PLEASE NOTE: Pawling Nature Reserve is open during hunting season (Oct 1 - Dec 22). Written permission is required to hunt on Conservancy lands. To learn about our hunting program or to obtain permission to hunt, please visit our New York hunting information page.
Explore a microcosm of diverse natural communities at each level of 1,053-foot-tall Hammersly Ridge. In the reserve’s gorge, Duell Hollow Brook cascades down the rocks and The Appalachian Trail winds through stands of red pines, eastern hemlocks, and mixed hardwoods. Farther up the ridge, a hillside of beech trees slopes down into a yellow birch forest. And at the ridgetop, chestnut oaks, lichens and mosses grace the rocky soil and compliment stunning views of Great Swamp and Harlem Valley below.
Before you visit, download a trail map.
Why We Selected This Site
The reserve was donated to The Nature Conservancy in 1958 through a gift from a group of local residents, the Akin Hall Association. The large entrance sign at the Quaker Lake Road parking area proclaims the reserve “A living museum for man’s use.” Acquisition of this site was an important milestone in the Eastern New York Chapter’s early conservation portfolio because preservation of this large tract of land is vital to the health of adjacent Great Swamp, one of New York State’s largest freshwater wetlands.
What We Do Here
Devil’s bit, a New York state-rare plant, is one target of long-term protection and monitoring at the site. Isolated populations of state-threatened salamanders that occupy ridge-top wetlands in the reserve are also subjects of ongoing research and protection strategies here.