Friday, July 6, 2018

Hiking Chaumont Barrens Preserve

Hiking Chaumont Barrens Preserve
#1000islands #ThousandIslands

Just when we thought we have covered all of the best hiking spots in the area, we discovered the Chaumont Barrens Preserve Nature Trail.  In fact, this trail is owned and maintained by the world-renowned Nature Conservancy.  That caught our attention as did their description of the property: “Chaumont Barrens Preserve is one of the last and finest examples of alvar grasslands in the world, and is a link in the chain of North American alvars forming an arc from Jefferson County through Ontario, and all the way to northern Michigan.” They call the preserve trail a “Mosaic of rare habitats and unique geology” (see link below for trailmap).  We of course had to go see it for ourselves and we discovered there was beyond our expectations!
First, how to get there. The preserve is only about 10 minutes south of Clayton. From Clayton take Rt 12 to Depauville. Take a right across from the gas station and then a quick left onto Depauville Road (Rt 125). Go about three miles then take a right onto VanAlstyne Rd.  There is a parking area a little over a mile ahead on the right.
After following a short path to the kiosk, be sure to grab a brochure that allows you to do a self-guided tour around an approximately 2-mile loop. There are 12 little markers along the well worn trail that coincide with the information on the brochure (we definitely recommend doing this on your first visit). The Chaumont Barrens Preserve Trail is not only an amazing trip through a wide variety of terrains but is also a trip back into the ancient and earliest geological history of the area.
In fact, on one of the first stops is a bedrock with fossils of primitive marine animals, such as cephalopods, that lived in the ocean. This stop is called the cancerous pavement barrens.
Other stops on the Trail map include fissures, rubble barren, deciduous limestone woodland, coniferous limestone woodland, and Alvar grassland. You could say that is a trail with something for everyone.

We were pretty much awed with the entire hike. It was an amazing experience and one we most highly recommend to our fellow nature hikers. There is only one caution we would give. We did hear of one case of a couple who wandered off the trail and getting lost. The trail is very well marked but it is essential to consciously stay on it, and not head off to explore uncharted territory (or to follow unmarked paths or deer trails).

We will most definitely be going back to the Chaumont Barrens Preserve.

Be sure to see...
Hiking the Thousand Islands...Introduction

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Abbé Picquet Trail

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Carnegie Bay Trail

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Cerow Recreation Park Trail

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Chaumont Barrens Preserve

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Chippewa Bay Preserve Trail

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Coyote Flats State Forest

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Downybrook Nature Reserve 

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Foster Blake Woods Preserve

Hiking the Thousand Islands...French Creek WMA 

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Grand Lake Reserve

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Grass Point State Park

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Jacques Cartier State Park

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Kanik Nature Trail

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Keewaydin State Park

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Lonesome Bay State Forest

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Macsherry Trail

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Maple City Trail

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Morgan Island

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Morristown Red Barn Preserve

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Otter Creek

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Pulpit Rock State Forest

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Red Lake Indian River Trail 

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Redwood Hill Preserve

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Rock Ridge Trail 

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Sissy Danforth Rivergate Trail

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Wellesley Island State Park

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Zenda Farms Preserve