Shaw Mountain Natural Area

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Hike over a shrub swamp, past vernal pools, through an oak-hickory forest and check out a glorious outcrop community of wildflowers in the spring.
Trail Activity
2.40 miles, Loop
Benson (VT)
Packed Earth/Dirt
Not Permitted


The preserve’s white-blazed trail begins with a short quick climb, then follows a low ridge south (with views through the trees of Root Pond and marsh). The path descends steeply right (west) to a boardwalk that crosses an arm of the marsh (a nice spot for kids to explore), then climbs Shaw Mountain. The trail splits and circles the summit in a loop, offering nice views to the west in winter and early spring. Returning to the split, go back the way you came. This is a great hike or snowshoe trip. Look for turkey and bobcat tracks.

Other Information

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.

Trail Manager

Visit The Nature Conservancy in Vermont online for more information or contact Murray McHugh, Critical Lands Manager for Southern VT:

The Nature Conservancy: Southern Vermont Office
Critical Lands Manager, Southern Vermont
348 Bentley Ave
Poultney, VT 05764
View website

Trail Tips

Plan Ahead and Prepare
Find out about and follow any local regulations and respect landowners’ property.

Trailhead Information

1640 Money Hole Rd, Benson, VT

From Rutland, take Rte. 4 west to Exit 2. At the bottom of the exit ramp turn right onto Rte. 22A. Go north on Rte. 22A for about 7 miles  and turn left (west) on Lake Rd. toward Benson Village. At 0.8 miles, go straight at the Benson four corners stop sign. Travel 1.1 miles and turn left (south) on Parkhill Rd. In 0.5 miles, turn right on Money Hole Rd. The Conservancy sign and trailhead parking are 1.7 miles ahead on the left.

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