Top Free Dispersed Camping in New York

Explore the best dispersed campsites in New York! See real photos & honest reviews to plan your perfect getaway.

Looking for the best New York dispersed camping? The Dyrt showcases a diverse selection of places to camp, including remote dispersed camping to boondocking and everything in between. Search nearby dispersed sites or find top-rated spots from other campers.

Best Dispersed Sites in New York (64)

    Camper-submitted photo from Stillwater Reservoir
    Camper-submitted photo from Stillwater Reservoir
    Camper-submitted photo from Stillwater Reservoir
    Camper-submitted photo from Stillwater Reservoir
    Camper-submitted photo from Stillwater Reservoir
    Camper-submitted photo from Stillwater Reservoir

    1.

    Stillwater Reservoir

    9 Reviews
    75 Photos
    245 Saves
    Old Forge, New York

    The 6,700-acre Stillwater Reservoir is located in the western Adirondacks, and provides undeveloped, remote camping on both islands and along the shoreline. The Reservoir offers a multitude of recreational possibilities including remote wilderness camping, canoeing, boating, fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing. The area receives considerable use during each of the four seasons.

    During recent years, popularity of the Stillwater Reservoir has greatly increased. In an effort to alleviate some of the problems and preserve remote camping opportunities, campers are now required to use only designated sites, along the shoreline or to camp at least 150 feet inland from high-water mark. The high-water mark is generally that point where the sand beaches end and the forested or vegetative area begins.

    Camping on sand beaches is no longer permitted. Camping within 150 feet of the high-water mark is limited to 46 sites designated and marked by the department. Camping beyond the 150 feet limit, as in past years, is relatively unrestricted. The intention here is to move camper use back from the water's edge to less fragile sites. The only exception is to the north of the Reservoir, which is in the Five Ponds Wilderness, where group sizes are limited to nine people or less.

    Camping beyond the 150-foot perimeter remains relatively unrestricted, except for five Ponds Wilderness. That is, persons may use any site or open area for camping, provided it is more than 150 feet from the high-water mark, roads, trails or any other body of water. Furthermore, campers must comply with department regulations governing the use of state lands. These regulations will be posted at the registration booth at the Forest Ranger Headquarters and may also be found on the reverse side of the Interior Use Camping Permit. As the designated sites become filled, users are urged to camp within the Independence River Wild Forest Area on the south.

    Campfires are allowed, but only dead and downed fuel may be used. The use of trail stoves is encouraged because of limited supplies of wood.

    • Fires
    • RVs
    • Tents
    • Group
    • Cabins
    • Standard (Tent/RV)
    Camper-submitted photo from Palmers Pond State Forest
    Camper-submitted photo from Palmers Pond State Forest
    Camper-submitted photo from Palmers Pond State Forest
    Camper-submitted photo from Palmers Pond State Forest
    Camper-submitted photo from Palmers Pond State Forest
    Camper-submitted photo from Palmers Pond State Forest

    2.

    Palmers Pond State Forest

    7 Reviews
    10 Photos
    170 Saves
    Alfred, New York

    Palmer's Pond State Forest totals 3,645 acres. This area provides opportunities for outdoor recreational activities like snowshoeing, hiking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, camping, hunting, fishing, bird watching, and nature photography.

    The state forest is also a source of raw material for New York's forest products industry which provides employment and income for many New Yorkers and provides various habitats for many wildlife species such as deer, rabbit, grouse, and turkey.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • ADA Access
    • Dispersed
    • Picnic Table
    • Alcohol
    Camper-submitted photo from Sugar Hill Fire Tower Campsite
    Camper-submitted photo from Sugar Hill Fire Tower Campsite
    Camper-submitted photo from Sugar Hill Fire Tower Campsite
    Camper-submitted photo from Sugar Hill Fire Tower Campsite
    Camper-submitted photo from Sugar Hill Fire Tower Campsite
    Camper-submitted photo from Sugar Hill Fire Tower Campsite

    3.

    Sugar Hill Fire Tower Campsite

    6 Reviews
    9 Photos
    87 Saves
    Tyrone, New York

    Starting May 17, 2021 the Sugar Hill Fire Tower Recreation Area has been re-opened for camping and day use. In an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 camping is limited to 26 designated sites. A self-issued permit must be filled out when you arrive. There is no reservation system, if you arrive and all campsites are full you will have to find another location to camp.

    The Sugar Hill Recreation Area, located off of Tower Hill Rd, is the largest designated camping area on Sugar Hill State Forest. Available on a first-come first-serve basis, the area is a nine-acre open field for camping, with a limited number of fire rings and picnic tables. New for 2021 (in order to limit the spread of COVID-19) 26 campsites have been designated in the open field area. Upon arrival, campers must fill out a self-issued camping permit. There is no reservation system, if you arrive and it is full you will have to find another location to camp.

    Other facilities in the Rec Area include; a picnic area with picnic tables and pavilion, an accessible horse-mounting platform, open horse stalls, during summer months a restroom with potable water are available, and access to the Six Nations Trail System, as well as the Sugar Hill Fire Tower. The gate is opened to vehicle traffic, and the water turned on, from the 3rd Monday in May through the 3rd Monday in October of each year.

    Individual campsites are located throughout the State Forest. These 19 additional primitive designated camping 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.

    Primitive camping is allowed. Campsites must be at least 150 feet away from the nearest road, trail, or body of water.

    Camping for more than three nights or in groups of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger. No trash pickup is provided. These are carry-in, carry-out facilities.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Phone Service
    • ADA Access
    • Dispersed
    • Trash
    Camper-submitted photo from Forked Lake Adirondack Preserve
    Camper-submitted photo from Forked Lake Adirondack Preserve
    Camper-submitted photo from Forked Lake Adirondack Preserve
    Camper-submitted photo from Forked Lake Adirondack Preserve
    Camper-submitted photo from Forked Lake Adirondack Preserve
    Camper-submitted photo from Forked Lake Adirondack Preserve

    4.

    Forked Lake Adirondack Preserve

    4 Reviews
    10 Photos
    66 Saves
    Long Lake, New York
    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    • Dispersed
    • Firewood Available

    $18 - $23 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Sugar Hill Recreation Area Camping
    Camper-submitted photo from Sugar Hill Recreation Area Camping
    Camper-submitted photo from Sugar Hill Recreation Area Camping
    Camper-submitted photo from Sugar Hill Recreation Area Camping
    Camper-submitted photo from Sugar Hill Recreation Area Camping
    Camper-submitted photo from Sugar Hill Recreation Area Camping

    5.

    Sugar Hill Recreation Area Camping

    3 Reviews
    11 Photos
    101 Saves
    Tyrone, New York

    The Sugar Hill Recreation Area, located at 3360 Tower Hill Rd, Watkins Glen, NY, is the largest designated camping area on Sugar Hill State Forest. Available on a first-come first-serve basis, the area is a nine-acre open field for camping, with a limited number of fire rings and picnic tables. New for 2021 (in order to limit the spread of COVID-19) 26 campsites have been designated in the open field area. Upon arrival, campers must fill out a self-issued camping permit. There is no reservation system, if you arrive and it is full you will have to find another location to camp.

    Other facilities in the Rec Area include; a picnic area with picnic tables and pavilion, an accessible horse-mounting platform, open horse stalls, during summer months a restroom with potable water are available, and access to the Six Nations Trail System, as well as the Sugar Hill Fire Tower. The gate is opened to vehicle traffic, and the water turned on, from the 3rd Monday in May through the 3rd Monday in October of each year.

    The Lower Evergreen Parking Lot, located off of Evergreen Hill Rd, is smaller and has picnic tables, fire rings, open horse stalls and a pit privy. New for 2021, three campsites have been designated. No trash pickup is provided. This is a carry in-carry out facility.

    Individual campsites are located throughout the State Forest. These 19 additional primitive designated camping 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.

    Primitive camping is allowed. Campsites must be at least 150 feet away from the nearest road, trail, or body of water.

    Camping for more than three nights or in groups of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger. No trash pickup is provided. These are carry-in, carry-out facilities.

    Lean To: Lean-to in the trees, benches and fire ring in front. Buck Settlement Lean-to

    Lean-to Camping :There are five Adirondack-style lean-tos at four different locations. Lean-tos must be shared to their capacity on a first-come, first-use basis, with no exclusive reservation allowed.

    Buck Settlement Lean-to on the Finger Lakes Trail north of Templar Road and near Glen Creek;
    Parks Hollow Lean-to on Mohawk Trail, north of Sugar Hill Road;
    the Twin Lean-to's (Sugar Hill Lean-to #1 and #2) - on Seneca Trail, south of the Sugar Hill Rec Area;
    and VanZandt Lean-to - on Seneca Trail, east of Tower Hill Road.
    September 14, 2021 to September 23, 2021 the VanZandt Lean-to will be undergoing maintenance, please plan accordingly.

    No trash pickup is provided. These are a carry in-carry out facilities.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Phone Service
    • ADA Access
    • RVs
    • Tents
    Camper-submitted photo from Cranberry Lake Backcountry Sites
    Camper-submitted photo from Cranberry Lake Backcountry Sites
    Camper-submitted photo from Cranberry Lake Backcountry Sites
    Camper-submitted photo from Cranberry Lake Backcountry Sites
    Camper-submitted photo from Cranberry Lake Backcountry Sites
    Camper-submitted photo from Cranberry Lake Backcountry Sites

    6.

    Cranberry Lake Backcountry Sites

    2 Reviews
    15 Photos
    98 Saves
    Cranberry Lake, New York
    • Primitive tent sites and lean-tos are available on a first-come, first-served basis and cannot be reserved. If you find a tent site or lean-to with no people or gear, then you can camp there.
    • If not using a designated primitive tent site, your tent must be at least 150 feet from a water body, road, or trail. Do not camp in areas posted with "Camping Prohibited."
    • Camping for more than three nights or with 10 or more people requires a permit from a Forest Ranger. Call 518-897-1300 to get the name and contact information for the local ranger. Please observe all State Land Camping and Hiking Rules.
    • Black bears are present throughout the Adirondacks and Catskills. Campers should store all food, garbage and toiletries in a bear-resistant canister or food hang. Bear-resistant canisters are required in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness.
    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Reservable
    • Dispersed
    • Picnic Table
    • Toilets
    • No image available
      • No image available
        Camper-submitted photo from Burnt Rossman State Forest - Westkill Camp
        Camper-submitted photo from Burnt Rossman State Forest - Westkill Camp
        Camper-submitted photo from Burnt Rossman State Forest - Westkill Camp
        Camper-submitted photo from Burnt Rossman State Forest - Westkill Camp
        Camper-submitted photo from Burnt Rossman State Forest - Westkill Camp
        • No image available

          10.

          Taconic Hereford Multiple Use Park

          1 Review
          63 Saves
          Verbank, New York

          The 917-acre Taconic Hereford Multiple Use Area is one of the largest state forests in Dutchess County. Most trails on this property allow multiple uses. It is very popular with mountain bikers, horseback riders, and dog walkers. Please be respectful of all users.

          Primitive Camping

          Camping at two designated sites is permitted on a first-come-first-serve basis. They're located on the west side of Brockway Road, south of Tyrrel Road.

          At-large primitive camping is also allowed. At-large campsites must be at least 150 feet away from the nearest road, trail, or body of water. Camping for more than three nights or in groups of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.

          • Pets
          • Fires
          • Phone Service
          • Dispersed
          • Alcohol
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