Cornwall Preserve

Photo: FLLT

Ocean-like breezes!

A preserve that reminds us that the best way to enjoy nature is to slow down...

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Williamson, NY

43.279494, -77.192081 43.28344, -77.186683

Trail Information

Total Trail Length: 1.5 mi.




Maintained By

The Genesee Land Trust


Consult the administrator listed above for authoritative information about this location.  Trail conditions change with weather and other factors.  You are responsible for your own safety.  The Finger Lakes Land Trust does not assume responsibility for the condition of trails or any difficulties or hazards that you may encounter in the outdoors.  Be safe!  Safety and disclaimers.

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Along the southern shore of Lake Ontario, nestled between a cemetery and residential housing, is a 77-acre nature preserve that offers delightful examples of the natural and agrarian history of the region. Amongst the variety of natural habitats, there is a smattering of order bestowed by mowed paths, information kiosks, benches, fences, sections of boardwalk, active apple and peach orchards, and small ponds. But everywhere nature is overflowing and abundant. The term “gem” pops into mind when reflecting on it and at every turn the hand of nature intertwined with the thoughtful stewardship of the Genesee Land Trust can be felt.

The total trail system is roughly 1.5 miles, so you can easily visit each section of the preserve in a short single trip, but this is a preserve that reminds us that the best way to enjoy nature is to slow down. Linger while observing with all your senses and you will be treated to a symphony of natural experiences.

Along the Lake Bluff Trail, the ocean-like breezes off Lake Ontario’s vast expanse of water will whip past while birds perform aerial acrobatics overhead. When the breeze relents, the fragrance of wildflowers, the buzzing of pollinators, the loping flight of butterflies, and the zoom of dragonflies will fill your senses while amongst the rolling open fields of the Cass Meadow Trail. A short jaunt away, the lake can still be heard lapping on the rocky shores along the Woods Trail as it winds through a copse of towering beech, oak, hemlock, and maples. The high canopy here offers a shady interlude from the mostly open areas of the preserve. Finally, explore wetlands and ponds interspersed with thick shrubs along the Throop Trail. This new niche is traversed along a winding boardwalk where the atmosphere grows humid and birds chatter from within the dense thicket of shrubs. Again, this is all within a small plot of land, so take it slow and the sights, sounds, and aromas of this wild garden-like setting will provide ample reward.

The preserve is dotted with benches and lookouts, ideal places to linger and ponder the marvel of Lake Ontario. Easily mistaken for a vast ocean, Lake Ontario fills the horizon without an opposing shoreline in sight. You would have to be 80 feet up to see the opposing shore at its narrowest point of 54 miles. When measured by surface area, it is the 14th largest freshwater lake in the world but the smallest of the five Great Lakes at 7,340 square miles. By volume, it is the 10th largest in the world and exceeds Lake Erie by a factor of four with an average depth of 283 feet and a maximum depth of 800 feet. And if that is not enough to boggle the mind, consider that the water from every Great Lake, an estimated 6 quadrillion gallons, flows through Lake Ontario on its way to the Atlantic Ocean. And the journey through Lake Ontario can take as much as 6 years!

Purchased by the Genesee Land Trust from the Cornwall Family, its value as a natural resource is compounded by its usefulness as a place to learn about and enjoy the natural world. It has a brilliant citizen science photo-sharing site and features ongoing habitat restoration projects with placards and kiosks dotted across the preserve for context.

Please note that the preserve is closed on Wednesdays when the orchard is actively managed.

Meet the “supercool” wood frog… natural wonder!

Our state amphibian!