There are two main trails here - the Susan Bacher Memorial Trail (2.5 miles) and Tim's Trail (2.8 miles) and a one-mile trail that connects the two. Brochures with complete trail and preserve descriptions are available at the trail kiosks. We recommend boots and long pants and watch out for snakes.
It is hard to imagine a more inspiring piece of Vermont landscape than the Helen W. Buckner Memorial Preserve. Encircled by the southernmost end of Lake Champlain to the west and south, the Poultney River to the east, and Bald Mountain to the north, this is an isolated piece of rural Vermont not reached by a road until 1934. Today, it remains a less visited part of the state, where rare snakes, peregrine falcons, and five-lined skinks (the only lizard found in the state) still outnumber human visitors.
The Buckner Preserve is the most ecologically diverse natural area managed by the Conservancy in Vermont, and is home to 11 uncommon or rare-in-Vermont animal species, 18 species of rare or uncommon plants, and at least 15 distinct natural community types. Here paddlers can explore undeveloped Lake Champlain shoreline, the secluded twists and turns of the Lower Poultney River, and, in high water, floodplain forests and marshes. Trail walkers can move quickly from the lake and river shore, up through gently rolling hay meadows, cross stony talus slopes, and ascend cliffs topped by a dry oak-hickory-hophornbeam forest.
From the cliffs there are sweeping vistas of the narrowing south end of Lake Champlain, the Poultney River, and lake-influenced wetlands. Bald Mountain adds its indomitable character to the preserve with its stark cliffs and talus slopes, home to peregrine falcon nests and a unique assemblage of amphibians and reptiles found nowhere else in Vermont.
The Lake Champlain Land Trust holds a conservation easement on 1,369 acres of The Nature Conservancy land that abuts the Buckner Preserve, thus adding to the amount of unfragmented important habitat.
Visit The Nature Conservancy in Vermont online for more information or contact Murray McHugh, Critical Lands Manager for Southern VT:
1320 Galick Rd, West Haven, VT Tim's Trail
2555 Galick Rd, West Haven, VT Susan Bacher Memorial Trail
Drive west from Rutland, Vermont on Rte. 4 and cross the state line into New York. From the state line, continue west on Rte. 4 about 5.5 miles, crossing a set of railroad tracks. Soon after, turn right (north) onto Rte. 9A. (Please note that the sign for Rte. 9A is easily missed! If you reach a traffic light, you’ve gone too far.) Travel about 1 mile on Rte. 9A, and then turn left onto Rte. 9 at the “T” intersection. Take the first right onto Rte. 10 (Doig St.). Drive 0.5 mile, then turn left onto a dirt road (the paved road curves right). Cross the bridge and turn left. Tim’s Trail parking is 0.7 miles on right. Susan Bacher Memorial Trail parking is another mile farther on right.
Canoes and kayaks can be launched just beyond the bridge over the Poultney River on the left or right, and also on nearby Mary Dodge Rd.
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