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Sterling Preserve

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  1. Nature Center
  2. Trails

Sterling Preserve Trails

  • Bluff 2 to 1.0 mile - Along the top of the lake bluff and through the lake shore woodlands, this trail features several vistas of Lake Ontario along its path.
  • Buttonbush 10 to 1 mile - Encircling a lake-created wetland dominated by buttonbush shrubs this trail skirts the sides of two drumlins through hemlock woodlands and traverses the wave created berm along the lake shore.
  • Dogwood 9 to 1.1 mile - Is an old camp road that leads through the heart of the lake shore woodlands and provides a connection to several of the other trails. It is also the only trail open to horseback riding, bicycling and in winter to snowmobiles.
  • Eagle's View 11 to 0.6 mile - Brings you to an eagle's view of Lake Ontario from the top of McIntyre's Bluff. The trail can be accessed from the lake shore, Buttonbush Trail or by parking at the end of McIntyre Road Enjoy the view but please do not climb on the bluffs.
  • Forest Ecology 7 to 0.6 mile- Circles through several contrasting forest types: a conifer plantation, northern hardwood sugar maple, and a beech-hemlock lowland forest on the edge of a buttonbush wetland.
  • Heron 6 to 0.8 mile - Woodlands, meadows, beaver-created wetland, man-made wetland, vernal pools, streams and Lake Ontario are a few of the habitats along this trail. A short spur leads to the 80-acre Beaver Wetland that includes a great blue heron rookery.
  • Lake 3 to 0.75 mile - Loop provides a stroll along the Lake Ontario shoreline, as well as access to the shoreline from the parking lot and the Heron Trail.
  • Lakeview 8 to 0.4 mile - Follows a meandering path around the interpretive center and through native woodland, meadow, and historic formal gardens, contrasted by a section left to nature's own devices. It also includes a deck overlooking Lake Ontario.
  • Meadow 1 to 1.6 mile - Running through meadows, this trail provides access to the birds, butterflies, dragonflies and flora of the different field ecosystems.
  • Two-tail 5 to 0.8 mile - Historic use of this area as a farm homestead has affected the ecology of its woodlands and wetland. The trail covers an abandoned farm site with orchard, evergreen plantation and old fields. Two spurs lead to the Beaver Wetland for a look into the shallow part of the wetland.
  • Vernal Pool 4 to 0.7 mile - Threads through mature woods with vernal pools scattered throughout, some retaining water until midsummer. At the bottom a short spur off the main trail leads to an observation point on the edge of the 80-acre Beaver Wetland.

Trail Rules & Etiquette

  • The Sterling Nature Center is open Dawn to Dusk and is Carry-in/Carry-Out Facility.
  • Please stay on designated trails and respect visitors, wildlife, plants and other features.
  • Dog must be on a leash and under control.
  • Wheeled vehicles are not allowed on the trails or off the roads within the Sterling Nature Center and snowmobiles are only allowed on the designated trail, Dogwood Extension.
  • No picking or collecting of plants, berries, flowers or other features of the site is allowed.
  • No hunting or firearms are allowed within the Sterling Preserve.
  • Swimming is prohibited, lifeguard not provided.
  • During the snow season, all trails are open to cross country skiing, snow shoeing, and hiking.


Exploration, Discovery, Inspiration, Learning and Tranquility Await You in Nature. Take A Hike!
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