Boston Forest Update for Summer Hiking

Boston Forest Trails and Tracks Map

Boston Forest Trails and Tracks Map

 

Boston Forest County Park is an Erie County conservation area located in the Town of Boston, New York.

Boston Forest consists of 710 acres of mostly forest lands bordered on the north by Rice Road, the east by Zimmerman Road, the south by Belcher Road and the west by Feddick Road and South Feddick Road.

 

 

 

 

parking area

Driveway to parking area

There is a parking area and hiking trailhead just 1.2 miles west of the Rice Road exit off Route 219.   As you are driving west on Rice Road, after you cross Zimmerman Road but just before you reach Rockwood Road, you will see a yellow intersection sign (for Rockwood Road.)  The yellow intersection sign is on your right (the north side of Rice Road). The driveway into the large parking area for Boston Forest is directly across from that yellow intersection sign.  There are no signs that indicate that the parking area is for the Boston Forest but there is a “no dumping” sign in the driveway to the parking area.  I have confirmed with the town of Boston that the parking area is for people using the Boston Forest.

The Parking area is mostly covered in crushed stone and is generally dry.  However, it is not plowed in winter.  For information about using Boston Forest in winter read this guide: Boston County Forest offers hiking and xcountry skiing.

There is sufficient shoulder to park several cars along South Feddick Road near the gate for the forest service road.  But note that the forest service road is used by the County of Erie as a road kill dump. Road kill is dumped there and then covered with mulch.  In the high heat of summer there might be a half dozen or more uncovered rotting carcasses waiting to be covered.  The odor might cause nausea for some.

The map below shows trails, bushwhack tracks, and waypoints more fully described in the text that follows.  You can download a larger copy of the map here: Boston Forest Trail and Tracks Map.

Boston Forest Trails and Tracks Map

Boston Forest Trails and Tracks Map

 

The Access Trail (shown in blue) from the parking lot (waypoint “A- Parking”) to the junction with the main snowmobile trail (waypoint “B – JCT”) has some muddy sections, even in the middle of July 2012 after a rather sever 12-week drought.  So any amount of rain in the days before your hike is likely to increase the size of the mud holes (many of which seem to be caused by horses and illegal ATV use.)  Appropriate footwear and possibly even ankle gaiters might be advisable for particularly wet periods.  Some of the mud holes are simply too deep to safely walk across, necessitating the unfortunate widening of the trail.

The main snowmobile trail that runs from the northwest corner of the park (waypoint “J-Start of SM” to the eastern center of the park is a well maintained wide trail.  There are two small bridges over creek culverts on the main snowmobile trail.

The main snowmobile trail has an extension that runs from waypoint “C – SM Split” to waypoint “D- SM JCT”.  the extension intersects with a secondary snowmobile trail that runs from waypoint “D SM JCT” to waypoint “F Trails JCT.”

An easy bushwhack trail is shown in green on the map, proceeding east from waypoint “D SM JCT” through waypoint “E – CREEK CROSSING” and then west down the south side of the creek to waypoint “F TRAILS JCT.”  When you reach waypoint “E – CREEK CROSSING” you have to cross the creek which is relatively easy to do at that point.  Then head back west along the south bank of the creek, or in times of low water, you could even head down the creek bed to waypoint “F TRAILS JCT.”

At waypoint “F TRAILS JCT” you can either follow the main snowmobile trail south then east to the edge of the forest border, or follow the red blazed hiking trail west (along the south bank of the creek) to way point “G-Boot Hill” and on to waypoint “H – Trails JCT”.  The creek ravine is very deep and steep along portions of the red blazed trail, offering interesting views, especially in winter and spring when the hardwoods are leafless.

Boot Hill is an odd place where people have left boots on stakes driven into the ground.  There used to be a bench spanning two trees but it has fallen into disrepair as of late.  The Boot Hill sign is still intact.

 

 

hidden pond at low water

hidden pond at low water

 

At waypoint “H-TRAILS JCT” you can either head north back to the parking lot (taking a right at waypoint “I – TRAIL JCT” and a left at waypoint “B – JCT”), or head south along a snowmobile groomer trail toward the deer dump road.  At waypoint “K- TRAILS JCT” the groomer trail continues south toward the Feddick Road and also turns east toward the hidden pond.  You have to bushwhack less than 50 yards to get to the pond which can be done at waypoint “L – BUSHWHACK TO POND”.

The area around waypoint “K- TRAILS JCT” will have a foul stench from rotting deer carcasses if any have not yet been covered with mulch along the deer dump road (running from waypoint “Q – DEER DUMP ROAD GATE”  to waypoint “R – DEER DUMP ROAD END.”  (You can walk down the deer dump road if you have a peculiar interest in deer carcasses.)

 

 

The orange trail (designated “Old Road Bushwhack) depicts a track for a hike from the roadside parking near deer dump road on Feddick Road, southeast to a point where an old forest road (now heavily over grown) heads east to an old open field (waypoint “T – OLD OPEN FIELD”) that is also heavily overgrown, then to an eastern edge of the park, returning by going north to waypoint “N – END OF TRAIL”, then back west along the snowmobile groomer trail.

The old field used to be a popular place for flying model airplanes, but the road to it and the field are now so overgrown that it was not an enjoyable bushwhack.  Because of the thorn bushes, long sleeved and long pants protection is advisable.   Moreover, the entry point for the old road is not all that obvious and I found it only with the aid of an aerial map on my gps.