Adirondack Nature Trails:
John Brown Farm Trails
The John Brown Farm State Historic Site, run by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, provides opportunities to study birds, plants, and butterflies that flourish in old fields, meadows, mixed forest, and hardwood forest.
The historic site was created as a park to showcase the home and grave of abolitionist John Brown.
- Visitors can get an excellent guided tour of the John Brown farmhouse (furnished with period belongings) for $2.
- Other historical attractions include an old barn with an informative video on the Underground Railroad and exhibits highlighting the abolition movement.
- The upper story of the old barn hosts the Dreaming of Timbuctoo exhibit, honoring 19th century New York abolitionists and the lives of black homesteaders in the Adirondacks.
The main attractions for naturalists are the three interconnected walking paths.
- The trails are open all year.
- There are no nature-related interpretive signs on the trails.
- Although the trail rules call for dogs to be kept on leash, expect to encounter numerous unleashed dogs, as the open meadows are a popular spot for local dog lovers to exercise their pets.
The three trails, plus the unmarked connectors, provide access to varied habitats.
- Potato Field Loop: This trail is 1.8 miles long and begins near the old barn. The trail is a loop that traverses a small meadow (normally kept mowed), mixed wood forest, deciduous forest, and a series of early successional forests. The unmarked connecting trails provide access to sporadically mowed meadows, where a different set of wildflowers and wildlife flourish.
- Maple Grove Trail: This 0.3 loop off the Potato Field Loop climbs through a maple forest, before looping back into the Potato Field Loop. Listen for the birds who make their homes in deciduous woods, such as Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Ovenbird, and Red-eyed Vireo.
- Ski Jump Trail: This 0.8 mile loop is accessed by the small pond between the old barn and the farm house. It skirts the fields, wending through mixed woods forests and then cuts through an old field, ending at an unpaved parking lot on John Brown Road. Look for Brown Thrashers in the old fields on the north end of the trail, as well as a host of old field wildflowers and shrubs in the more recently mowed old fields closer to the parking area.
Wildflowers and flowering shrubs seen along the John Brown Farm trails include:
Common Blue Violet
Northern Wild Raisin
Queen Anne's Lace
Birds seen or heard along the John Brown Farm trails include:
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Great Crested Flycatcher
- The plant list was generated from a series of field notes and photographs dating back to 2013.
- The bird list was generated from field notes, photographs, and eBird checklists (John Brown Rd., Lake Placid, Essex Country, New York)