Just a short distance from the base of the Helderberg Escarpment, the beautiful Bennett Hill Preserve rises from the surrounding lands. This a155-acre property has excellent vantage points from various sections of the trail system, offering striking views of the Helderberg Mountains to the north and west and Albany to the east. There are approximately 3 miles of trails that traverse steep to moderate terrain on the winding path to the top plateau of the 400-foot hill.
The Bennett Hill Property was generously donated to the Conservancy by Dr. Jerry Bilinski of North Chatham in 1998. With elevated views and a larger trail system, the preserve quickly gained popularity.
The broad outline of the hill was probably formed by erosion beginning in the middle Tertiary Period about 40 million years ago, but the current smoothed appearance was shaped by glaciation. The steep slope on the north side of Bennett Hill and the “streamlines” extending to the south from the hill show that during the latest (Wisconsin) glaciation the ice flow in the area around Clarksville was roughly north to south.
The Onondaga limestone is one of the rock layers of the hill in which caves and other Karst features are found. There is a small area of sink holes in this limestone at the northern base of Bennett Hill; the sinkholes are located at the back corner of the entrance field at the point where the trail along the western base of the hill begins (approximate elevation 740 feet). A rivulet flowing down the hill at that point enters the northernmost sinkhole and disappears.
The top of the Bennett Hill is a relatively flat plateau, the northern edge of the plateau is at an elevation of about 1120 feet; outcrops in that area are a dark shale with a reddish hue. In the middle of the plateau is a small wetland at an elevation of 1100 feet. South of the wetland, the highest point on the hill is at 1135 feet. The total height of the hill is about 400 feet.