Shaw Mountain Natural Area

The limestone uplift of Shaw Mountain rises over 500 feet from the surrounding land, and is a dominant landscape feature in Benson and adjacent West Haven, Vermont. Shaw Mountain Natural Area supports 11 distinct plant communities, including a shrub swamp, vernal pools, an oak-hickory forest, and a calcareous outcrop community, in addition to 15 rare plant species.


600 acres

Why the Conservancy Selected this Site

The Conservancy targeted the Shaw Mountain area for conservation due to its high biodiversity value, excellent condition, and large size.

A wonderful nature trail begins at the preserve parking area. The trail is 2.4 miles round trip. Please read our Preserve Visitation Guidelines.

What to See: Plants

Several of the natural communities found at Shaw Mountain are considered outstanding examples of their type. These include a shrub swamp, vernal pools, a mesic maple-ash-hickory-oak forest, and a calcareous outcrop community. Notable plants include handsome sedge, large-bracted tick-trefoil, yellow oak, snowy aster, squaw root, sessile-leaved boneset, three-lobed violet, and four-leaved milkweed.

What to See: Animals

Spotted salamanders breed in the vernal pools on Shaw Mountain’s limy saddles. Wild turkeys nest and feed throughout the oak-hickory forests and bobcats den among the rocky slopes and ledges.


From Route 22A in Fair Haven, follow signs to Benson. (They will take you on an unmarked road going west, known locally as Lake Road and identified by the Vermont Gazetteer as Mill Pond Road). At the stop sign (0.8 mile), go straight. Turn left onto Parkhill Road (1.1 miles) and drive for 0.5 mile. Go right on Money Hole Road and proceed until you see the Conservancy sign at a pullout on the left (1.7 miles). Park here—the trail enters the woods from this point.


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!

comments powered by Disqus

Read our guidelines on posting comments


Stay Updated

Learn about the places you love and find out how you can help by signing up for Nature eNews.

I'm already on the list Read our privacy policy

Thank you for joining our online community!

We'll be in touch soon with more Nature Conservancy news, updates, and exciting stories.