Photo: Matt Champlin

Land Trust Adds One-Mile Hiking Trail to Network of Conserved Lands Overlooking Skaneateles Lake

The Finger Lakes Land Trust formally opened a new one-mile hiking trail connecting its High Vista Nature Preserve to its Hinchcliff Family Preserve near the south end of Skaneateles Lake. The trail is located in a scenic area of steep forested hillsides which play a crucial role in protecting the water quality of the lake.

In July 2020, the FLLT purchased 75 wooded acres in Cortland and Onondaga counties, linking the two existing nature preserves, just west of State Route 41. With this latest acquisition, the organization has created a 2.25 mile-long corridor of conserved lands overlooking the eastern shore of Skaneateles Lake.

A ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the new trail

Nature Preserve Manager Jason Gorman and Skaneateles residents Tom Fairhurst & Patty Weisse cut a ribbon at the new trail in August.

The woodland trail can now be accessed from a High Vista Preserve trailhead on Vincent Hill Road in the town of Scott, or from within the Hinchcliff Preserve in the town of Spafford. The trail is open during daylight hours for quiet nature observation and low-impact recreation such as hiking, trail running, and snowshoeing. With the addition of the connector trail, ambitious hikers can now travel over 4.5 miles between the two preserves.

Ongoing efforts by the FLLT focus on securing hillsides in this area, known as the Skaneateles Highlands. Its extensive upland forest provides habitat for a diversity of birds and also prevents erosion and nutrient loading in the lake. Other protected lands in the area include Carpenter Falls State Unique Area and the FLLT’s Bahar Nature Preserve and Cora Kampfe Dickinson Conservation Area.

The organization is actively fundraising to provide for long-term stewardship of this land. To make a gift, please contact Senior Director Kelly Makosch at (607) 275-9487 or Watch a beautiful aerial video highlighting the property at