Come see the spectacular plants and animals located at Shaw Mounting Natural Area. View All
The limestone uplift of Shaw Mountain rises over 500 feet from the surrounding land, and is a dominant landscape feature in Benson and adjacent West Haven, Vermont. Shaw Mountain Natural Area supports 11 distinct plant communities, including a shrub swamp, vernal pools, an oak-hickory forest, and a calcareous outcrop community, in addition to 15 rare plant species.
The Conservancy targeted the Shaw Mountain area for conservation due to its high biodiversity value, excellent condition, and large size.
A wonderful nature trail begins at the preserve parking area. The trail is 2.4 miles round trip. Please read our Preserve Visitation Guidelines.
Several of the natural communities found at Shaw Mountain are considered outstanding examples of their type. These include a shrub swamp, vernal pools, a mesic maple-ash-hickory-oak forest, and a calcareous outcrop community. Notable plants include handsome sedge, large-bracted tick-trefoil, yellow oak, snowy aster, squaw root, sessile-leaved boneset, three-lobed violet, and four-leaved milkweed.
Spotted salamanders breed in the vernal pools on Shaw Mountain’s limy saddles. Wild turkeys nest and feed throughout the oak-hickory forests and bobcats den among the rocky slopes and ledges.
From Route 22A in Fair Haven, follow signs to Benson. (They will take you on an unmarked road going west, known locally as Lake Road and identified by the Vermont Gazetteer as Mill Pond Road). At the stop sign (0.8 mile), go straight. Turn left onto Parkhill Road (1.1 miles) and drive for 0.5 mile. Go right on Money Hole Road and proceed until you see the Conservancy sign at a pullout on the left (1.7 miles). Park here—the trail enters the woods from this point.