Photo: Bill Hecht

Canandaigua Vista Nature Preserve

We invite you to explore Canandaigua Vista, 90 acres of mature forests and open meadows with expansive views of Canandaigua Lake and the hills beyond.

Natural History

Leave the world behind and follow the trail through fields, oak-hickory forests, and past the head of Barnes Gully—a deep gorge that flows to nearby Onanda Park. Enjoy glimpses of Canandaigua Lake from multiple vista points, each with a handmade bench carved from locally harvested timber.

On a brisk spring evening, look for the sight of the American Woodcock whose stunning breeding display involves a series of upward spirals to reach a height of 200-350 feet in the air, producing a harmonious twittering sound as he goes. Various amphibians and aquatic life can also be found in a small pond tucked into the southeast corner of the preserve.

Just a short drive from downtown Canandaigua, the preserve offers visitors respite from the stresses of everyday life, an enjoyable one-mile loop trail, and wildlife viewing opportunities close to home.

History

In 2019, the Land Trust launched an extensive fundraising campaign to purchase the 90 acres and create the preserve. These scenic hillsides were owned by two sisters, Duannah Barnum and Suzie Underhill, whose family once managed the land as a dairy farm. For many years, an existing trail network was maintained by neighbor Marty Dodge—a retired Finger Lakes Community College conservation instructor who has been a strong advocate for conserving the property. After securing the land in 2020, Land Trust staff worked with volunteers and contractors to improve the trail system and install an interpretive kiosk and parking area.

Many supporters contributed generously to this project. The Land Trust wishes to thank the Town of Canandaigua, whose important, early support made it possible for the Land Trust to purchase this mix of woods and fields. We are also very grateful for lead gifts from William Eggers and Deborah McLean, Meg and Glenn Reed, the Terwilliger Family, the Robert F. Schumann Foundation, Scott Conking and Thomas Wall, The Marilyn Lichtman Foundation, Wade and Joscelyne Sarkis, Marty and Cathy Gardner, an anonymous donor, and a gift made in memory of Mac Hargrave.

Public Use

During the full hunting season, from October 1- December 21, bow hunters will be hunting on the preserve in locations that are at least 150 feet from the marked hiking trail, and the trail will remain open to the public during that time. Hikers must stay on the marked hiking trail at all times. Hunters will be allowed to hunt with bow only throughout the regular bow season, as well as through the regular gun season and late bow/muzzle-loader hunting season.

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

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SEE MORE PRESERVES ON GOFINGERLAKES.ORG

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!

Directions

From Canandaigua, take Bristol Street to State Route 21 South for approx. 6 miles. Turn right onto Jones Road and drive one half-mile to find the parking area on the left.