Schiff Nature & McVickers Brook Preserves
Less than 30 minutes from our home, and nestled within an area of very expensive homes, these two adjacent preserves include 14 miles of trails within 450 acres and offer a nice variety of environments. There are no views, nor huge lakes, but some decent climbs and a lot of beauty. In real-time, we put together a wonderful, varied barbell-shaped hike using this map. For those interested, it's a long, wordy description because we covered so many trails (mostly in relatively short sections).

We first took the white trail from the visitor's center to the blue upon which we turned left and headed SW to the lean-to at Lookout Point. Next we headed north (and up, over a hill on a good climb) on red, down to the Great Meadow, my favorite part of the preserve where its field of wildflowers is home to an abudance of butterflies and birds. Here we took white north to red upon which we continued north all the way to the intersection of yellow, red, and purple (on the way, though, we took a small spur on green to the site of a Revolutionary War Encampment). At the multi-trail intersection we continued NW on purple, on another good climb, passing the Woodbadge Lodge where we picked up the white-blazed Franklin-Parker trail which took us east into the McVickers Brook Preserve.

Along the way we made a right on an unmarked trail and took that to yellow, which we then took a bit east, picking up another unmarked trail going south which we took all the way to its intersection with the FP trail just before the orange trail. Turning right on the orange trail we saw crayfish and frogs in the lovely South Conservation Pond, but nothing in the North Conversation Pond at its northern intersection of orange and yellow. Turning left on yellow we visited the site marked "Historic Site" on the map, the remaining foundation of what appears to have been a house. We continued west on yellow to red, retracing that back south to the white Great Meadow trail which we took counter-clockwise to blue. Finally we took blue (which was a paved road) NE, then SW back to the visitor's center.

Total distance hiked today was 5.3 miles in 3 hours.

(Click on the thumbnail to bring up a bigger image in a pop-up window)

The colorful visitor's center

Native Plant Garden

Stairway to nowhere

Climbing on white

Bat house in Great Meadow

Pole house

Blue heading SW

Looking NE on blue


Old faucet on blue

Lean-to at Lookout Point

[photo by Laura]

Near the lean-to

Climbing on red

Partial views

Lovely wet grass after a rain

Continuing on red

View to lovely Great Meadow

Road along western side

Wildflowers and bird houses

Views of ...

... Great Meadow


Great Meadow

White trail blaze

Vines on red

Washington's Outpost on green

View south on red

View east on yellow

Climbing on purple

Woodbadge Lodge

Bathouse on lodge

Huge fire ring at lodge

Heading east on Franklin-Parker

Vines on F-P

Stream separating ...

... the two preserves

[photo by Laura]

Bridge over stream


Ferns on orange

South Conservation Pond

Huge frog


Small crayfish in pond

Larger crayfish

Biggest one staring at us

Another frog

View of pond from western bank

More ferns on orange climb


North Conservation Pond

Bird house in pond

Historic site

Probably was a house

Old growth on yellow

Dan Beard's Cabin

Back to ...

... Great Meadow

Great Spangled Fritillary

Monarch butterfly

Black Swallowtail

Unique blaze placement!

Remains on blue

Bridge arch on blue

Photographs and content copyright © Dan Balogh
Web design by Dan Balogh