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Little Rock City Park, New York

The #1 Best Kept Secret Free Campsite in NY!

Welcoming sign for the City of Salamanca, Seneca Nation Territory

The 2018 Summer will be over in about two months. There is still plenty of fun to be had and some of it can come pretty cheap! Maybe you're still trying to enjoy this year’s record hot weather outdoors, instead of in a motel or hotel. You could be on the last few days driving home from vacation and would like to cut costs. If you're anything like me, you just need to get away from civilization for a little bit. Whichever it is, you need a financial break. I know a park just north of Allegany State Park that can offer you a break for free. I have gone there myself and it's pretty isolated, but don't go alone! It's rumored to be haunted, which is perfect for those who like a ghost hunt all year round!

The prices of Allegany State Park, which has 65,000 acres that run south through the New York/Pennsylvania border, aren't high. It has RV sites and tent sites with electric that range between $18 - $35 per night, depending on what you need. There are also facilities for hot showers, laundry, and RV dumps. There's also mini-golf, a playground, hiking, hunting, fishing, canoeing, biking, and boat ramps. But... sometimes we just want to pitch a tent, be left alone, and relax with no worries! (Especially on whether we have enough money for one more night, and on where the closest ATM is located at if we don't!)

The number for Allegany State Park is: (716) 354-9121, and the address is: 2373 ASP Rte. 1, Salamanca, NY 14779

Little Rock City Forest 

In Cattaraugus County, just north of Allegany State Park and Salamanca, nestled below Ellicottville and Holiday Valley (which are both great for Autumn and Winter festivities!) lies a lesser known, much smaller park, McCarty Hill State Park. It is part of Little Rock City Forest. The camping sites in Little Rock City are for tents only. Each site has a small, wooden covered pavilion with a table and benches. There is also a fire pit nearby and you can choose where to pitch your tent at each site. Inside McCarty Hill Park is a lake, known as Spruce Lake. The free camping is for three days only, and after that, you must pay.

McCarty Hill Road runs the length of my favorite part of the park. The roads all have cool names, such as ‘Mutton Hollow Road’, ‘Hungry Hollow Road’, and ‘Partridge Hill Road’. There are homes just outside the park, since it’s shape is not exactly perfect. To get a feel for how old the settlement of the area is, think about where the name of ‘Whig Street’ came from! Does anyone know of any ‘Tory Road’ or ‘Tory Street’ names around New England? For anyone who doesn’t know, the Whig Party was made up of American Patriots during the Revolution. They were the ones who founded the United States and declared independence from England. The Whig's fought the colonists who stayed loyal to the British Crown, AKA a 'Tory'. The Whigs were also in opposition of removing Indians from their land. How’s that for a quick history lesson while camping?

Well here is another history lesson: The area belongs to the Seneca Nation Indians, so please be respectful of the forest. Also, please make sure you keep your campsite clean and take any trash with you. When I went, someone had been kind enough to leave their unused wood. Maybe they were planning to come back, but no one did while I was there. Not too far away is the Seneca-Allegany Casino in Salamanca, where there are other hotels and convenience stores. Salamanca is only about a 10-minute drive from the forest. Ya know, in case you get spooked out of camping! Or maybe a bear warning gets put in place? These things DO happen!

I can’t wait to go back there again! It is absolutely beautiful in Little Rock City Forest! 

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