Recently named Hudson Valley Magazine’s 2021 Award for Best “Small Hike, Big View,” families from all over the region enjoy this lovely hilltop park in Rhinebeck. A popular picnicking, hiking and sledding spot, Burger Hill rises to a 550-foot hilltop that boasts panoramic vistas of the surrounding countryside and spectacular views of the Shawangunk Ridge, Catskill and Taconic mountains, Stissing Mountain and the Berkshires.
This 76-acres park includes a wide mown trail leading to its rewarding peak with additional trails throughout the fields below. Over 67 acres of the 76 acres (88%) that make up Drayton Grant Park is maintained as grassland, essential habitat to grassland nesting birds for breeding and foraging. As a result, Burger Hill has become a notable birding spot for grassland birds whose habitat loss and degradation in NYS has contributed to an 80-99% decline of these species since 1966. Species that have been observed at the Hill include: Henslow’s sparrow, grasshopper sparrow, vesper sparrow, upland sandpiper, horned lark, eastern meadowlark, savannah sparrow, northern harrier, short-eared owl, and bobolink. Of these one is endangered, four are threatened, and three are of special concern.
Most notably, the Park is currently home to a healthy population of bobolinks and eastern meadowlarks. The ground-nesting bobolinks delight visitors every spring with their bubbly song.
Other important habitats that can be found within Drayton Grant Park are upland hardwood and mixed forest, upland shrubland, wet meadow, and constructed ponds. These habitats support a diversity of wildlife including birds, amphibians, reptiles, and myriad pollinator species such as monarchs.
Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill is owned by Winnakee Land Trust and managed by the Burger Hill Park Committee. Winnakee offers many events at Burger Hill throughout the year, including Full Moon Hike & Music evenings. It is ideal for a family hike or sunset viewing over the Catskills. On a snowy day, Burger Hill is one of our region’s most treasured sledding spots!
Back in the 1990’s, Burger Hill’s beautiful hayfields and wetlands were threatened with suburban-style residential development. A group of residents joined with Winnakee Land Trust and Scenic Hudson to purchase and permanently protect Burger Hill.
A key leader of this effort was local environmental attorney Drayton Grant, whose passion and commitment brought the community together to establish this extraordinary place for all to enjoy. In 2012, Drayton lost a terrible battle with cancer; to honor her long-standing dedication to Burger Hill, the Park was renamed in her honor. Today, many of Drayton’s personal friends still honor her memory and vision for the park as Burger Hill Stewards.
In 2006, recognizing Winnakee’s dedicated stewardship of the Park. Scenic Hudson transfered ownership of the property to Winnakee Land Trust.
Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill is located on Route 9G in the Town of Rhinebeck, Dutchess County (41.9222, -73.87384). 3137 New York 9G, Rhinebeck, NY 12572
From the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge: From the bridge exit follow the signs to 9G south. Take 9G approximately 4 miles, past the Route 308 exit. Burger Hill is on the right.
From the South: Take Route 9G north toward Rhinebeck. Burger Hill is on the left, just past Vlei Road.
From Rhinebeck Village: Take Route 308 east to Route 101 (Violet Hill Rd.) Make a right on Route 101. Take 101 to 9G, make a right onto 9G south. Burger Hill is a half mile south on the right.