Dutchess County, Pawling, NY
1,060 acres


From NYC, go north on I-684 to the end, then on Route 22, to Pawling, about 55 miles. Continue another 2.5 miles north; turn east (right) on North Quaker Hill Road (Route 68). Bear right and continue for 1.4 miles(.3 miles bear right, 1.4 miles in all), then make a left onto Quaker Lake Road. Go 1.5 miles to a small parking lot on the left. The north parking area is 1.4 miles farther, also on the left.


Pawling is located off Route 22. Between Patterson and Interstate 90 (82 miles), the topography is very different from that to the south on Route 22 (the Hudson Highlands). This area is part of a finger projection southward off the Great Valley. Route 22 travels through a system of valleys in an area of carbonate rocks. The adjacent hills are held up by crumpled schists (these originating from the metamorphism of shales and graywackes). Between Patterson and Millerton, there are roadcuts revealing the greenish-gray Cambrian-Ordovician Stockbridge marble. Also seen are examples of dark schists. (Van Diver 1985:104)

Quaker Lake is located just on the west side of Hammersly Ridge (1053 feet) of the New England Upland.  It lies at the foot of the Berkshire Mountains.  The preserve borders Quaker Lake on the north, west, and south side of Quaker Lake.

The Hammersly Ridge is composed of mica schist (a metamorphosed material of micas, quartz, and feldspars).   The light colored veins are quartz.  The mica schist is part of the Manhattan schist formation from Manhattan northwest.   

The hemlock ravine is a great place for ferns because the limestone in the mica schist weathers out into the soil.


1728  --  settlers first arrive in Pawling, when the area was known as the Beekman Patent.

1749  --  Quaker Meeting House built on Quaker Hill.

1750  --  sheep and cattle were farmed on the reserve's land. Farming continued on the land into the 1930s.

fall of 1778  --  George Washington stayed here waiting for the British to attack either Boston or West Point. The Quaker Meeting House became a hospital for soldiers in the Revolutionary War.

1849  --  The arrival of the railroad aides the farming and summer resort industries.

during World War II  --  the Holiday Hills YMCA and Trinity Pawling School converted into a Rest and Recuperation Center for wounded soldiers.

The reserve lands near Quaker Lake (Lake Hammersley) were saved from a developer by famous Pawling resident journalist Lowell Thomas. Later, in 1958, the local families who then owned the property, donated it to The Nature Conservancy, a fledgling land conservation organization at that time, through their organization, Akin Hall.

in the southwest section, haying on the field of the reserves continued into the 1970s.

Today   ---  the Town of Pawling is the home of the Foundation for Christian Living, founded by Dr. and Mrs. Norman Vincent Peale. Famous residents of Pawling have included Governor Thomas Dewey, Edward R. Murrow, and Lowell Thomas. (Info from Ginnel Real Estate website.)

Red fox, coyotes, mink, swamps, meadows, oak woodlands, and 77 species of birds. All of this and more just an hour and a half from one of the largest cities in North America. Hard to believe, but one can see it all at the 1,060-acre Pawling Nature Reserve, the Chapter's largest preserve. Located in the towns of Pawling and Dover, the Pawling Nature Reserve was donated to The Nature Conservancy by the Akin Hall Association, a local non-profit philanthropic organization, in 1958.

The reserve encompasses almost the entire 1,053' high Hammersly Ridge located just north of the village of Pawling. The diversity of the reserve landscape is due to the topography of this ridge, as well as to the land use history. The ridge rises above Route 22 and contains many small scale ridges, sheer cliffs, and rock talus slopes. Stone walls and foundations are found around the reserve as the area was used for farming and logging as far back as 1750.

The extensive trail system leads the visitor through this remarkably diverse landscape. Soon after entering the main entrance, one sees a beautiful gorge through which Duell Hollow Brook cascades. There are two outstanding hemlock ravines in the preserve and a rocky vista in the northeast section of the reserve provides an excellent view of the Harlem Valley. Several small, wooded swamp ponds occur along the ridge which serve as breeding sites for wood frogs, spring peepers, and salamanders in early spring. Later they are bright with flowers of the swamp azalea, highbush blueberry and winterberry.

The array of different habitats provide viewing opportunities for a variety of plant and animal life. At least 77 bird species have been found to use the reserve for nesting or for foraging as part of their home range, including hermit thrush, black-throated green warbler, winter wren, blue-gray gnatcatcher, acadian flycatcher, and red-breasted nuthatch. The lucky visitor may also catch a glimpse of some of the reserve's mammal population, including red fox, deer, coyote, beaver and weasels.

The reserve is also home to several rare species, including Devil's Bit, soapwort gentian, yellow wild flax, scarlet Indian-paintbrush, and Bicknell's sedge.

The Nature Conservancy is ably assisted by the Pawling Nature Reserve Committee in the management and oversight of the reserve. The committee is a group of local concerned residents who clear trails, remove exotic species, build bridges and check visitor registers.

If you are interested in exploring this rich and varied ecosystem, there are five trailheads and an extensive trail system that includes the Appalachian Trail which runs from the southwest corner to the northeast corner.

Directions: traveling north on Route 22, continue past fork where Route 55 joins Route 22. At Route 68, turn right. Continue for about one mile and turn left onto Quaker Lake Road. Proceed approximately one mile to parking area.


The Appalachian Trail crosses the reserve from the southwest and exits on the northeast.   The other trails connect to this.

The yellow trail at the main entrance off Quaker Lake Road, the most popular, leads to a striking gorge with cascading waterfalls and majestic hemlocks. You can take other trails that go across wetlands, where beaver may be seen, bobolinks and bluebirds. The Appalachian Trail is accessed at Hurd's Corners Road and crosses the Reserve's wooded high ridge.

A possible circular walk is to take the yellow trail northwest.  Start the circular walk at the intersection with the red trail at the 5:30 position on the clock.  Turn right on the red trail (northeast/north) that will come out onto the Appalachian Trail. Then make a left turn (southwest) onto this white Appalachian Trail.  Left turn (southeast) on the yellow trail that will take you back to the intersection with the red trail where you started the circular walk at the 5:30 position.  Continue on the yellow trail southeast back to the parking lot.  


deciduous forest, hemlock gorge, swamps, fields, wet meadows, fern glens

The Great Swamp booklet talks about the Hammersley Ridge area. It includes north Quaker Hill, including the Tracy Road area and Purgatory Hill. The Pawling Nature Reserve harbors rare plants including devil's bit and yellow wild flax, as well as the rare rich sloping fen. Many of the west facing steep slopes of the Reserve, Deuel Hollow, and the surrounding area feature a northern microclimate that is dominated by black birch, yellow birch, and hemlock. Upper elevations contain chestnut oak, mountain laurel and alder.


Dr. Patrick L. Cooney/Dr. William F. Standaert

Acer pensylvanicum (goose-foot maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Castanea dentata (American chestnut)
Crataegus sp. (hawthorn)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Ostrya virginiana (eastern ho hornbeam)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus coccinea (scarlet oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Shrubs and sub-shrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Cephalanthus occidentalis (buttonbush) (there is a buttonbush swamp here)
Chimaphila maculata (spotted wintergreen) 7/19/97
Cornus racemosa (gray-stemmed dogwood)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Gaultheria procumbens (checkerberry or teaberry) 7/19/97
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush) 4/14/02 5/1/95
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Rhamnus cathartica (common buckthorn)
Rhododendron periclymenoides (pinxter flower)
Ribes sativum (garden currant)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus hispidus (swamp dewberry)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus sp. (black berry)
Sambucus canadensis (elderberry)
Spiraea alba var. latifolia (meadowsweet)
Vaccinium angustifolium (low bush blueberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)
Vaccinium stamineum (deerberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum)
Viburnum (hobblebush)
Xanthorhiza simplicissima (yellow root) 4/14/02

Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis riparia (river bank grape)

Actaea alba (doll's eyes)
Agrimonia sp. (agrimony)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) 5/1/95 7/18/96 7/19/97
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Antennaria plantaginifolia (plantain-leaved pussy toes)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)
Arisaema triphyllum (jack in the pulpit)
Arctium lappa (great burdock)
Asarum canadense (wild ginger)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed) 7/19/97
Aster divaricatus (white wood aster)
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress)
Bidens sp. (beggar ticks)
Boehmeria cylindrica (false nettle) 7/19/97
Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed)
Cardamine diphylla (broad-leaved toothwort) 5/1/95
Castilleja coccinea (painted cup) TNC
Chamaelirium luteum (devil's bit) TNC
Chelidonium majus (celandine) 7/18/96
Chelone glabra (white turtlehead)
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade) 7/18/96
Coptis trifolia (golden thread)
Cypripedium acaule (pink lady's slipper)
Epipactis helleborine (helleborine orchid)
Erigeron annuus (annual fleabane) 7/19/97
Erigeron strigosus (lesser daisy fleabane) 7/19/97
Erythronium americanum (trout lily)
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot) 7/19/97
Galinsoga quadriradiata (common quickweed) 7/19/97
Galium aparine (cleavers)
Galium sp. (bedstraw)
Gentiana saponaria (soapwort gentian) TNC
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)
Geum canadense (white avens) 7/18/96 7/19/97
Glechoma hederacea (gill-over-the-ground) 4/14/02
Goodyera pubescens (downy rattlesnake plantain)
Helianthus sp. (sunflower) 7/19/97
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily) 7/18/96 7/19/97
Heuchera americana (alum root)
Hydrocotyle americana (marsh pennywort) 7/19/97
Hypericum punctatum (spotted St. Johnswort) 7/19/97
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed) 7/19/97
Iris sp. (blue or yellow flag)
Lapsana communis (nipplewort) 7/18/96 7/19/97
Lespedeza hirta (hairy bush clover?)
Lespedeza sp. (bush clover)
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Medeola virginiana (Indian cucumber root)
Melampyrum lineare (cow wheat) 7/19/97
Mimulus ringens (monkey flower) 7/19/97
Mitella diphylla (mitrewort)
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe) 7/19/97
Oxalis stricta (yellow wood sorrel) 7/19/97
Plantago major (common plantain) 7/19/97
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Polygonatum biflorum (true Solomon's seal)
Polygonatum pubescens (hairy true Solomon's seal)
Polygonum arenastrum (common knotweed)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose knotweed)
Polygonum sagittatum (arrow-leaved tearthumb)
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed or Virginia knotweed)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)
Prenanthes altissima (tall lettuce)
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal) 7/18/96 7/19/97
Ranunculus acris (tall buttercup) 7/19/97
Rumex obtusifolius (broad-leaved dock)
Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot) 5/1/95
Sanicula canadensis (black snakeroot) 7/19/97
Satureja vulgaris (wild basil) 7/18/96 7/19/97
Senecio obovatus (running groundsel)
Senecio vulgaris (golden ragwort) 7/19/97
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal spring)
Solidago caesia (blue-stem goldenrod)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion)
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue) 7/19/97
Trientalis borealis (starflower)
Trillium erectum (red trillium) 5/1/95
Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot) 4/14/02
Urtica dioica (stinging nettle)
Urtica dioica v. procera (tall nettle)
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell)
Viola conspersa (wood violet)
Viola palmata (wood violet)
Viola pubescens (forest violet)
Viola sp. (white violet)
Zizia aurea (golden alexanders)
(yellow wild flax) TNC
penny royal?

Rushes and Sedges:
Carex bicknellii (Bicknell's sedge) TNC
Carex grayi? (gray's sedge?)
Carex laxiflora (sedge)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)
Luzula multiflora (wood rush)
Scirpus atrovirens (dark-green bulrush)
Scirpus cyperinus (woolly grass bulrush)

Bromus inermis (smooth brome grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Elytrigia repens (quack grass)
Glyceria striata (glyceria grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Poa annua (annual blue grass)
Poa compressa (flat stem blue grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Lycopodium lucidulum (shining clubmoss)
Adiantum pedatum (maidenhair fern)
Asplenium filix-femina (ladies fern)
Asplenium rhizophyllum (walking fern)
Asplenium trichomanes (maidenhair spleenwort)
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Athyrium thelypteroides (silvery spleenwort)
Botrychium virginianum (rattlesnake fern)
Cystopteris bulbifera (bulblet fragile fern)
Cystopteris fragilis (fragile fern)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Dryopteris carthusiana (spinulose wood fern)
Dryopteris cristata (crested wood fern)
Dryopteris intermedia (fancy wood fern)
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal wood fern)
Matteuccia struthiopteris (ostrich fern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Osmunda claytoniana (interrupted fern)
Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
Polypodium appalachianum (Appalachian rock cap fern)
Polypodium virginianum (rock cap fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)
Thelypteris palustris (marsh fern)

Leucobryum glaucum (moss)
Fomes fomentarius (horsehoof fungus)