Photo: Rob Howard

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.

Recent History

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.

With the purchase of 75 contiguous acres in 2020, the preserve now connects to the Land Trust’s Hinchcliff Family Preserve which neighbors to the north.  A new one-mile trail built by staff and volunteers can be accessed from a High Vista Preserve trailhead on Vincent Hill Road, or from the loop trail near the scenic overlook at the Hinchcliff Preserve. With the 75-acre addition, the organization has created a 2.25-mile-long corridor of conserved lands overlooking the eastern shore of Skaneateles Lake.

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.

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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.