Our family is no stranger to nature walks and hikes. We have a running list of all the ones on the North Fork that we’ve experienced and while that list is long, we often find ourselves visiting the same handful time and time again. Then someone told me about Wolf Preserve in Southold.
This Peconic Land Trust property, tucked along Main Bayview Road, comprises 23 acres with nature trails winding throughout. Here you’ll find the Western Trail, the Eastern Trail and the new North Bayview Trail that connects Wolf Preserve with the neighboring Reese Preserve.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, our family slipped into our hiking boots, covered ourselves in tick repellent and headed out to experience Wolf Preserve for ourselves. From the moment we closed the car doors, we were met with beauty and serenity. There was a certain quiet at this preserve, amplifying the sounds of nature all around us.
We studied the trail map and decided to begin at the Western Trail, drawn to the thought of a meadow amid a forest of red cedars. We were not let down. The meadow was buzzing with nature and had a golden glow that stretched its entirety. We followed the path around the meadow before making our way along the rest of the Western Trail that led us to Frog Pond. Time stood still as the four of us set our eyes on the captivating green pond — listening, watching and taking it all in.
After our momentary meditation, we headed back toward the meadow to continue our way to the Eastern Trail. Along the way, we took in sights and smells of the wetlands and plant habitats deeply breathing in the clean, crisp autumn air.
As we walked the Eastern Trail past mature oak and beech trees, I took notice of how clear and accessible the trail was. Rarely would I consider taking a stroller on a hiking trail, but this nature walk can be done easily with a stroller or even a wheelchair. I made a mental note to share this with my parent friends.
At multiple points during our walk, I was surprised by the vibrancy of the preserve. Greens, golds and reds that took shape in moss, leaves, grasses and vines grabbed my attention.
The hour or so we spent at Wolf Preserve felt much longer — in a good way. And while this preserve is hidden no more, at least to us, I have the thought that the feeling of discovering something new will greet us each time we return. A perpetual “Hidden North Fork,” if you will.
The Wolf Preserve is located at 11613-12455 Main Bayview Road in Southold.