Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest

View from Split Rock Mountain

The largest undeveloped portion of Lake Champlain shoreline on the New York side is the Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest in Essex and Westport, NY.  Boasting great views of the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain, it also offers over 11 miles of hiking trails.  The 3,700-acre shoreline preserve harbors natural features of statewide significance including a population of the rare Timber Rattlesnake.

Split Rock Mountain Photo Galleries

Scenes from Split Rock Mountain – August 30, 2016


From Vermont: Take the Charlotte/Essex Ferry, turn left (south) off the ferry onto NY-22 (Lakeshore Road). Continue to follow Lakeshore Road for approximately 6 miles until you see the trailhead sign and parking lot on your left.

From points North in New York: Take I-87 to Exit 33.  From the exit, take NY-22 south through Willsboro to Essex, NY. In Essex, continue straight onto Lakeshore Road and drive south for approximately 6 miles. Look for the trailhead sign and parking lot on your left.

From points South in New York: Take I-87 to Exit 31 and take NY-9 N south to Westport, NY. Drive north for approximate 6.5 miles and look for the parking lot on the right.

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Click here for a printable guide to Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest, including driving directions.

Click here for a family-friendly hiking guide.


Nature Snapshots

Click here to see a series of Nature Snapshots for the Split Rock Mountain landscape.



Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest covers 3,700 acres of Lake Champlain shoreline in both Essex, NY and Westport, NY.  The State of NY acquired the first 200-acre section in 1898. The Lake Champlain Land Trust was part of a coalition of groups, led by the Open Space Institute, that purchased the land on the very day it was to be auctioned off in 1993.  The bulk of Split Rock Mountain was purchased from the coalition as the first expenditure of an environmental bond in 1994.  The bulk of the property is now owned and managed by the NY Department of Environmental Conservation (NY DEC) but several pieces of the larger project are protected through conservation easements.



The Open Space Institute worked with the Lake Champlain Land Trust, the Adirondack Nature Conservancy, and the NY DEC to save this community treasure.