Adirondack Nature Trails:
Heaven Hill Trails
The Heaven Hill trail system, which is owned and maintained by the Uihlein Foundation, is a community preserve located just outside of the village of Lake Placid, New York, about a mile beyond the Henry's Woods Trails on Bear Cub Road. The Heaven Hill Farm property encompasses 940 acres.
- The Heaven Hills trails opened to the public in 2015; more trails were added to the system in 2017.
- The trail system features well-designed, easy walking trails traversing a wide variety of habitats, including meadows, old fields, successional forest, hardwood forest, mixed conifer-hardwood forest, and several types of swamps. The hills and open areas provide breathtaking views of the High Peaks.
- These are multi-use trails, so be prepared to encounter runners and mountain bikers, as well as unleashed dogs. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers use the trails in the winter.
The trail map at the entry kiosk currently shows three interconnected trails established by the time the trail system opened in late 2015.
- The trails are open all year.
- There are currently no interpretive signs on the trails.
- Motorized vehicles, horseback riding, hunting, trapping, camping, smoking, and alcohol use are prohibited, as is destruction or removal of plant material.
The five-mile plus trail system provides access to varied habitats.
- Big Field Loop: This 0.9-mile loop begins from the trailhead kiosk. To make a clockwise loop, turn left at the kiosk and head west. The trail passes through a black ash swamp, where wetland-dwelling plants (such as Spotted Touch-Me-Not) can be found. The trail curves northwest, passing through a late successional forest. Look for Blue Cohosh and spring ephemerals growing under Sugar Maple. The trail then crosses a small stream and opens onto a large field, where you may see Bobolinks (who nest in the field), White-tailed Deer, and Woodchucks, as well as butterflies that nectar on the wildflowers in the meadow. Walkers are also treated to views of the High Peaks. The loop turns southward, intersecting with the Bear Cub Loop near the trailhead kiosk.
- Old Orchard Loop: This trail is 1.5 miles long and can be accessed from the Big Field Loop via the Orchard Connector. The Old Orchard Loop weaves through an old field once used to pasture cows. This trail provides opportunities to see birds, plants, and butterflies that flourish in old fields. The open terrain features stunning views of the High Peaks. Upper Orchard, a new trail providing a short side trip a bit further up the hill, was added in 2017.
- Bear Cub Loop: The basic outer loop is 1.5 miles long, with three inner loops you can take along the way to add or subtract from the length of the walk. From the trailhead kiosk, turn right and head east through woodland terrain, including hardwood forest and balsam fir-spruce swampland. On the northern half of the loop, the trail parallels the edge of the Big Field, offering views of the High Peaks to the north. There is also an excellent view of the High Peaks on the southern half of the loop at the intersection of the Bear Cub Loop and Bear Cub 2.
- Sugar Maple: This trail was added in 2017. It can be accessed from the Big Field Loop. From the Big Field Loop (walking in a clockwise direction), take a left at the intersection just after you leave the woods and enter the field. This trail leads you up a hill on the western edge of the field, affording panoramic views of the High Peaks to your east. The trail leads upward and enters a stand of Sugar Maples, providing opportunities to see birds and wildflowers that prefer a hardwood forest habitat. The western side of Sugar Maple connects with Upper Orchard, just before you leave the woods and enter the open area of the Old Orchard.
- Short Drop: This trail was added in 2017. It can be accessed from the Big Field Connector. Walking northeast on the Big Field Connector, take a left at the intersection and climb up a hill with mainly deciduous trees. Short Drop connects with Sugar Maple farther up the hill.
- Maple Drop: This trail was added in 2017. It can be accessed from the Big Field Loop. Walking in a clockwise direction around the Big Field Loop, take a left at the intersection and climb up a hill through a hardwood forest, dominated by Sugar Maples. Maple Drop connects with Sugar Maple farther up the hill.
- Sugar Side: This trail was added in 2017. It can be accessed from the Big Field Loop. Walking in a clockwise direction around the Big Field Loop, take a left at the intersection and climb up a hill. This short trail curves to the west and intersects with Maple Drop.
- Beech Drop: This trail, along with Big Rock and Beech Cut, will be added in the spring of 2018.
Common Bird’s Foot Trefoil
Common Blue Viola
False Solomon’s Seal
Flat-topped White Aster
New England Aster
Pink Lady's Slipper
Queen Anne's Lace
Rose Twisted Stalk
Tall Flat-topped White Aster
Whorled Wood Aster
Birds seen or heard along the Heaven Hill trails include:
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Both the plant and bird lists were generated from field notes and photographs dating mainly from the fall of 2015 (just before the trail system was officially opened) to the fall of 2017. Neither list reflects a comprehensive catalog of all species present. Rather, the lists reflect only those species I have seen (or heard, in the case of birds) and/or photographed to date.