There are many trails throughout Conte Refuge locations where you can walk, hike and bike. Each location has different accessibility levels and regulations, so be sure to check ahead of time regarding the specific location you are visiting.
All hiking areas on the refuge are open year-round from one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset.
Visitors may view and photograph wildlife in a variety of settings such as along the forty miles of gravel roads, walking along wooded pathways, following stream courses, or while hiking in the deep woods. Many areas on the division provide scenic vistas of the Nulhegan Basin and the surrounding mountains. Visitors can access the Division's lands and vistas by passenger vehicle, snowmobile, or on foot (or cross country skis or snowshoes in winter) to enjoy wildlife observation and photography.
The Putney Mountain unit is located in Putney and Brookline, Vermont. It lies about 20 miles north of the Massachusetts border and 5 miles west of the Connecticut River. The landscape is a northern hardwood forest, consisting mostly of American beech, sugar maple, and yellow birch. Animals that may be found in this habitat include white-tailed deer, black bear, beaver, wood duck, wild turkey, and many species of forest-nesting songbirds. The division is open to the public year round for wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, and interpretation. This unit is popular for bird watching, particularly during the summer nesting season.
Map of trails at Putney Mountain
Directions to Putney Mountain:
Take Exit 4 on I-91 towards Putney, VT. Turn onto Route 5 North (Main Street) for 0.5 miles. Turn left onto Kimball Hill Road for 0.3 miles. Continue onto Westminster West Road for 0.8 miles. Turn left onto West Hill Road for 2.4 miles. Turn right onto Putney Mountain Road for 200 feet. Turn left onto Holland Hill Road for 0.9 miles. Holland Hill Road turns right and becomes Joy Road, stay on this road for 250 feet. Turn left onto Holland Hill Road for 0.9 miles. Turn Right onto Parkman Wood Road for 0.7 miles. Park at the Putney Mountain Unit parking area.
Most visitors come to the Pondicherry Division because it is well known as a place to see moose, bear, a multitude of breeding birds, and spectacular views of the surrounding mountain ranges. People can hike, ski, or snowshoe anywhere on the refuge to view and photograph wildlife, flowers, and the scenery. At this time there are two primitive trails on the refuge. Cherry Pond is linked to Little Cherry Pond by a loop trail that winds through a forested bog community. A series of bog bridges were installed by the Friends of Pondicherry to protect the saturated bog soils. The second trail is a section of the Cohos Regional Trail. It enters the refuge from the east off Whipple Road, leads to Cherry Pond, then exits near Highway 115 in the southeast corner.
The mile-long, fully accessible trail at Fort River allows visitors an up-close and personal look at diverse wildlife and habitats. The trail meanders through a series of successional habitats from grasslands to upland forest and provides important habitat for fish, grassland birds and a variety of herps and mammal species. The Fort River Division is located at 69 Moody Bridge Road, Hadley, Massachusetts. Please note, visitors can access the trail via the intersection at Bay Road. The South Maple Street intersection with Moody Bridge Road is closed to through traffic.
View the Fort River Division Brochure
Fannie Stebbins Unit
The Fannie Stebbins property and the larger floodplain area known as the "Longmeadow Flats" has been designated as a National Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior, and an Important Bird Area by the Massachusetts Audubon Society. The are is subject to periodic flooding that is representative of this type of habitat. The refuge encompasses one of the largest remaining patches of floodplain forests and wetlands along this heavily human-impacted section of the Connecticut River.
The Unit is open to the public for wildlife observation, photography, fishing, and hiking. It is open year round from sun-up to sun-down. The Fannie Stebbins Unit is located on Pondside Road, Longmeadow Massachusetts.