Visitors enjoying the trail at High Ponds
High Pond Natural Area Visitors enjoying the trail at High Ponds © Bob Klein

Places We Protect

High Pond Natural Area


A laboratory for dozens of scientific papers on everything from acid rain to snowshoe hares.

Located in the northernmost corner of Vermont’s Taconic Mountains, High Pond Preserve is a haven for wildlife like large-ranging mammals and birds. It also supports a number of plant communities that reflect both boreal and more southern affinities.

What The Nature Conservancy is Doing

High Pond Preserve is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy of Vermont. The preserve was originally established through the generosity of the late W. Douglas Burden, a conservationist and explorer who lived in Charlotte, Vermont.

What to See: Plants

Mixed northern hardwood is the most common forest type in the High Pond Preserve, composed of maples, birches, ash, oaks, cherry and hemlock, among other species. Another feature of the preserve is the community of old growth hemlock, one of fewer than ten of its size and age that can be found in Vermont, a nearly pure stand of chestnut oak, and a distinctive, fire-influenced red pine community high on the ridge beside High Pond.

What to See: Animals

A number of mammals such as bobcat, fisher and bear can be found at High Pond Preserve, as well as birds like the pileated woodpecker and the black-backed woodpecker. There is also an abundance of amphibians in the vernal pools and the ponds of the preserve.

With the help of a Vermont Youth Conservation Corps team, the Conservancy recently created a one-mile visitor’s trail to High Pond. The trail leads through the preserve to High Pond itself, passing through a number of different forest communities including a hemlock ravine and mature northern hardwood forest with abundant black birch.