Keyserkill High Point a Scary 19er in Schoharie County

Keyserkill State Forest - 1163 Acres
Average read time 7 min

The Keyserkill High Point hike for the Scary 19, well, is somewhat dull if you run to the “high point” and back to your car. The high point is the high point in this forest preserve, but there is higher ground nearby. You’ll need to stay on public lands. 

Keyserkill HP is really a ridge

Keyserkill High Point is technically the south ridge of the 2244 foot Stafford Hill some 0.85-miles north.  If you were to park near the entrance on Campell Road, hike to the Scary 19 high point, and return, your distance would be about 2.6-miles. Although pretty, you would miss much by not traversing the state forest. 

Hiking the state forest is scrappy

Traversing Keyserskill State Forest is surprisingly scrappy. The state forest has a mixed forest with plantations of spruce and Norwegian pines. Also, hemlock and sections of white birch are scattered throughout the forest. It has two streams that you’ll need to cross. Both creeks have many cascades. The streams can be easy or hard to traverse depending on the time of year. They are probably a trickle in the summer, but as we experienced during snowmelt, a torrent. There are a few ups and downs as you cross or climb ridges!

Table Of Contents

Keyserkill (HP) High Point hike specs

These specs are for a traverse going from Campbell Road to Guinea Road (see map at the bottom of the page). There are NO official parking lots, but roadside parking is allowed.

Distance:Climbing:Difficulty:
about 5-miles (point-to-point)about 670+ / 1275-Scrappy
State land entranceCampbell RoadGuinea Road

Options and need to know

Three options:

  1. Out and back from Campbell Road.
  2. Two cars, point to point from either Campbell Road or Guinea Road (harder).
  3. One car starting at Campbell Road or Guinea Road and a long and pretty road walk back to your vehicle (hardest).

Traversing the state forest requires good navigation skills. Although GPS will help, you cannot rely on it for several reasons. Knowledge of using a map and compass is critical.

Things to know if you traverse Keyserkill State Forest:

  1. Much of your hike will be off-trail.
  2. You will cross some woods road while bushwhacking.
  3. You can track private property to help navigate.
  4. You cross two streams.
  5. The hike is more scrappy than it looks on the map.
  6. The hike is probably best when the leaves are down.
  7. There are many excellent spots for at-large camping.
  8. Think twice before hiking this in big game season. We noticed three tree stands.
  9. There is a log cabin in plain sight by the high point; please stay on state land.

Photos of Keyserkill State Forest

We hiked from Campbell Road to Guinea Road.

Woods road coming off of Campbell Road
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Woods road coming off of Campbell Road
State forest preserve sign in the Keyserkill State Forest
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking State forest preserve sign in the Keyserkill State Forest
Norwegian pine
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Norwegian pine
ATV access route sign for physically challenged
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking ATV access route sign for physically challenged to campsite
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking ATV access path for physically challenged to campsite
Campsite (not on state map)
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Campsite (not on state map)

Related hike: Leonard Hill and Hubbard Hill Two of the Scary 19

Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking State/Private land boundary up Keyserkill HP
One of many woods roads in Keyserkill State Forest
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking One of many woods roads
Scary 19 High Point in Keyserkill State Forest
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Scary 19 High Point in Keyserkill State Forest
You'll find many rock walls in this state land
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking You’ll find many rock walls in this state land
A flooded area from snowmelt which we needed to hike around
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking A flooded area from snowmelt which we needed to hike around
Chris sitting at a lemon squeezer were the state land narrows
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Chris sitting at a lemon squeezer were the state land narrows (see map)
First stream with waterfall
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking First stream with waterfall
Armlin and Gates Hills
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Armlin and Gates Hills
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Second stream
Hemlocks above stream
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Hemlocks above stream
Woods road on the ridge heading toward Guinea Road
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Woods road on the ridge heading toward Guinea Road
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Gravel drive heading to Guinea Road
Road heading up into the state forest from Guinea Road (no sign)
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Road heading up into the state forest from Guinea Road (no sign)

Video of Waterfall

Waterfall in Keyserkill State Forest

Map for Keyserkill HP

Click on the map or here for an interactive version of the map.

Map going from Campbell Road to Guinea Road
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Map going from Campbell Road to Guinea Road
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