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From Schunemunk's rocky summits, spot migrating raptors and take in spectacular views toward the Hudson River, or spend some moments of quiet reflection in the lowlands among extensive oak-chestnut forests. This preserve is located in the northwest edge of the six-mile Schunemunk Ridge, which rises from 600 feet to nearly 1,700 feet.
Mrs. Mabel Ingalls donated this land to The Nature Conservancy in 1991.
Several sizeable tracts of independently protected land lie adjacent to Schunemunk Mountain Preserve. In the years ahead, The Nature Conservancy will likely transfer the preserve to New York State for inclusion in a proposed state park that will combine these various managed sites into one large conservation area.
Numerous trails with various access points take visitors through the preserve and its surrounding areas. The 214-mile Long Path, a nationally known trail that runs from the George Washington Bridge to the Catskills and is maintained by the NY-NJ Trail Conference, bisects the preserve. Contact NY-NJ Trail Conference for maps of entire area. Please bring water and adequate hiking shoes, and be on the lookout for timber rattlesnakes, a poisonous and state-threatened species.
Mature oak-dominated forests occur at lower elevations, including an extensive occurrence of the chestnut-oak forest community. Farther up the mountain, thicket-forming scrub oak supplant chestnut oaks. At the highest elevations, outcrops of conglomerate rocks occur, interspersed with the pitch pine-oak-heath rocky summit community.
The proliferation of oak trees on Schunemunk Mountain provides nourishment for a diversity of wildlife, including three species of shrews, two species of moles, five species of mice, two species of weasels, three species of squirrels, three species of voles, white-tailed deer, two species of foxes, coyotes, and black bears.
This 163-acre preserve is located in Cornwall, Orange County, New York.