great trail to hike in the late spring when it's not too wet. the trail takes you on a loop deep deep deep into nature. make sure to follow marked trees and stay on the path. the terrain can be somewhat difficult with steep inclines, declines and sharp turns in places. you cross a creek about 5 times in different elevations which make for astounding pictures. be aware of your surroundings as there have been bear sightings. great for four legged friends too! sign the guest book and leave a blurb about your hike! I recommend taking a picture of the map at the kiosk before getting started. (Google maps foesnt show the trails) plan about an hour + deep on the woods.
Wesley Hill Nature Preserve
Gulick Rd., Naples
At the pond with the WWS class. Before 9am. Bird sounds. Red-winged Blackbird in the field below the pond. A woodpecker. A bumble bee buzzes. Bullfrog in the pond. Rustling dried grasses and the sound of feet in the mud. The area is dominated by the red-winged blackbirds. They mightve been occupying the pond before we came, then scattered to the trees and the border of the field. Many different types of birds chirping, and the bull frog was croaking. You could also hear a woodpecker pecking wood off in the distance, there were also many bugs buzzing around as well.
At the bottom of the gully. A long series of small cascades, 100 yards long or so, massive boulders, one bigger than a car, dotting the shale creek bed, green moss covering the tops of boulders, stones of varying shades of grey and brown. A yellow birch has fallen and makes a good crossing point or place to sit, its shaggy bark hanging from the bottom like fur from a dogs underbelly. Sun still in the east, shines down in the gully illuminating ripples in the green-tinted pool. Some buds emerge from the trees. Red trillium blooms on the slopes, drooping its tired head.
In order to get to the cabin, we had to go down into one of the gullies that had a rope to help the decent. There was a slight stream of water that barely covered the bigger stones but was deep enough that if you stepped in it, youd want to change your socks. Luckily, there were stones that formed enough of bridge to get across. Once we climbed up the slight hill on the other side, the cabin came into our view. There was a wooden piece on the door that helped to keep it shut in case there were strong winds or animals that needed shelter. Walking into the porch of the cabin, there were about six chairs and one table. We pulled the table out so that we could all gather around it. The chairs were rusted and old but they worked. After we ate, we were about to leave but we thought we should check to see if there was an open window to look inside the cabin. Inside was very run down and needed work if anyone planned on sleeping there. The cobwebs lined the whole interior and there was at least an inch of dust blanketing everything in the cabin. After everyone looked inside, we decided to continue on our way.
The overlook was a very nice view. It felt as if you could fall off the edge of a cliff. We could see for miles on end and even spotting the lookout point on top of the Harriet Hollister Hill. There is a wooden bench perched at the top for a serene lookout. From the point of view of the bench it looks as if the edge of the cliff drops off the face of the earth. Being able to look for miles with nothing but the beautiful view and sweet sounds of nature.
Lots of dogbane and pricker bushes to navigate through. The pricker bushes were frustrating to walk through. Made rope out of the dogbane.
As we stampeded through the pricker bushes and thorns to get to the lushes grouping of dogbane the girls were complaining about their legs getting cut. We had finally reached the dogbane. In order to make cordage out of it we had to receive lessons from our teacher, Mr. Folts, on how to strip the bark off of the fibers and once we got the fibers separated from the bark it could then be woven into a small very strong cordage that none of us was able to break if woven correctly. We then proceeded along the field all with our woven cordage in hand to the end of the trail. We knew we were near the end as the trail blazes got few and far between as we walked along the trail. Once they ended we could hear traffic in the distance and see the road just ahead. We had made it, now the last thing our teacher had us do is take one last picture in front of the sign to prove that we all made it and to add one more picture to the pile of different things we had seen and experienced on our first hike!
I hiked parts of Wesley Hills Nature Preserve last fall, early this winter, and at the start of spring this year. Each time it was a good experience, a bit of wilderness not far from civilization. I've hiked most all the trails shown on the map. I usually bring my dog along and he enjoys Anne's Lake not far from the east entrance on the red trail.
This is a very nice woodland trail system with mix of deciduous and pine which is quite lovely. Although the preserve abuts private property, you really get a wilderness feel here which is rare in the Finger Lakes.
Most of the trails being easy to moderate, with several small gullies on some of the trails which present some technical challenge but these areas for me are also the most picturesque. There is a nice overlook of Brigg's Gully, a very large gully bordering on a gorge which drains into Honeoye Lake.
The only moderate to difficult trail is the green trail which dips down into Brigg's Gully. The trail is somewhat steep but has many switchbacks which navigate around, and sometimes through, the numerous smaller gullies. The trail markers are often hard to follow, so if you are breaking trail here in the winter be warned. At the end you are rewarded with a great view from within Brigg's Gully with some interesting boulders and small cascades. The hike back up tends to be slippery and will raise a sweat for all but the most fit. I would definitely recommend hiking poles for the less coordinated.