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Meadow Loop (1) - 1.6 mile - The grass-covered trail running along the perimeter of the South Meadow provides opportunities to observe birds, butterflies, dragonflies, and the plant life of the meadow and forest edge ecosystems.

Bluff Trail (2) (orange) - 1.0 mile - The trail features several vistas of Lake Ontario from the lake bluff as you travel through the lakeshore woodland. Due to erosion, the trail is currently being updated.

Lake Trail (3) - 0.75 mile - Provides access to the 1.9 miles of Lake Ontario shoreline that are part of the Sterling Nature Center. McIntyre Bluff is a quarter mile to the southwest. A walk to the northeast will ad you to a short path connecting to the Heron Trail. The ever-changing shoreline conditions may make a shoreline walk challenging at times.


Vernal Pool Trail (4) (red) - 0.7 mile - This path threads through mature woods with vernal pools scattered throughout, some retaining water until midsummer. At the bottom, a short loop leads to observation points on the edge of the 80-acre Beaver Wetland.


Two-tail Trail (5) (white) - 0.8 mile - The path covers an abandoned farm site with an orchard, an evergreen plantation, and old fields transitioning into young forests. Spurs lead off to the edge of the Beaver Wetland for views into the shallows where ducks and geese like to hide.


Heron Trail (6) (blue) - 0.8 mile – Our most popular trail traverses diverse habitats. Woodlands, meadows, beaver-created wetlands, man-made wetlands, vernal pools, streams, and Lake Ontario are some of the habitats you will encounter. A short spur leads to viewing platforms on the edge of the 80-acre Beaver Wetland, that includes a great blue heron rookery.


Forest Ecology Trail (7) (green) - 0.6 mile – The trail circles through several contrasting forest types

A conifer plantation, northern hardwood sugar maple, and a beech-hemlock lowland forest on the edge of the Buttonbush Wetland


Lakeview Trail (8) - 0.4 mile – Our most accessible trail takes a meandering path through woods and meadows. The trail includes a deck overlooking Lake Ontario and connects nature to the built environment surrounding the Interpretive Center.


Dogwood Extension (9) - 1.1 mile - This is an old camp road that leads through the heart of the lakeshore woodlands and provides a connection to several of the other trails. It is also the only winter trail open to horseback riding, bicycling, and snowmobiles.


Buttonbush Trail (10) - 1 mile – The trail encircles a lake-created wetland dominated by buttonbush shrubs. This trail skirts the sides of two drumlins through hemlock woodlands and traverses the wave-created berm along the lakeshore. The ever-changing shoreline conditions may sometimes make the lakeshore return challenging or even impassable.


Eagle’s View Trail (11) - 0.6 mile – The trail brings you to an eagle’s view of Lake Ontario from the top of McIntyre’s Bluff. The trail can be accessed from the lakeshore, Buttonbush Trail, or by parking at the end of McIntyre Rd. Enjoy the view. Please do not climb on the bluffs.


Upland Path (12) (yellow) - 0.5 mile – A connecting trail providing an upland return for the Buttonbush Trail to the Meadow Loop. The path takes you up the western slope of a drumlin to an old farm road through open woodlands and along a hemlock wood to the Meadow Loop.


Sterling Creek Blue Way Trail - Enter Sterling Creek at our Farden Rd Canoe Launch. Going downstream about 5.5 miles will bring you to the Pond at Fair Haven Beach State Park. This is a flat-water paddle through forested streams and cattail marsh. Going upstream is the all-forested stream, about 1.5 miles, which brings you to a shallow, fast, moving, non-navigable section where you can turn around for your return trip.



Trial Rules and Etiquette


                                    Dogs must be on a leash and under control; please clean up after your pet and dispose of refuse properly.


Wheeled vehicles are NOT allowed on trails, and snowmobiles are only allowed on the designated trail.


NO picking or collecting of plants, berries, flowers, fungi, or other features.


NO hunting or firearms are allowed within the Sterling Preserve.


Swimming is prohibited, and lifeguards are not provided.


Taking photos and making memories is encouraged.

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