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USA/Mid-Atlantic: Shelter Island, NY

Shelter from the Storm

A Recommended Walk

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Time: 45 minutes to 3 hours
Distance: 1 1/2, 3 or 6 miles 

Park in the Mashomack Preserve parking lot.


Mashomack PreserveFrom the Mashomack Preserve, proceed to the visitors’ center and give a small donation. Follow the clearly marked signs to the trail entrance just outside the visitors’ center.

Waypoint 1

Just past the trail entrance sign, you reach a junction. Ignore a wooden boardwalk to the right. Bear left uphill, following a multi-colored trail sign. Follow the trail as it winds through the woods. Cross a wooden footbridge and pass a wooden observation platform.

Waypoint 2

Gazebo in Waypoint 2At the next junction, ignore a wide trail to your left. Follow a red arrow marking a trail that bears to your right. Continue past a sign marking the end of the “Joan C. Coles Memorial Trail.” You reach a gazebo on your right overlooking Miss Annie’s Creek. The Manhanset tribe set up fishing and hunting camps alongside this creek. The salt marsh is home to many species of fish and birds. Keep an eye out for an osprey darting down into the water for its prey.

Waypoint 3

When you reach a trail marker a few steps ahead, go straight, ignoring the red-arrow trail on your left. (If you only want a 1 ½-mi. walk, follow the red trail. You’ll eventually reach a major junction, Waypoint 11. Follow the red trail back to your car.) A minute or two after you ignore the red trail, you cross a wooden bridge. Cross the next road and continue straight until you see a meadow ahead. Turn right, following a yellow arrow. Continue around the edge of the meadow. Turn left at a dirt road, following the yellow, green and blue trail signs.

Waypoint 4

View from the bluff in Waypoint 4At the next junction of three trails, turn right, following a green arrow. Ignore a blue trail straight ahead and a yellow trail to the left. (If you wish to abbreviate the walk to 3 mi., follow the yellow trail and pick up the walking directions at the end of Waypoint 9 below, as you pass the stone bench.) At the next junction, bear right and follow the narrow dirt road. Ignore two small dirt roads to the left. In a few minutes, you reach an intersection. Proceed straight across the road onto a path going uphill. At the top of the hill, by a stone bench, ignore a green-marked trail to the left and continue straight, following a smaller trail toward the water. Enjoy the view and a picnic on a small bluff overlooking Smith Cove. Retrace your steps to the stone bench and turn right, returning to the green trail. Continue through the woods with the water to your right. Pass a stone bench on your left. Proceed down some steps and turn left, following the trail.

Waypoint 5

Mossy trail just past Waypoint 5At the next junction, bear right, following a green arrow. Proceed along as the trail curves around Log Cabin Creek. Ignore a narrow dirt path that leads to a wooden shelter on your right. Continue as the trail winds to the left and passes a stone bench on your right.

Waypoint 6

About 10 yards further, turn right onto a road, following a green arrow. You emerge from the woods and pass houses on your left (Smith Cove is to your right). At a junction several steps past a garage on your left, continue straight, ignoring a road to the left. Pass alongside a large house (the Manor House) on your right and continue on into the woods.

Waypoint 7

At the next junction, turn left, following a green arrow. Follow the path with Sanctuary Pond to your right, and continue into the woods. At the next junction (the intersection of blue and green trails), continue straight, ignoring a trail to the right.

Waypoint 8

At the next junction, bear left, following a green-and-blue arrow. Pass a stone bench on your right. Ignore a trail to your left just before you reach a road. When you reach the road, bear right and walk 25 or 35 steps.

Waypoint 9

Meadow on the way towards Waypoint 10Turn left onto a trail heading into the woods, following a green-and-blue arrow. In a minute, you reach a trail junction (Waypoint 5). Turn right, following the green-and-blue arrow. Ascend steps. (You’re retracing your earlier steps.) Continue through the woods. Turn right at the stone bench and cross the road. Turn left at a grass path, following a green-and-blue arrow. At the next junction of blue, yellow, and green trails (Waypoint 4), continue straight, following a yellow arrow across a meadow. Ignore a trail to the left by a stone bench. Continue through the meadow. Pass straight through an intersection at the edge of the meadow and follow a multi-colored trail sign into the woods. In a few minutes, you reach a road. Turn right and proceed about 15 steps.

Waypoint 10

Turn left into the woods, following a yellow arrow. In a minute, you reach a trail intersection.

Waypoint 11

Turn right, following arrows for red, yellow, blue and green trails. At the next junction, turn left onto a road, following the red and the yellow arrows. You will soon be walking on pavement. At the next junction, bear right and continue on (ignoring the “Joan C. Cole Memorial Trail” to the left). At the next junction, continue straight (you’re now following a red arrow), ignoring a trail to the right. Continue around either side of a loop in the trail and emerge from the woods at the visitors’ center. Follow the path back to the parking lot and your car.

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