Outdoor Recreation

So much to do… so little time! In Hancock NY, outdoor recreation is a four-season pursuit. While you’re here, enjoy your favorite outdoor sport… or try a new adventure!

 

If you’re a fishing enthusiast, Hancock offers a truly wild and authentic fly fishing experience for anglers. If you love to golf, we’ve got a beautiful and challenging course for you. For those who love being on the water, there are guided tours on the Delaware River, and numerous kayaking, canoeing, and boating opportunities on both the Upper Delaware River and the Cannonsville Reservoir.

 

Hancock also boasts acres and acres of prime hunting lands, as well as miles and miles of off-roading trails for motocross, dirtbike, and ATV riders. If you prefer horseback riding to motorized sports, we’ve got trails and stables nearby. And, if you’d rather trek the countryside on foot, you’ll find numerous hiking routes leading to stunning vistas and remote, wild destinations.

 

In the winter, visitors can enjoy cross-country and downhill skiing, or you might want to try some of the many snowmobile trails in the area. And all year round, you’ll find an abundance of eagle and wildlife viewing opportunities and plenty of scenic drives with views to take in from the comfort of your own car.

 

No matter your vehicle of choice — horseback, boat, skis, ATV, or on foot — all trails, paths, and roads lead to Hancock NY for outdoor recreation adventure!

Fishing

Previously “The best kept secret” among the angling community,  the area surrounding the confluence of the East and West Branch of the Upper Delaware River at Hancock is now emerging as the premier destination for those seeking a world-class fly fishing experience.

 

Here’s a Google map of boat launch and public fishing access points with accessible parking along the Main Stem, East Branch, and West Branch of the Upper Delaware River.

 

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) also provides access maps for the East Branch and West Branch of the Upper Delaware.

 

If you’re looking for a more immersive angling experience, our world-renowned local outfitters and guide services listed below can steer you in the right direction.

Outfitters & Guide Services

If you’re looking for a more immersive angling experience, our world-class local outfitters and guides can steer you in the right direction.

 

East Branch Outfitters
1471 Peas Eddy Road, Hancock NY | 267.221.4383 | Web

 

Border Water Outfitters
607.637.4296 | Web

 

Fifield Outfitters
1579 State Highway 30, East Branch NY | 607.363.2701 | Web

 

River of Life Outdoor Adventures
19 Latham Road, Deposit NY | 607.743.5696 | Web

 

Catskill Pheasantry
374 Neer Road, Long Eddy NY | 845.887.4487 | Web

 

Adrian LaSorte
607.427.7335 | Web

 

West Branch Angler
150 Faulkener Road, Hancock NY | 607.467.5533 | Web

Eagle & Wildlife Viewing

There are an estimated 200 eagles that call the Upper Delaware River home during the winter months. Depending on weather conditions, the eagles begin arriving in mid-December. By mid-March, many eagles begin the return flight to their breeding areas located to the north, though each year we find more and more eagles remaining year round, building their nests and raising their young in the Upper Delaware Region.

 

Eagle watching is abundant all along the Delaware River in Hancock. A dedicated eagle viewing platform with gazebo is located at the confluence of the East Branch of the Delaware and the Beaverkill River in East Branch, NY in the town of Hancock just off Exit 90 of Route 17/86. Head towards the river near the highway overpass and look for the parking area leading to the gazebo.

 

Another option for up-close-and-personal viewing is a guided river tour. Tours can be arranged through East Branch Outfitters or Fifield Outfitters.

 

And, of course, a simple country drive is always one of the best ways to chance upon an eagle in flight or at rest on a nearby treetop. Enjoy a drive along the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway (Route 97) which begins in Hancock and keep an eye out!

 

Please be respectful of nature and your safety. Do not feed or approach wild animals.

Golfing

The French Woods 18-hole Golf Course features 6,018 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72. The course rating is 70 and it has a slope rating of 113. Designed by R. Bass/C. Anderson/E. Skinner, the French Woods golf course opened in 1999 and is situated in the picturesque foothills of the Catskill Mountains in the Town of Hancock, NY.

 

Enjoy a drink and a casual meal at the clubhouse, which boasts 360-degree views of the surrounding valley. Then hit a few on the putting green just outside the door before taking to the fairway.

 

French Woods Golf Club
17440 Route 97, Hancock NY | 607.637.5253 | Facebook

Horseback Riding

The rolling hills, fields, and forests surrounding Hancock, NY provide prime scenic horseback riding opportunities for novices and experienced riders alike.

 

C&S Stables

2361 Hancock Highway, Equinunk PA | 570.224.4842 | Facebook
Note that Google Maps lists C&S Stables at 2309 Hancock Highway, but the riding facility is at 2361.

 

Bear Spring Mountain

512 East Trout Brook Road, Downsville NY | 607.865.6989 | Web

This is a BYOH (Bring Your Own Horse) facility!

Scenic Drives

Upper Delaware Scenic Byway

 

Hancock truly is “Where your adventure begins!” We are the Northern Gateway to the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway — New York State Route 97 — which traverses a scenic 70-mile stretch of the Delaware River from Hancock to Port Jervis, NY.

 

This scenic drive will take you past country eateries, art galleries, museums, theaters, antique shops, and general stores; all surrounded by undulating hills, long valley vistas, and rock cut landscapes.

 

For more information on The Byway, see the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway website.

 

Scenic Route 30

 

The Hancock portion of this much longer scenic route begins in the village of East Branch and meanders along the East Branch of the Delaware River. This charming valley captivates the imagination and dreams of past and future generations with its striking green hills and crystal waters passing through historic villages along the way.

 

FEELING ADVENTUROUS?

 

If you want an “off the beaten path” experience that will truly give you a flavor for the unique charm for which we’re famous… And if you want to experience the area like the locals know and love it… then here’s a special treat for those of you who have dug deep into our site to find this little treasure. This 20-mile excursion will take you along “The Big D” into Pennsylvania to the quaint little Village of Equinunk. Stop at the quirky little Equinunk General Store for a browse and a nosh, then head on back over the other side of the river to Lordville, with an eccentric style all its own (trust us… you just have to see it). While you’re there, if you’re feeling really spunky, take a short but strenuous climb up to Jensen’s Ledges at the end of Bouchoux Road (see description in the Hiking section of this page) to enjoy magnificent views of the Delaware River Valley. Wind your way back home to Hancock along Humphries Brook to Route 97, stopping at our favorite ice cream stand — The Cow Lick — after savoring the breathtaking scenery from the mountains to the valley below. And, just for you, Here’s the map! You’re welcome.

 

Regardless of what roads you choose to explore in the Hancock area, you will alway be rewarded with scenic views of the waterways, mountains, and rolling farm lands that define our geography. Spring, summer, winter, or fall, the rivers and roads in our area offer a truly bucolic rural experience, and the autumn foliage in our area rivals that of any in the northeast. We invite you to come and explore!

Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling is a popular sport in and around Hancock. There are lands and trails available for riders in our area, but you have to do some digging. Here are a few options to get you started:

 

The Delaware Valley Ridge Riders are the “folks in the know” about such things, so you’ll definitely want to get in touch with them. They ride and maintain the nearby Bear Spring and Campbell Mountain trails as well as many other trails in the Delaware Valley region.

 

Bear Spring Mountain

 

Maps and trail difficulty ratings are posted at the trailheads. However, the maps do not list trail distances, and signs indicating mileage are few and far between. You will encounter gradual hill climbs and some steep sections as you travel along the ridges of Bear Spring, and these trails give passage to Downsville, NY, where riders have access to gasoline, convenience stores, and dining.

 

D&D Snowdiggers

 

This is a small, local group out of Deposit, New York with some great, convenient trails surrounded by several thousand acres of state land.

Kayaking/Canoeing/Boating

Adventures on the Delaware River are not limited to just fishing! Take advantage of the proximity of the Delaware River and tour Hancock via kayak, canoe, boat or tube. If you’re looking for a more serene watercraft experience, just down the road a few miles is the picturesque Cannonsville Reservoir.

 

Here’s a Google map of public access points with accessible parking along the Main Stem, East Branch, and West Branch of the Upper Delaware River.

 

OARS of Hancock offers personalized kayak, canoe, and tube trips that provide everything you need for your river adventure, including rentals, shuttle service, and access to nonpublic river entry points.
951 Cadosia Road, Hancock NY | 607.237.3078 | Facebook

Off-Roading

Looking for something a little more challenging and heart-pounding here in Hancock? Off-roading is a thriving sport in these parts, with challenging terrain, unpredictable weather, and miles and miles of trails.

 

Bear Creek Sportsmen host several events throughout the year, with names like Kuggamugga Trail Ride, Bear Creek Blast, and the “Don’t Hide ’em Ride ’em” Vintage trail ride.

 

The Tar Hollow ATV Ride is a twice-yearly event for off-roading enthusiasts.

Guided River Tours

You don’t have to be a fishing aficionado to enjoy the lure of the river! Nature enthusiasts, photographers, birders (we see eagles every day!), and adventurers in general are welcome on our waters! We’ve got seasoned guides who have lived on these waters for decades ready to share their passion for their beloved “Big D” with you, your family, and friends. Spend a few hours… or spend the day on the river… you’ll never want to leave.

 

Tours can be arranged through East Branch Outfitters or Fifield Outfitters.

Hang Gliding

The eagle’s eye view of Hancock is arguably one of the most beautiful and dramatic in the region, and it’s a great place for hang gliders to fly! The site presents a technical challenge that requires solid foot launch and landing approach skills, and Hang IV rating is strongly recommended.

 

To access the site, you must be introduced by one of the local pilots. Please do not attempt to fly there without having someone experienced with the site with you.

 

For more details, see Hanggliding.org or contact the Southern Tier Skysurfers at 607.770.7060.

Skiing

The rolling hillsides surrounding Hancock provide premium terrain for cross-country skiing, and nearby Elk Mountain offers scenic and challenging downhill skiing.

 

French Woods
17440 Route 97, Hancock NY | 607.637.5253 | Facebook

 

In wintertime, French Woods property up Route 97 is a cross-country skier’s paradise! If you’re longing to get away for a while to a winter wonderland, this is the place! Rent a beautiful log cabin and ski to your heart’s content over the acres and acres of gently rolling hills with magnificent views of the mountains and valleys below!

 

Bear Spring Mountain
512 East Trout Brook Road, Downsville NY | 607.865.6989 | Web

 

Bear Spring Mountain is a terrific place for cross-country skiers with its extensive trail system and serene, scenic setting. The multi-use trails see visitors on foot, horseback, mountain bike, and snowmobiles as well, but you’re not likely to run into a lot of traffic during the winter months… unless you count the deer and other wildlife that share the forest with their human counterparts.

 

Elk Mountain

344 Elk Mountain Road, Union Dale PA | 570.679.4400 | Facebook

 

Just 20 miles down the road, Elk Mountain boasts 27 slopes and trails with great variety and the most challenging terrain in Pennsylvania.

Hunting/Shooting

White-tailed deer, black bear, turkey, and small game abound in the wild areas along the Delaware River Valley. New York State Forest Preserve lands are available for public access, and neighboring Pennsylvania state game lands are another option for public hunting.

 

In addition to state-run public lands, these facilities offer a variety of hunting and shooting opportunities:

 

East Branch Outfitters
1471 Peas Eddy Road, Hancock NY | 267.221.4383 | Web

 

Catskill Pheasantry
374 Neer Road, Long Eddy NY | 845.887.4487 | Web

 

Fifield Outfitters
1579 State Highway 30, East Branch NY | 607.363.2701 | Web

 

West Branch Angler
150 Faulkener Road, Hancock NY | 607.467.5533 | Web

 

All other land in the area is privately owned. Please be respectful of private property.

Hot Air Ballooning

Fly over beautiful landscapes and lakes where you can soak in the morning sunrise for the ultimate in exhilarating flight experiences. When you fly in a hot air balloon, every spot has a view!

 

BalloonPA

266 Shehawken Road, Preston Park PA | 570.253.1819 | Web

Hiking Around Hancock

The Ledges

The Ledges of Lordville

Bouchoux Brook Road, Lordville NY

 

Jensen’s Ledges, or “The Ledges,” as the locals call it, is a short but strenuous hike leading to amazing panoramic views of the Upper Delaware River Valley, along with a huge, carefully-constructed conical cairn and other stone “furniture” you can recline on as you rest from your trek and soak up the phenomenal scene.

 

Known officially as Bouchoux Trail, the out-and-back trip is only about two miles long, but it is VERY steep and VERY rocky. It follows the path of a former bluestone quarry, of which you’ll see evidence all along the way.

 

Read our feature article on The Ledges here.

Rock Rift Rail Trail & Fire Tower

The Rock Rift trails are some of the newest addition to the greater Finger Lakes Trail System. The rail trail, approximately 7.8 miles in length, is relatively flat and makes for a fairly leisurely trek through the woods. The fire tower trail is something different altogether. It is probably not advisable for novice hikers, and hiking poles are recommended. It should be noted that the fire tower itself is unrestored and currently closed to the public, although it is rumored there are plans to open it again eventually. The overall roundtrip to the tower is approximately 5-7 miles, depending on which trail entrance you choose. More information on the trail can be found here, there is an interesting brochure on the history of the area here, and a convenient map with detailed trail description here courtesy of the Catskill Mountain Club and Finger Lakes Trail Conference.

Cherry Ridge Wild Forest

Russell Brook Falls

Just beyond the Hancock Town line lies the Cherry Ridge Wild Forest, a veritable playground for hiking, snowmobiling, and camping enthusiasts. To reach the best trails (Mud Pond, Trout Pond, and Russell Brook Falls), head up Route 30 (Route 17/86 Exit 90 at East Branch) and turn right to go over the one-lane bridge into Corbett. Make a left off Corbett Road onto River Road and then a right onto Campbell Brook Road. Watch for state forest signs along the way.

 

To get to Russell Brook Falls, bear LEFT at the Y (Campbell Mountain Road) off Campbell Brook Road and follow to the T, making a left onto Morton Hill Road. The tricky part is to keep your eye out for a SEASONAL USE ONLY sign on the right-hand side. Turn down that road (use caution, it’s very rough in places) and watch for the parking area with the large map/kiosk. The falls are a short and pleasant walk across a picturesque bridge and over some rather wet terrain, so be sure to have on proper footwear.

Bear Spring Mountain

Bear Spring Mountain

512 East Trout Brook Road, Downsville NY | 607.865.6989 | Web

 

Bear Spring Mountain is a multi-use facility managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. It features miles of trails along two ridges that are used for hiking, hunting, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The facility also offers rowboat, canoe, kayak, and paddle boat rentals, fishing at their stocked brown trout pond, and a beach with swimming.

Partridge Island Walking Trail

Partridge Island Walking Trail in Winter

County Road 17, Hancock NY

 

For those looking for a more leisurely, accessible trek, the path along the Delaware River at Partridge Island is the perfect place to visit! This half-mile trail offers a fully handicapped-accessible, well groomed walk with views of the Delaware its entire length. Read more about the Partridge Island trail here. To get to the trailhead, take Fishs Eddy Exit 89 or Hancock/Cadosia Exit 87a off of Route 17/Interstate 86 and follow Old Route 17 along the river until you see the large green Partridge Island Walking Trail sign. It’s just past the Partridge Island Cemetery if you’re heading West.

Robert W. Nichol Nature Preserve

nature preserve

404 West Main Street, Hancock NY

 

The family-friendly trails of the Robert W. Nichol Nature Preserve in the Village of Hancock make for an easy, comfortable stroll through a picturesque and unique setting. Picnic tables are located throughout the property where you can enjoy a picnic lunch amidst the buzz and bustle of insects and birds that inhabit the protected wetlands in the heart of Hancock Village. The trails are simple to navigate and they provide an easy, leisurely meander suitable for all ages.

The Robert W. Nichol Nature Center also presents a number of nature-inspired programs throughout the year, from educational exhibits and “up close and personal” visits with live animals to wine-and-paint parties and Earth Day celebrations. Upcoming events are listed on our Events page.

 

Photo credit: Nick VandenBroek

Finger Lakes Trail

Finger Lakes Trail Map

The Finger Lakes Trail winds its way through our area over a large portion of the Cannonsville Reservoir, northwest into Barbour Brook, Steam Mill, and Arctic China State Forest, and northeast into Bear Spring Mountain Wildlife Management Area. There are plenty of parking spots all along the way, and you can choose to do a short, scenic hike along the reservoir or a longer trek through the wild forests. Here’s an interactive map to get you going in the right direction.

Dewitt Reservoir

ferns

Golf Course Road, Hancock NY

 

Located just outside Hancock Village proper is the Dewitt Reservoir which, in addition to being a delightful spot for a picnic, also boasts a lovely little trail that meanders around the pond. Although not handicapped accessible, it is a relatively easy jaunt for the novice trail walker/hiker. More information on this beautiful spot can be found here. The picnic area and trailhead can be found by turning onto Sands Creek Road (towards the Route 17 West entrance at the western end of town) and then making a right onto Golf Course Road. Follow to the end.

Kerryville State Forest

Franskevicz Road, Hancock NY

 

This 698-acre state forest is located between County Route 67 and State Route 268 near the Village of Hancock, New York. The area is mostly forested with both natural stands and plantations in various stages of succession. Opportunities for hunting most game species exist. Two beaver ponds used to exist on the southern portion of the forest. These ponds washed out in 2006 leaving behind two emergent wetlands. More info can be found at the DEC web site.