowned for its harsh winters and heavy snowfalls. Located east of Lake Ontario, The Tug Hill region sees roughly 200 inches of snow, on average, each year. Lake effect storms are known to dump multiple feet in a single storm of the heavy snow cover that this area endures for nearly half of the year, it is no surprise that winter sports such as snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing dominate the local recreational scene. The area is highlighted by the well-known 13.2 miles of Barnes Corners Cross-country Ski Trail System. Fall and winter activities include white-tailed deer and snowshoe hare hunting, spring and summer activities include hiking, biking, and brook trout fishing. Access to the area is provided by more than 16 miles of graveled forest roads.

The nearby hamlet of Barnes Corners is a major hub for snowmobiling and brings numerous snow sleds thru these state forest trails.

  • Williams Road (C5A) - 2.9 miles of a main snowmobile trail leading east out of Barnes Corners
  • Mile Strip (C5) - 2.5 miles from Denning Road to Horace Forward
  • Horace Forward (S57) -3.3 miles from 7 by 9 Road to Fork Road
  • Denning Road (S56A) - 2.8 miles from 7 by 9 Road to Grunley Road
  • Lighthouse Hill Trail (C5A) - 1.2 miles from Route 177 to Grunley Road


The State Snowmobile Trail System includes over 8,000 miles of snowmobile corridor trails in New York stretching from one end of the State to the other, crossing both public and private land along the way. The trail system is administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) and is substantially maintained by snowmobile clubs and funded, in part, by a portion of snowmobile registration fees. Many of these clubs are members of the New York State Snowmobile Association.



Ski Trail Information

The following trails are located in the Tug Hill State Forest. Access to these cross-country ski trails is from the north side of N.Y.S. Route #177, about two miles west of Barnes Corners and 0.75 mile east of the intersection of N.Y.S. Route 177 and County Route 189.

Skiers should use caution when crossing roads used by automobiles. Also watch out for snowmobiles because some of the trails allow both uses. It should also be noted that Oak Rim Trail is for snowshoe use only.

Home Run Trail (Novice Skill, 1.0 mile)
This trail starts at the parking area in a stand of European larch and red pine. You pass Snowbird Loop on the left and, further on, Whiteway Trail to the right. Proceeding northerly, there is a slight uphill slope for 200 yards, followed by a half-mile run through a fine northern-hardwood forest. Snowbird Loop then intersects from the left. When you go downhill, after crossing a tributary of Fish Creek, you pass through a hemlock stand used by over wintering deer. The Home run Trail ends at Times Square, one mile from the access point.

Snowbird Loop (Intermediate Skill, 1.7 miles)
This loop runs westerly from the parking area and parallels Route 177 for .5 mile. You will pass through plantations of red pine, larch and white pine and then turn northerly, reaching a knoll of hardwood overlooking a bridge over Fish Creek. A short steep pitch to the bridge is followed by a long stretch of hardwoods, that includes black cherry, white ash and beech. You then climb a long grade, followed by a gentle downhill run, before intersecting the Home run Trail again. If you reverse your direction on this loop (not recommended for most skiers) you will have a challenging downhill run. Some maintenance to Snowbird and Linkup is done by the Black River Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club.

Electric Loop (Novice Skill, 2.2 miles)
This loop traverses plantations of red pine, white pine and white spruce. The westerly section parallels the Lighthouse Hill transmission line. Completed in 1925, this electric line carries 115,000 volts from Black River generating plants to Altmar, N.Y. No matter which direction you take on the Electric Loop, you will circle back to Times Square. The entrance to Explorer Trail is adjacent to the lean-to built in 1982 by Steve Wood of Boy Scout Troop 7, with help from the Black River chapter ADK.

Zigzag Trail (Novice Skill, 0.8 mile)
Does just that, it zigzags! The trail turns north off Snowbird Loop, bypasses some hills and joins Snowbird again, where a bridge crosses Fish Creek.

Whiteway Trail (Novice Skill, 2.0 miles)
The trail leaves Times Square in an easterly direction and passes through stands of white spruce, red pine and native hardwood. It also crosses two open wetlands. Williams Public Forest Access Road, a DEC maintained access road, lies just to the north. A short 10 percent slope, about .25 mile from the intersection with Home run Trail, gives an exciting downhill run to skiers going clockwise around the loop. Turn left here to return to the parking lot, 700 feet away.

Linkup Trail (Intermediate Skill, 1.6 miles)
Connecting to the County Trail system, this trail runs easterly from the parking area and soon turns south, crossing Route 177. Watch out for vehicles! You will ski through stands of Japanese larch, northern hardwoods, young white spruce and mixed conifers, up two steep hills, and across a bridge built by ADK over a tributary of Grunley Creek. Cross Denning Road, then ski through some scotch pine and across Grunley Creek. Proceeding through white spruce, hardwood, and red pine, you reach Loomis Road, where the county trail system starts. Before crossing the road, watch out for snowmobilers.

John Young Nature Trail (Intermediate Skill, 1.4 miles)
This trail winds along Inman Gulf. It was constructed by the Black River Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club in memory of a beloved member who spent many volunteer hours building and maintaining recreational trails. You will pass many interpretive nature signs and a picnic area with a swing and picnic table donated by relatives of John Young.

Inman Glide Trail (Intermediate Skill, No Beginners, 1.9 miles)
Cut by Forest Ranger Dave Larrabee, with help from Bill Blodgett, this trail runs along the edge of Inman Gulf and through some hilly sections. Scenic Rainbow Falls may be seen on the north side of the rim and gulf. The stream courses along the bottom of Inman Gulf. Be cautious when crossing Williams Public Forest Access Road because it is a main snowmobile route. In summer, five parking areas along Williams Public Forest Access Road allow people to choose loops of different length.

Explorer Trail (Intermediate Skill, 1.7 miles)
This trail was constructed in 1990 by the Explorer Scout Troop of Sackets Harbor. The trail allows skiers on the Electric Loop to increase the trail by .9 mile and experience different scenery. Located in the northwestern section of the ski complex, this trail runs through numerous stands of white spruce.