Colorful plants and trees in and around a lake at Higby Mountain Preserve
Higby Mountain Preserve. Autumn colors reflect in a lake at the preserve. © David Gumbart

Places We Protect

Higby Mountain Preserve


Stand near the edge of a geologic fault on a ridge of basalt dating from the Triassic Period.

Why TNC Selected This Site

This preserve contains trap rock ridges, which support specialized plant species that are of special interest because they reach the limit of their range here. About 122 acres were donated here in 1979 by Howard and Frances Houston, with another 37 acres given anonymously in 1986.

What TNC Has Done/Is Doing

TNC supports research and conservation of trap rock ridges, one of Connecticut’s important environments.

Why You Should Visit 

A mile-long hike to the top of a ridge on the Higby Mountain Preserve offers wide views to the south, west and north over Connecticut’s central valley. At the summit, a hiker stands near the edge of a geologic fault on a ridge of basalt dating from the Triassic Period some 200 million years ago.


The Mattabessett Trail follows the top rim along a sheer drop of 400 to 500 feet. (Not a hike for acrophobes!)

What to See: Plants

The geological properties of trap rock ridges such as those at Higby Mountain result in the presence of species at the edge of their ranges. Some species found on Higby Mountain, including yellow corydalis, are more common to the southern Appalachians, while bearberry, also found here, is more typical of the summits of New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

What to See: Animals

Hawks and other raptors often take advantage of the mountain’s updrafts, circling above.  The native black racer snake may be glimpsed and is known to rattle its tail in dry leaves, simulating a rattlesnake. But rest assured, there are no rattlers on Higby Mountain.

Please enjoy your visit to this preserve. TNC welcomes passive recreation, including hiking, birding, canoeing, nature study and cross-country skiing.

To ensure those who visit after you are able to enjoy the same experience you have, please remember to stay on designated trails, pack out everything you brought in, and contact our office at: 203-568-6270 or if you notice any problems.

To maintain the ecological integrity of the preserve, the following activities are not allowed: collection of plant or animal specimens, camping, fires, fishing, hunting, bicycling, and use of motorized vehicles. Pets are not allowed on TNC preserves.