New York

Uplands Farm Sanctuary

True to its name, Uplands Farm Sanctuary retains the appearance of an old dairy farm, complete with a silo and open fields that were once cattle pastures. Today, the old farm buildings serve as an office for The Nature Conservancy's Long Island Chapter. A double-loop trail meanders from bird and butterfly meadows, through deciduous forests, into a white pine-shaded ravine.

The gravelly, acidic soils of Uplands Farm are difficult to fertilize, so over the years raising livestock seems to have been preferable to cultivation. In colonial times, the land was most likely used for sheep ranching for wool. In 1920, the Nichols family began raising cattle and ultimately ran a dairy at Uplands Farm until 1962.

Mrs. Jane Nichols, a long-time resident and owner of Uplands Farm, donated three parcels of the preserve to the Conservancy. Upon her death in 1981, additional parcels were acquired. The sanctuary is dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Nichols.

Learn about the sanctuary's constructed wetland, a pilot for nitrogen reduction >

The marked, mostly level trail (2.41 miles) makes this a good place for family-friendly hikes. Download a trail map. If you’re interested in longer hikes, the Uplands trail connects to the 20-mile Nassau-Suffolk Trail, part of the Long Island Greenbelt.

The preserve is open for hiking and observing nature from dawn to dusk, 7 days a week. Office is open Mon. to Fri., 9 am to 5 pm.

Parking lot available for up to 10 vehicles.

In the eastern woodland, you’ll see red maple, black cherry and red cedar mixed with oak, ash and hickory trees. In the hilly terrain of the western woodland, flowering dogwood and extensive thickets of mountain laurel bloom below a canopy of oaks, tulip trees and black birch. The sanctuary's meadows and hedgerows provide habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals, including butterfly weed and goldenrods, 40 butterfly species and grassland birds such as bobolinks and meadowlarks, which have become rare as their habitat has disappeared.

Bluebirds, the New York state bird, return in late winter and early spring. They build their nests in bird boxes or tree cavities along forest edges. Monarch butterflies return to the region in late summer. Both the caterpillars and adult butterflies rely on the butterfly weed and other milkweed species that bloom in the open fields.

This 97-acre preserve is located in Cold Spring Harbor, New York.

  • From the Long Island Expressway, take Exit 45 (Woodbury-Manetto Hill exit) and bear right at the end of the exit ramp onto Manetto Hill Road.
  • Go 0.2 mile and turn right onto Woodbury Road.
  • Proceed 3.4 miles and turn left onto Harbor Road (Route 108).
  • Go 1.6 miles and turn right uphill onto Lawrence Hill Road.
  • Proceed 0.4 miles and turn right into the Uplands Farm entrance.
  • Proceed to the end of the split rail fence and turn left just before the barn.
  • Park in the parking area or beside it in the grassy field.
  • The trailhead and visitor kiosk are in the trees 75 feet beyond the parking area.

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