About Tuttle Educational State Forest

History of Tuttle ESF

Photo of Tuttle ESF Pond

In 1956 Miss Lelia Judson Tuttle deeded 160 acres of family land to the Tuttle Forest Foundation. Miss Tuttle wanted her land to serve the people of North Carolina. The Tuttle Forest Foundation followed Miss Tuttle’s vision requiring that this land be used for educational and recreational purposes yet remain a forest.

In 1973 the Tuttle Forest Foundation leased the land to the North Carolina Forest Service to be used as a small State Forest. Development of the forest began in the fall of 1975. There was a tremendous amount of work to be done so help was acquired from several state and federal job programs including: Young Adult Conservation Corps (YACCP), Emergency Job Program (EJP), and the Comprehensive Employment Training Act (CETA). Much of the construction was completed by the summer of 1977 and Tuttle Small State Forest opened to the public.

Over the years the forest has continued to grow and in 1986 the North Carolina Forest Service changed the name to Tuttle Educational State Forest to better reflect the forest’s purpose. In 1997 the North Carolina Forest Service received a grant to purchase 127 acres from the Tuttle Family, in the winter of 2008 the Tuttle Forest Foundation acquired 5 acres, and in 2017 the forest added 17 acres acquired by the Tuttle Forest Foundation and 33 acres donated by Mr. & Mrs. Charles and Karen Hartley. The latest addition was in 2018 when the Tuttle Forest Foundation purchased 20 acres to bring the total acreage of the forest to 362 acres.

Today, Tuttle Educational State Forest continues to keep Miss Tuttle’s vision alive by providing the citizens of North Carolina a living outdoor classroom where visitors of all ages can learn about and enjoy the forest environment.


The Tuttle Forest Foundation is a 501(c) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and improving Tuttle Educational State Forest. For information about donating to the foundation, please contact the forest staff at 828-757-5608 or tuttleESF.ncfs@ncagr.gov



Trail Map

Public Access
Hours of Operation:

March 1 through October 31
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday
11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

November 1 through end of February
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday Closed
Closed designated N.C. state holidays including Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years