Black Mountain is experiencing extremely high use, imperiling public access, wildlife populations and sensitive habitat. Please consider using Trail Finder to identify other nearby trails and visit them instead. If the parking lot is full when you arrive, choose another trail to visit. Be considerate of your fellow trail enthusiasts - pass at safe distances, wear masks, and move on from viewpoints if others are waiting. As always, leave your dogs at home to protect the unique wildlife here.
Black Mountain rises abruptly from the West River in Dummerston to a horseshoe ridge with a summit of 1,280 feet. The mountain originated as a mass of molten rock deep beneath the surface of the earth between 345 and 395 million years ago. Erosion has exposed the granite that forms the core of the mountain.
From the preserve's trailhead, the path up Black Mountain climbs for more than a quarter mile in a very clearly defined stair-like pattern over a set of ancient floodplain terraces. Some of the terraces represent the shore of ancient Lake Hitchcock, the great glacial lake that ran much of the length of the Connecticut and West Rivers at the end of the ice age. From the top of the mountain, there are views as far as New Hampshire's Mount Monadnock and into the river valleys.
Why TNC Selected This Site
The complex of dry ridge-top communities on Black Mountain’s rugged granite contours is exemplary for the region.
What TNC is Doing
The Nature Conservancy has been working for decades to protect Black Mountain and its surrounding landscape. Recently, we have focused on public experience on the natural area, improving the trail system and points of access.