Enjoy a hike at the Helen W. Buckner Memorial Preserve and explore the variety of plants and animals. View All
The Helen W. Buckner Memorial Preserve at Bald Mountain is the largest and most ecologically diverse natural area managed by The Nature Conservancy in Vermont. It is home to 11 uncommon or rare-in-Vermont animal species, 18 species of rare or uncommon plants and 10 distinct plant community types. Peregrine falcons nest on the cliffs of Bald Mountain and the preserve includes floodplain and upland forests, marsh habitat, three miles of undeveloped Lake Champlain shoreline, and wetlands along the Poultney River.
From the fields of the old Galick farmstead, there is a sweeping vista of mountains, wetlands and the southern end of Lake Champlain. Bald Mountain rises out of the hayfields like a whale emerging from the deep, the river-like southern end of Lake Champlain and its wetlands trail below, and beyond lie South Bay and Saddles Mountain in New York.
The Helen W. Buckner Preserve at Bald Mountain has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the state. Many of the natural communities here are in excellent condition.
This preserve is part of the Southern Lake Champlain Valley (SLCV) landscape. The Conservancy has protected more than 8,500 acres in the SLCV area in Vermont and New York and the Vermont chapter recently added 297 acres to the Buckner Preserve. From their office in West Haven, SLCV staff manage the preserve lands and provide opportunities for the community to participate in conservation-related activities.
There are two main trails here - the Susan Bacher Memorial Trail (2.5 miles) and Tim's Trail (2.8 miles) and a one-mile trail that connects the two. Brochures are available at the trail kiosks. Please wear boots and long pants and watch out for snakes.
Hunters use the preserve during the month of May and from October 1 to December 31. If you visit the preserve during hunting season please wear bright clothing. To hunt at this preserve, please be sure to obtain permission.
Please read our Preserve Visitation Guidelines.
On the trail, you'll pass through a northern hardwood forest. In the spring, wildflowers such as columbine, hepatica, spring beauty, bloodroot, early saxifrage, and trillium abound here.
In the upland forest you'll see chestnut oak, which is at the northernmost edge of its range here; it's a tree more commonly found further south.
The predominant natural community type at Bald Mountain is the dry oak-hickory-hophornbeam forest. The tree species characteristic of this forest type, white and red oak, shagbark and butternut hickory, and hophornbeam are adapted to the warmer conditions more common in this area of Vermont.
Bald Mountain has several cliff communities and talus slopes, which are piles of rock that have accumulated where a rock face has gradually given way.
If you're patient, you may glimpse a peregrine falcon soaring from the cliffs of Bald Mountain, or come across one of the eight species of amphibians that live here. The preserve is also home to Vermont's only lizard, the five-lined skink, as well as black bears, bobcats, coyotes, wild turkeys, porcupines, bald eagles, ospreys, and rabbits.
From Whitehall, NY, take Route 4 east; from Rutland, VT, take Route 4 west. Then from Route 4, just east of Whitehall village, turn north onto Route 9A across from the Bittersweet Plaza. After about one mile, turn left onto Route 9 at the T intersection. Take the first right onto Route 10 (Doig Street). Then turn left onto the dirt road (the paved road curves right). Cross the bridge and turn left. The Tim's Trail parking area is 0.7 miles down the dirt road on the right. The Susan Bacher Memorial Trail parking area is another mile down the road on the right.