This week’s featured hike is at Conservation Education Manager Heidi Bock’s favorite Public Conservation Area: Harris!
Harris at a Glance
This site is full of fascinating nooks and crannies! While Harris is relatively small, at 76 acres in size and just under two miles of trails, you can explore a hemlock forest, woodland pools, a pond, and cliffside bat habitat. Woodland pools and the bat habitats are especially sensitive to human disturbance, so please be sure to remain on the trails. You can watch a short introductory video about the site here.
Know Before You Go
Harris is located at 105 Bloody Hollow Road. However, there are two Bloody Hollow Roads in Columbia County, so be sure, if you’re putting the address in your GPS system, that you’re heading to the Bloody Hollow Road that intersects with Stonewall Road in Austerlitz. Most of the trails at Harris are hard-packed dirt, with some rocks and tree roots, and there are short flights of stone stairs throughout the site. Harris is predominantly shady, and can be a little cooler than the surrounding Area. The site can also be muddy, so wearing waterproof shoes is a good idea!
The Walk – Around the Pond and Below the Cliffs, Dirt Surface, 1.9 miles total
This walk begins at the parking lot. You’ll enter the site on the Blue Trail. In a few minutes, you’ll reach the intersection with the Yellow Trail on your right – turn right to take this trail.
The Yellow Trail is half a mile in length, and leads along some interesting old stone walls, relics from the days when this property was farmed. Keep on the lookout for temporary woodland pools as you walk through this section of the property. These pools are important habitats for creatures like salamanders and frogs, who lay their eggs in them. The Yellow Trail ends at the pond. Sit quietly on the bench and wait, and you may be treated to a vision of an owl!
Continue past the edge of the pond to the Blue Trail, and make your way back in the direction you came from for 0.2 miles, until you reach a junction with the Red Trail. Take the short red spur trail straight ahead to the cliffs.
These cliffside rocks are habitat for bats, the most common of which are little brown bats. The cliffs are also home to lichens over 100 years old, and provide shelter for porcupines and snakes. Follow the Red Trail for 0.4 miles until you reconnect with the Blue Trail. Follow the Blue Trail back to the parking lot, and don’t forget to tag CLC with #clctrust when you post about your day on Instagram!