Keleher Preserve Walking Tour
Keleher Preserve is the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy’s largest nature preserve! Use this walking tour, created by Preserve Steward Bob Frederick, with the color-coded trail map to navigate the many habitats in this beautiful preserve. Visit the Keleher Nature Preserve webpage for history, ecology, and a map of the trail system.
From the trail head parking area on Gulf Road, you will walk 100 yards to your first juncture post indicating the start of the white trails (west and east). The white trail is the outer loop of the trail system and offers easy to moderate terrain crossing bridges and old farming roads and taking you along ridges and ravines for a total of 4 miles. The trails are usually dry, but during rainy periods and spring thaws, these trails can generate some pooling of water so boots are recommended at all times of the year.
The trail system offers a large white loop trail that connects you to three internal trails (orange, green, blue) that criss-cross in the middle of the outer loop with a small red “rim” trail at the most northern section of the white trail at the America Juncture post. The white (west) section offers a milder scenic route compared to the white (east) trail that winds you though greater elevation changes and deeper wooded areas.
If you take a left at the first (southern) juncture post from the parking area, you will be on the white (west) trail that offers a very gradual and open walk along a soft mossy path through a forest canopy of hemlock and birch trees. This trail crosses numerous old farming and logging roads that will remind you of the rich history of this property which was part of a thriving farming community. Please avoid walking on these roads to prevent you from entering private property and becoming lost since these routes are not marked.
After hiking a mile you will walk up a mild switch back and within 200 yards you will come to a second (western) juncture post that connects you to two internal trails (orange and green) that will bring you to different sections of the white (east) trail. You also can continue traveling on the white (west) trail by taking a left and following the white markers along a ridge path that will connect you to the red, white (east) and blue trails at the America (northern) juncture post.
If you wish to return to the parking lot at the western juncture post, you can either turn around and return on the white (west) trail or take the orange trail which offers a slightly steeper but quicker way back to the parking area. This is a fun route back using multiple switch backs. You will connect with the white (east) trail and by taking a right will bring you back to the parking area.
If you take the green trail at the western juncture point, you will walk along a fairly level path taking you through forest and a short open area of ground cover that volunteers cleared a path to clarify the route. Once you cross the small open grove, you will come to the eastern juncture post that connects you to the white (east) and blue trails. If you wish to return to the parking area at this point, take a right and follow the white (east) trail for about three quarters of a mile back to the parking area. If you wish to continue to the northern section of the trail system, you have two options. The blue trail offers a relaxing half mile path to the America (northern) juncture post or by taking a left on the white (east) trail, you will hike a mile of hilly terrain that places you in the most remote section of the preserve offering a deeper forest experience. This route will come to an intersection that, by continuing either way, will bring you to the America (northern) juncture post in a quarter mile. The red trail offers ridge views and a bench to relax and have a snack while the white trail will weave you up an incline of young tree growth.
Once at the America (northern) juncture post, you have various ways to return to the parking area. (1) Follow the blue trail that connects to white (east) | 1.25 miles; (2) Follow the white (west) trail all the way back | 1.75 miles; or (3) Follow the white (west) trail to the orange trail to the white (east) trail | 1.3 miles.
Of course, you can start your journey by hiking the white (east) trail that will bring you to the first bridge which has a series of tubes attached to the right-hand rail; the tubes are actually a tuned musical instrument which you can play by using the attached flip flop. This bridge instrument is the invention of a MHLC volunteer and can be found at other MHLC preserves. The white (east) trail connects you with the orange, blue, red and white (west) trails.
All paths will bring you through beautiful trees, small streams and bridges, ridges and look outs, and opportunities to see deer, owls, hawks, porcupines, and an occasional horse. Since this preserve is large enough to offer different recreational options, you should keep your eyes and ears open for mountain bikers, horseback riders and cross country skiers. NOTE: Even though this preserve is not open to motorized vehicles, you may come across one by surprise. Please report any sightings to MHLC by using the contact information at the kiosk in the parking area.
I hope you enjoy your time at Keleher and if you love it as much as I do, please contact MHLC to volunteer some time to help maintain it for others to enjoy. – Bob Frederick, Preserve Steward. Learn more about Bob and his volunteer work with MHLC on the MHLC blog.