Photo: John Sutton

High Vista Nature Preserve

We invite you to find peace and solitude in this diverse hillside forest, high above the shores of Skaneateles Lake.

Natural History

As you amble down the dirt road from your car, you will pass under the overhanging branches of hardwoods–older ones on your right, younger on the left.  Small streams cross the road, along with a larger one that has cut an exquisite hemlock-shaded ravine.

The eastern portion of the preserve has numerous seeps and springs.  Some of the streams originate on the preserve at these springs.

The greatest diversity is found in the older portions of the forest, with many spring wildflowers and ferns and a diverse array of tree species.  A small wetland, full of joe-pye weed, cattails, and boneset, is hidden away in the middle of the forest.


We invite you to find peace and solitude in this diverse hillside forest, high above the shores of Skaneateles Lake.  One hundred years ago, this 139-acre property may have been devoid of trees, but time has changed the landscape.  Bare fields have been replaced – long ago and more recently – by lovely forest, full of songs of birds and carpeted by wildflowers

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) originally owned this preserve, then gave it to the non-profit High Vista, Inc.  When that organization folded, it returned the land to TNC, who gave it to the Finger Lakes Land Trust in 1993.

Public Use

Please see our public use policies for recreational activities on nature preserves.

During the early bowhunting season, from October 1-November 16, bow hunters will be hunting in the area of the preserve without trails lying west of Vincent Hill Road, and the southern two thirds of the preserve lying east of the road will be closed to the public. During this time, the blue-yellow loop trail on the northern third of the preserve lying east of Vincent Hill Road will remain open to the public. During the regular gun and late muzzleloader hunting seasons, from November 17-December 18, the whole preserve will be closed to the public.

Go Finger Lakes logo


Go Finger Lakes is the free web site created by the Finger Lakes Land Trust to promote recreation and conservation. Use the interactive map of 50+ hiking, biking, paddling, skiing, and outdoor adventure destinations across the region!


From Rt. 41 south of Skaneateles, turn onto Vincent Hill Road West, just north of the Cortland/Onondaga County line. After about 1/3 mile, the road bends to the southwest and there is a small parking area on the right-hand side. The preserve is on both the east (left) and west (right) sides of the road. On the east side, there is a large field in the bend of the road that is not part of the preserve.