Morgan Hill State Forest and Labrador Hollow Unique Area are often referred to as one and the same, and to a certain extent, it is true. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) refers to the two as the Hill and Hollow unit. They are, for the most part, contiguous parcels. Though their boundary to the north actually diverges (divided by a parcel of private land), they are, in effect, still connected by the North Country Trail which bisects the property. Visitors commonly access Morgan Hill through trails that originate within the boundaries of Labrador Hollow.
The best trips to the area include both locations and combine the striking scenery from Labrador Hollow with the rugged wildness of Morgan Hill. However, Morgan Hill remains the destination of choice for more serious hikers, backpackers, and those who want an extra challenge.
Over eleven miles of trails weave through Morgan Hill State Forest’s more than five thousand acres. The rugged trails feature some higher levels of difficulty along lengthy rising and falling treks which experienced hikers will cherish. Since the trails to Tinker Falls and the Jones Hill hang glider launch at Labrador Hollow are the most popular and farthest many visitors travel, hikers that delve into Morgan Hill will be rewarded not only with a deep forest setting but solitude as well.
The trails at Morgan Hill weave through wooded gullies, cross seasonal streams, and pass through a mixture of deciduous and conifer forests. The trails extend well beyond the forest boundaries along the North Country Trail (NCT) — a 4,600-mile trail that traverses seven states and connects North Dakota to New York.
Camping is prohibited in Labrador Hollow but is easily accessible within Morgan Hill. In addition to backcountry camping, there is a lean-to as well as twelve roadside campsites near Spruce Pond; camping here is free but requires a permit. However, despite being in a well-patrolled, quiet state forest well-off the beaten path, the designated sites are rumored to be more loud and raucous than many campers prefer.
There are plans to expand the recreational opportunities in the forest to include 10 to 15 miles of singletrack mountain biking trails. Currently, cyclists are prohibited from using the Finger Lakes/North Country Trails, but the nearly twelve miles of publicly accessible forest roads are usable by cyclists. The extension of the network would bring to Syracuse and Cortland-area cyclists something akin to the Shindagin State Forest experience but a little closer to home.