Northrup Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Best Time to Visit: Late Winter - Early Summer

The Northrup Hill Wildlife Sanctuary is a diverse 24-acre wildlife preserve in the Town of Rathbone, Steuben County, New York.  The land was acquired as a gift from the Northrup family to be used as a nature preserve and is located behind the Northrup Hill Schoolhouse, a building on the USDI National Historical Register. This sanctuary has a diversity of habitats including grasslands, early successional hardwoods, and white pine-hemlock- hardwood forest leading down to a wetland-marsh at the north end. The elevation of this sanctuary is 1700 feet with nice views of the surrounding country side with benches for visitors to enjoy the view. The soils are alluvial in the Arnot, Chippewa, Lordstown and Mardin soils series. Trails are open to the public during daylight hours.


Learn Road, Rathbone, New York | Approximately 40 minute drive from Corning, New York. Maps of this location can be viewed here and here.


From Corning, take Route I86 to exit 44A for Route 15 (I99) South. Follow Route 15 South to exit 8 for Route 417-Addison. Turn right off the ramp and follow Route 417 to Addison. In Addison, turn right onto CR 119 (by Wades Hardware Store). Continue on 417 to Rathbone and turn left onto CR 21 (by Rathbone Town Hall-Highway Department). Go a short distance going over a creek and turn right onto CR 80. Route 80 curves slightly to the left and then continues on for one mile to Learn Road. Turn left onto Learn Road and proceed two miles. You will pass the Northrup Hill Schoolhouse and the wildlife sanctuary entrance is 200 feet beyond on the right by the sign. Please park on the side of the road.

From Corning, take Denison Parkway West and NY 417 to the I-99 in Gang Mills Follow I-99 to Addison, about ten miles. Leave Addison on CR 119. Turn left into and through Rathbone. After crossing the bridge, turn left on to Tracy Creek Road and head up the hill about a mile, turn left on Learn Road and there is a historic one-room school house at the intersection at the top of the hill. Total about 8.5 miles from Addison. The sanctuary is located behind the school house.


Trails are open for public use for hiking, birding, and cross country skiing. Hunting, trapping, and motorized vehicles are prohibited.

The trails are mowed through the grasslands, and in the forest, follow the white trail marks on the trees.

From the entrance, take the main trail through the grassland to the summit, where you will find a bench to enjoy the vista of the surrounding country side. Continue on the trail to the woods, go straight and the trail comes out to the second grassland. At this point, follow the trail to the right, proceeding across to the white pine-hardwood forest. The trail goes along the east borderline of the property. Turn left as you approach the north border into a hemlock forest. Continue going downhill and you will reach a beautiful marsh (if you proceed quietly, you may not scare off the waterfowl). From the marsh, follow the trail back up the hill which will bring you out into grassland. Cross the grassland and you will intersect back to where you branched off.

There are a few side loop trails off the main trail that can also be explored.

Google Map for The Northrup Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

More Images of the Sanctuary

Click on a thumbnail to view a larger version in a new window.

An evening view of the Beaver Pond at the northwest corner of the Northrup Sanctuary.

Eastern border of Northrup Hill Wildlife Refuge.

Members of Northrup family at the unveiling of the Sanctuary sign.

Opening up walking trails through the Sanctuary.

Our friends at Strauss Tree Service removing invasive Autumn Olive to restore the grassland habitat.

CVAS members birding at Beaver Pond.

Hiking Blaze Trail.

Heading back from battling the invasive species.

Birds Recorded at the Sanctuary

For a description of each of these birds, please visit the Audubon Field Guide.

American Crow American Goldfinch American Robin
Barred Owl Belted Kingfisher Blackburnian Warbler
Black-Capped Chickadee Blackpoll Warbler Black-Throated Blue Warbler
Black-Throated Green Warbler Blue Jay Blue-Headed Vireo
Blue-Winged Warbler Boblink Brown Creeper
Brown-Headed Cowbird Canada Goose Chipping Sparrow
Common Grackle Common Raven Common Yellowthroat
Dark-Eyed Junco Downy Woodpecker Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Screech-Owl Eastern Towhee Eastern Wood Pewee
Field Sparrow Golden-Crowned Kinglet Gray Catbird
Great Blue Heron Great Crested Flycatcher Great Horned Owl
Hairy Woodpecker Hermit Thrush House Finch
House Wren Indigo Bunting Killdeer
Least Flycatcher Mongolia Warbler Mourning Dove
Northern Cardinal Northern Flicker Northern Parula
Northern Saw-Whet Owl Ovenbird Philadelphia Vireo
Pileated Woodpecker Prairie Warbler Purple Finch
Red-Breasted Nuthatch Red-Eyed Vireo Red-Winged Blackbird
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak Ruby-Crowned Kinglet Ruffed Grouse
Scarlet Tanager Solitary Sandpiper Song Sparrow
Tufted Titmouse Veery White-Breasted Nuthatch
White-Throated Sparrow Wild Turkey Wilson’s Warbler
Wood Duck Wood Thrush Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Plants Recorded at the Sanctuary

The following list of plants recorded at the sanctuary was compiled by Alex Petzke. You can download this list by clicking here.

Taxonomic Name Common Name Native (N) or Exotic/Introduced (E)
Acer rubrum Red Maple N
Anthoxanthum odoratum Sweet Vernal Grass E
Arisaema triphyllum Jack-in-the-Pulpit N
Ascepias syriaca Common Milkweed N
Brachyelytrum aristosum Erect Woodland Grass N
Carex folliculata Long Sedge N
Carex scoparia Broom Sedge N
Carpinus caroliniana Musclewood N
Clinopodium vulgare Wild Basil N
Dactylis glomerata Orchard Grass E
Dryopteris carthusiana Spinulose Wood Fern N
Elaeganus umbellata Autumn Olive E
Epipactis helleborine Hellebore E
Eurybia divaricata White Wood Aster N
Fagus grandifolia American Beech N
Fragaria vesca Strawberry N
Faxinus americana White Ash N
Galium mollugo Bedstraw E
Geum laciniatum Rough Avens N
Hypericum perforatum Common St. John's Wort E
Impatiens sp. Jewelweed N
Lemna sp. Duckweed N
Leucanthemum vulgare Ox-Eye Daisy E
Leucobryum glaucum Cushion Moss N
Lonicera morrowi Honeysuckle E
Lotus corniculatus Bird's-Foot Trefoil E
Maianthemum canadense Cananda Mayflower N
Onoclea sensibilis Sensitive Fern N
Osmunda claytoniana Interrupted Fern N
Ostrya virginiana Eastern Hophornbeam N
Parthenocissus quinquefolia Virginia Creeper N
Penstemon digitalis Eastern Beardtongue N
Phalaris arundiancea Reed Canary Grass N
Phleum pratense Timothy E
Pinus strobus Eastern White Pine N
Plantago lanceolata Lance-Leaved Plantain E
Polystichum acrostichoides Christmas Fern N
Prananthes sp. Rattlesnake Root N
Prunus serotina Black Cherry N
Pteridium aquilinum Bracken Fern N
Ranunculus acris Common Buttercup E
Rhamnus cathartica Buckthorn E
Rubus allegheniensis Blackberry N
Rudbeckia hirta Black-Eyed Susan N
Rumex crispus Curly Dock E
Swida sp. Dogwood N
Thelypteris noveboracensis New York Fern N
Trientalis borealis Starflower N
Trifolium pratense Red Clover N
Tsuga canadensis Eastern Hemlock N