New York

Nellie Hill Preserve

In December 2016, The Nature Conservancy donated Nellie Hill to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the first parcel establishing Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge. Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge spans six states, focusing on protecting and managing shrubland and young forest habitat from eastern New York to Maine. For more information on Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge, contact Beth Goldstein at

From atop the rocky summit of a 120-foot calcareous cliff, enjoy gorgeous views of pocket grasslands that resemble savannas, sloping meadows, a rich oak woodland and a limestone woodland. Five springs burble gently through the property, and two ponds rest in the valley below. In the spring and late summer, glorious wildflowers fill the fields with color and vibrancy. Because of its varying habitats, Nellie Hill is a hotspot for migratory birds.

Why We Selected This Site

To preserve a rare calcareous red cedar barren plant community, limestone woodlands, and at least ten state and globally rare plants.

Before you visit, please see our Visitation Guidelines and download a preserve map

Rare plants at the preserve include green milkweed, New England blazing star, Virginia false gromwell, Carolina whitlow grass, mock-pennyroyal, Torrey's mountain mint, yellow wild flax, large twayblade and side-oats grama. Look for chestnut-sided warblers, white-eyed vireos, Louisiana water thrushes, woodland warblers and prairie warblers. 

This 144-acre preserve is located in Dutchess County, New York.


  • Take Route 22 north toward Dover Plains.
  • Pass Dutchess Route 6 and follow for another 0.25 miles.
  • The parking area is off Route 22; the preserve sign is set back from road.
  • Follow the path up the hill to the preserve entrance.

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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