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arnot forest

Welcome to the Arnot Forest

The Arnot Forest Field Campus provides an ideal venue for day-use groups or overnight accommodations adjacent to Cornell's 4200 acre Arnot Forest, located in the Finger Lakes near Ithaca, NY.  At the Arnot Forest Field Campus, Primitive Pursuits runs our Arnot Forest Overnight Camp, as well as adult and school year programming. The campus is also offered as a rental facility for workshops, retreats, conferences, weddings & celebrations. 

The Landscape and Natural Surroundings

A regionally unique aspect of the Arnot Forest Campus is the inspirational landscape and wooded habitats easily accessible by skis, mountain bike, foot, or vehicle.

Within 4,200 acres of contiguous forest are 2,500 acres of managed hardwood forest, 100 acres of grasslands, 10 ponds, over 1,400 acres of young forest, and 6 first-order streams that feed Banfield Creek. Even though we are only 20 minutes from Ithaca, NY, on the uppermost ridge with a clear day you can see rolling forest extend for miles into Pennsylvania. A 40-acre sugar bush, plus modern sap processing facility is adjacent to the field campus. Two open pavilions are near the lodge and support outdoor or rainy-day events. Immediately north of the field campus is a loop trail that passes through demonstrations of amphibian conservation and forest management practices.

Main Lodge

The main lodge is the central meeting area of the field campus. It includes a fully equipped commercial kitchen with stoves that have a total of 12 burners, 4 ovens, and two flat grills, stainless steel counters, commercial reach-in refrigerator, freezer, commercial dishwasher, and table service. A smaller, fully equipped kitchen is used by smaller groups or for use during the winter.

Inside the lodge, a large dining room area seats 100 and can also serve as an area for indoor activities, large group meetings, or instruction. The lodge has a stone fireplace, video screen, and wireless internet. An adjoining, smaller, heated room supports smaller or winter groups.


Twelve rustic cabins distributed around the field campus each accommodate 8 sleepers on 4 double bunks with mattresses. Guests provide bedding and toiletries. All cabins have electrical service and lights. The facility will support 25 overnight guests in the winter, utilizing the five heated cabins and the small heated kitchen and meeting room located in the lodge.

The cabins surround a large activity field and lawn area and are adjacent to a sports field. The cabins are in close proximity to the lodge and bathhouse (handicap accessible). Bring a flashlight and shoes for nighttime navigation around the field campus.

Other Benefits

Just outside the Main Lodge are two open air pavilions with easy walking access. Our two parking lots can easily accommodate up to 50 cars, although we encourage carpooling from central meet up locations. Onsite camping is also available, and there are multiple fields within easy distance of the bathhouse for campers. The Field Campus is located well off the road and is connected to over 4200 acres of forest. It is very quiet and secluded, a perfect location for privacy, birdwatching, outdoor walks, and enjoying the natural beauty of the Finger Lakes.

We welcome you to experience the Arnot Forest as an affordable woodsy wedding venue or other event location near Ithaca, NY.

To inquire about rentals of the property or for other questions concerning programs at Arnot Forest, please fill out our interest form.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Submit a Rental Inquiry
Rental Application with Fee Scale
*Rates may vary by season and group size, please fill out our rental form for a estimate.

**Pond photo by Elisha James

Continue reading below for more on Arnot's history and usage

"You all do an amazing job inspiring kids to be actively engaged in their environment. Every week, Isaac is eager to demonstrate his newly developed skills and knowledge, including catching crayfish for dinner, collecting plants for tea or medicinal uses, and carving wood into bows. He is proud to be able to teach his parents a thing or two!" Summer Camp Parent

Arnot Usage and History


The field campus has a rich history serving Cornell University and the region. Utilized during the 1910’s and 20’s for the Cornell University Department of Forestry summer camp, in the 1930’s the field campus area was initiated as a Civilian Conversation Corps (CCC) camp. In 1954, with statewide support from volunteer sportsmen’s organizations, the field campus of today began to take shape. Since the 1950’s the field campus has supported numerous natural resource management educational programs of Cornell University

Teaching & Primitive Pursuits Programs

Woodlot management, conservation ecology, forest ecology, ornithology, maple sugaring, outdoor education, and resource economics are some of the courses that utilize the Arnot for field experiences. The Arnot supports educational programs for county and campus-based in-service trainings and workshops for staff and audiences. Primitive Pursuits began leading overnight summer camps and adult wilderness education programs there in 2016.

Other Articles:


611 County Rd 13, Cayuta, NY

MAP: Arnot Forest - Google Maps Link


  • 20 minutes southwest of Ithaca
  • 30 minutes southeast of Watkins Glen
  • 30 minutes north of Elmira

*Tip: inputing address as "Cayuta" instead of Van Etten works better for some GPS systems.

Airport Access: Ithaca Tompkins Regional, Greater Binghamton, Syracuse Hancock International, Elmira Corning Regional, and Greater Rochester.

Need a trail guide?

We’re happy to help you navigate. Give us a call at the office (607) 272-2292 ext. 195 or use the link below

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