February 26, 2024
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5 Gorgeous Nature Preserve Trails You Must Hike This Fall

Bask in all of the fall foliage by taking a trip through our beautiful Nature Preserve! I explored a few trails and shot a few photos to give you guys some insight.

All photos by Alyssa Mustafa

According to leef-peeping experts, peak foliage is coming up on Oct. 10, so I did a partial loop through 5 of the 12 trails in the Nature Preserve to get a sneak peek at the fall action. Prior to this hike, I had never gone too deep into the Nature Preserve, but I found that it was easier to navigate than I had thought. All I had to do was follow the designated tree markings with colors that corresponded to each trail. Since many of them intersect, I was able to get a taste of a few different trails without hiking the full length of each.

Here’s what stood out to me most about each trail.

Marsh Trail

Marsh Trail

Parked in M lot but don’t want to go home and study yet? Procrastinate by venturing into the Marsh Trail. Starting next to M lot, this trail is wide, flat and well-maintained, so you can get that nature-y feel without going full on hiker-extraordinaire. This path gets a lot of foot traffic by students and the local community, so if you’re lucky, you might see someone walking their dog. If you want some more relaxation time, the Marsh Trail intersects with the Pond Trail, and you can keep exploring.

OVERALL DIFFICULTY: Low

SUITABLE FOR: Leisurely walking, children, pets, jogging

LENGTH: 0.72 mi

Pond Trail

Nature preserve

The Pond Trail is likely the most traveled (and photographed) trail in all of the Nature Preserve. Starting behind College-in-the-Woods, this trail intersects with the Marsh Trail and runs to the famous bridge you’ve probably seen in your friends’ artsy Instagram posts. We don’t blame them, though; the view of the bridge is #goals! Known as the centerpiece of the preserve, you’ll get the best of both worlds with an amazing view of both Harpur Pond and the marsh while on the bridge. This trail is similar to the Marsh Trail, since it’s also wide and flat, making it great for a relaxing stroll.

OVERALL DIFFICULTY: Low

SUITABLE FOR: Leisurely walking, children, pets

LENGTH: 0.85 mi

Oak Trail

Nature preserve trail

If you travel a bit further down the Pond Trail, past the bridge, you’ll come to a crossroad between the Pond Trail and the Oak Trail. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, right? If you decide to venture onto the Oak Trail, you’ll find yourself immersed in the beautiful foliage. If you’re looking for some oak trees and incline hiking, the deeper parts of the trail start to incline steeply. But on the lower parts of the Oak Trail, you can relax and hang up a hammock in the beech, maple and ash trees, while still enjoying a beautiful view of Harpur Pond. I found the lower parts of the trail to be of minimal difficulty, but you’ll need to watch out for tree roots in the ground.

OVERALL DIFFICULTY: Low on beginning of the trail, medium/high deeper into trail

SUITABLE FOR: Leisurely walking on the beginning of the trail, but climbs uphill deeper into the trail. Deeper parts of the trail may not be suitable for children.

LENGTH: 0.43 mi

Connector Trail

Nature preserve trail

Find some peace and solitude on the Connector Trail. It was a perfect detour when I was on the Oak Trail and didn’t want to go uphill, so I kept hiking the preserve by breaking off into the Connector Trail. The Connector Trail intersects with the Oak Trail and three other trails, running behind Harpur Pond and the marsh. Relax and take in the fresh air as you enjoy the view of the white pine, red maple, white ash and black cherry trees. Stay a while; it’s nice here.

OVERALL DIFFICULTY: Low

SUITABLE FOR: Leisurely walking, children, pets

LENGTH: 0.44 mi

Saddle Trail

Saddle trail

Looking for cute forest critters? Look no further. Owls and porcupines can be found chillin’ in this area. The deeper parts of the trail run uphill, arriving at a “saddle” between two hills, but I stayed on the lower parts, which are flat. You’ll feel at one with nature as you hike along this trail, because you’ll find nothing but beautiful trees in sight. This trail is really peaceful and quiet; it’s good for those who want to escape reality for a little while. More trees, please. Responsibilities can wait a while. #Zen

OVERALL DIFFICULTY: Low on beginning of the trail, medium/high deeper into trail

SUITABLE FOR: Leisurely walking on the beginning of the trail, but climbs uphill deeper into the trail. Deeper parts of the trail may not be suitable for children.

LENGTH: 0.70 mi

Full Trail Map

Trail notes for Binghamton University nature preserve

Want to check out the Nature Preserve for yourself? Check out this detailed Trail Map!

Alyssa Mustafa is a junior in the School of Management, studying marketing. She spends her free time running around in circles and jumping in the sand as a member of the women’s track and field team.


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