Exploring Five Rivers Nature Trails
Take to the trails and enter a different world. Listen for the plaintive notes of the eastern bluebird, sneak a glimpse of deer browsing in the fields and let the gentle rustle of the wind inform you. Share in the spirit of innovative conservation research and education which lends Five Rivers EEC its unique sense of place.
Brochures for interpretive trails are available at the Visitor Center and at trailhead kiosks. Braille, large print and audio format brochures are available upon request at the Visitor Center.
Nature's Accessible Backyard Trail (¼ mile loop with shortcut options)
Acquaint yourself with flora and fauna common to your backyard on this ADA-compliant asphalt trail. Designed and funded by The Friends of Five Rivers, the path showcases wildlife habitat enhancement projects you can do at home, and whets the appetite for further outdoor exploration. Scenic vistas offer engaging views of Beaver Pond and Heron Pond. A wheelchair-accessible binocular station brings Heron Pond right up close. Spring through fall, an enchanting water garden invites quiet reflection. In summer, a showy butterfly and hummingbird garden bustles with activity. Good chance for bluebirds and monarch butterflies among the fields. In winter, a model bird feeding station attracts a variety of feathered friends. Divergent pathways offer a range of itineraries. Interpretive guides in Braille, large print and audio format available at the Visitor Center. Additional accessible parking available behind the Visitor Center.
Woodlot Trail (¼ mile loop with shortcut option)
This ADA-compliant trail of boardwalk and crushed stone winds through a lush woodland, an excellent place to encounter small mammals and songbirds. Mature oak, hickory and beech trees provide exceptional wildlife habitat and refreshing forest scenery. Check the tree crotches for the leaf nests of the grey squirrel, and look for woodpecker nest holes and feeding posts among the snags. In fall, maples and sassafras adorn the canopy in warm oranges and reds. In winter, the bright red fruits of winterberry add stunning contrast. Decent chance for screech owl roosting among the tree cavities.
Old Field TrailOld Field Trail (½ mile loop with shortcut options)
This delightful patchwork of upland fields and brushlands is a living exhibit of the ecology of abandoned farmland. The trail of gentle grades over grass and wood chip surfaces is a great spot for warblers in spring. In summer, all manner of catbirds and cowbirds animate the dogwoods. In fall, a banquet of berries provides sustenance to migrants and residents alike. An experimental crabapple plantation is alive with deer, rabbits and dickey birds year 'round. Relict apple trees hidden in the puckerbrush recall the site's agricultural heritage of nearly a century ago. The trail also visits former duck-rearing ponds, now home to heron, geese and mink.
Beaver Tree Trail
Beaver Tree Trail (½ mile loop)
Circling the wooded border of Beaver Pond, this trail features several scenic overlooks and close approaches to the pond, with excellent opportunity to enjoy seasonal flora and fauna. Migrant puddle ducks ply the pond in spring and fall. In summer, watch for painted turtles and snapping turtles basking in the sun, and a great egret or two in mid-August. Two elevated foot bridges which span the water afford exceptional views and a 400 foot boardwalk immerses you right in amongst the cattails. Moderate ups and downs over a wood-chip base.
Vlomankill Trail (¾ mile loop with shortcut options)
A picturesque trail with some steep grades over wood chip padding traces the Vlomankill through a hemlock-shaded ravine. Impressive trees, elevated views and dramatically exposed bedrock create a sense of the primeval. If you like geology, you'll love the exposed outcroppings of ancient rock folds. The keen observer can also spot several sloughs and old waterworks, touchstones to former duck-rearing activities of the Game Farm. Link to Fordhams Crossing for additional scenic views and streamside accessibility.
Service Road Loop (1½ mile loop with short cut options)
This seldom-used service road of gentle grades over grass and gravel surfaces borrows romantic views of the Helderbergs under spacious skies. This ecological sampler visits field, forest and wetland habitats, offering excellent chances for deer, waterfowl, wind birds and dickey birds. Best place to watch clouds.
North Loop (2 mile loop with shortcut options)
Go the distance on this skiing/hiking boundary trail through broad fields and forests of pine and northern hardwood. Stately trees, dense brushland and dynamic views lend a sense of wilderness. Gentle grades over grass and wood chip surfaces give way along the northern leg to more challenging forest terrain with many roots and narrow tread.
Wild Turkey TrailWild Turkey Trail (1½ mile loop with shortcut options) Another great skiing and hiking trail, traversing old fields and extensive grasslands on the way to an enchanting wooded ravine of the Phillipinkill. Be sure to scan the grasslands for specialties such as bobolink and eastern meadowlark in summer, northern harrier in winter. Good chance for owls, turkey and thrush specialties in the deep woods. Then extend your hike by circling Foresman's Loop for more forest