Photo: Bill Hecht

Owasco Bluffs Nature Preserve

Overlooking the eastern shore of Owasco Lake, the 74-acre Owasco Bluffs Nature Preserve protects over 1,100 feet of undeveloped, pristine shoreline.  It is the first Finger Lakes Land Trust preserve in the Owasco Lake watershed, and only the third publicly accessible conservation area on the lake itself.

Natural History

The preserve features forested bluffs overlooking the lake as well as wetlands, meadows, and a rugged gorge. A one-mile trail begins off of Sam Adams Lane and guides visitors through fields and forests, ending at a wooded hillside with spectacular lake views.

In partnership with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) completed a wetland restoration project in the upper portion of the preserve. Construction of these wetlands enhances the protection of Owasco Lake’s water quality by filtering runoff to the lake. Efforts were also made to improve wildlife habitat by removing invasive plant species such as buckthorn and honeysuckle, and by planting native tree species.

All dogs must be on a leash and kept in full control by their owners. Please do not allow your dog to chase wildlife or intimidate other visitors.

Recent History

The property was originally purchased in 2018 from Dr. Joseph Karpinski, a well-known and celebrated surgeon from Auburn who passed away in 2020. FLLT is grateful to NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historical Preservation, Gallogly Family Foundation, Fred L. Emerson Foundation, and the many funders and individual donors whose important support made this project possible. FLLT is thrilled to open its first conservation area in the Owasco Lake watershed to the public.

Land Acknowledgment

The Finger Lakes Land Trust recognizes that our nature preserves exist on the homeland of the Haudenosaunee. We hope to honor indigenous peoples’ ongoing relationship with the land by conserving wild places forever.

Public Use

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

Go Finger Lakes

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 over 50 hiking, biking, paddling, skiing, and outdoor adventure destinations across the region!



From Auburn, follow NY State Route 38A south for approx. 6 miles. Turn right onto Rockefeller Road and continue south for approx. 2 miles. Turn right onto Sam Adams Lane to find the preserve entrance on the right.

From Moravia, follow North Main Street/Rockefeller Road for 7.75 miles. Turn left onto Sam Adams Road and follow for approx. 0.5 mile. At the bend in the road, continue onto Sam Adams Lane for one mile to find the preserve entrance on the left.