Welcome to the Arnot Forest
The Arnot Forest provides an ideal venue for day-use groups or overnight accommodations adjacent to a 4200 acre forest, located in the Finger Lakes near Ithaca, NY. At the Arnot Forest, Primitive Pursuits runs our Teen Overnight Camps and 'Wilderness Year' outdoor program for adults. We also provide rental opportunities to groups for Workshops, Retreats, Conferences, Weddings & Celebrations.
The Landscape and Natural SurroundingsA regionally unique aspect of the Arnot Forest Campus is the inspirational landscape and wooded habitats easily accessible by skis, mountain bike, foot, or car on the restricted road system.
Within 4200 acres of contiguous forest are 2500 acres of managed hardwood forest, 100 acres of grasslands, 10 ponds, over 1400 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 two-mile loop trail that passes through demonstrations of amphibian conservation and forest management practices.
Main LodgeThe 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.
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!
**Pond photo by Elisha James
Continue reading below for more on Arnot's history and usage
"There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not man the less, but nature more." Lord Byron
Arnot Usage and History
HistoryThe 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 ProgramsWoodlot 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.
611 County Rd 13, Cayuta, NY
- 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.
Born and raised in the surrounding hills, Elana is grateful to be a part of the Primitive Pursuits family and to support it's mission for creating nature access for all.