our_trails

Our Trails

Brook Sanctuary, Roxbury
Preserve Acres: 18.5

Running along the southern bank of Battle Swamp Brook for its entire forested length, the Brook Sanctuary Trail offers a gentle hike. Battle Swamp Brook is a tributary of the Shepaug River and the preserve’s forests filter the runoff and groundwaters that feed it. Brook trout and black nose dace abound in its waters and the stream provides trout fishing for those with the patience and skills to explore it.  

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Candlewood Mountain, New Milford
Preserve Acres: 16.3

Caution: Do not hike when wet or icy unless you are properly equipped. Crampons may be required in winter.

The trail connects two of the Trust’s nicest preserves on Candlewood Mountain. Hikers will have to use their hands on this trek, most notably at the giant pile of boulders known as the “corkscrew,” where the trail spirals up through a mammoth heap of fallen bedrock. Weantinoge owns two parcels along the trail. The first is near the trailhead and includes a rocky ravine and an excellent overlook at the edge of the utility right-of-way; the second is between Pine Knob and Candlewood Mountain. Both (and the intervening land) reward the tramper with interesting terrain features under a mixed forest canopy. Please stay on the trail. All of the land along the blue-blazed trail is privately owned and continued access is dependent on you. The path is part of the Housatonic Range Trail and is managed by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association.

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Cobble Mountain, Kent
Preserve Acres: 20

The trail has both the steepest climb (630 vertical feet) and the most dramatic vistas of any Weantinoge preserve. We have worked since 1982 to protect areas around Macedonia State Park, including tracts in New York. The trail is blazed white and intersects the Blue Trail. When you meet the Blue Trail turn right over fairly flat rocky areas, which can be very slippery when wet. The summit is marked by a plain benchmark. Boots and a walking stick are highly recommended.

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Cobble Brook Vista, Kent
Preserve Acres: 158

Weantinoge protects over three hundred acres in the Cobble Brook Valley. The trail offers instant gratification as well as a longer exercise upon the steep wild flanks that rise above Cobble Brook. The trailhead is by an old sandpit that is being reclaimed by nature. Within a few minutes, one traverses a sandy knoll with a magnificent pastoral and ridge panorama. The soils here are almost pure sand and the vegetation is more like an overgrazed Vermont hill pasture, with junipers, British soldier, lichen, and poverty grass. Even with extremely well-drained soil, one crosses two brooks just east of the knoll.

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Hauser Nature Park, Litchfield
Preserve Acres: 90

Easy walking, but often wet. The Yellow Trail round trip is about 1 mile in length.

The creation of the Hauser Nature Park in the mid-1970’s was a decisive step by Gustave and Rita Hauser to preserve some of Litchfield’s highest and most developable land. Much of the land is farmed; including a tract 1/4 mile south of the mapped parcel (since grazing occurs there it is not open to the public). The defining character of the park is a hayfield, but it also features a woodland, increased by Mr. and Mrs. George Weston’s gift of thirty six acres at the northeast corner. Higher than Litchfield’s village center, the hayfield looks out to the high points of the Litchfield Hills, including Cornwall’s Mohawk Mountain. By virtue of the poorly drained soils, the hayfield usually can’t be cut until after mid-July. This has been a saving grace to one of Connecticut’s last strong population of bobolinks, a declining species. They require unmowed meadow for breeding before migrating to Argentina, further than any other songbird. In addition to the breeding grounds, the hayfield appears to be a major pre-migration staging ground for area bobolinks that are displaced by mowing elsewhere in the vicinity. Timothy and reed canary grass seeds fatten them for their long journey. Bobolinks can be seen here from mid-May through July. Dogs are prohibited during the nesting season.

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Henry Preserve and the Pond Brook Trail, Newtown
Preserve Acres: 28

A pleasant, easy walk on a well-worn trail.

Elliott Henry, a civil engineer, cared for this preserve for many decades before trusting it to Weantinoge for permanent preservation. He told of the land’s previous owner, Ed Camp, who worked it during the early 1900s. The Camp family bought the land directly from its first “owner” – the Fairchild estate, one of the first plots of land laid out in colonial Newtown. Seeing this thriving forest today, it is hard to believe was once cleared for Camp’s corn crops. Eventually, he gave up corn and started grazing sheep until around 1910, when feral dogs killed half the flock. This was “the last straw’ for agriculture here and the parcel reverted to forest.

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Kahn-Nostrand Preserves (Bear Hill Complex), New Milford
Preserve Acres: Weantinoge Kahn Preserve, 117 Acres; Town Nostrand Preserve, 150 Acres

The trail is named for John McNeely, Weantinoge’s first professional land steward. An expert naturalist, bird rehabilitator, and filmmaker, he worked for the Trust for almost thirty years. His legacy is felt across the Northwest Hills.

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Alice McCallister Memorial Sanctuary, Kent
Preserve Acres: 64

Access is via a right-of-way to the second gate. Please respect our neighbors’ privacy.

As early as the 1970s, Weantinoge’s founder and first president, Alice McCallister, identified Mud Pond as a protection priority. Between 1991 and 1995, several people worked to purchase the tract, which had been targeted as an 8-lot subdivision. Its purchase was made possible with funds from many private contributors, a generous gift from the Ellen Knowles Harcourt Fund, and mitigation funds from the Iroquois Gas Transmission System’s Land Preservation and Enhancement Program. Weantinoge protects over four hundred contiguous acres in the immediate basin of Mud Pond and mountainsides that surround it.

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James Morrissey Family Nature Preserve, Gaylordsville
Preserve Acres: 55

Despite the unusual shape of this preserve, it contains varied landscapes and species as well as a trail that quickly puts the hustle and bustle of the Route 7 corridor out of sight and sound. Even before parking, one admires the cliffs along Gaylord Road. The trail climbs steeply to a young woodland studded with red cedars, then crosses a small brook (recently disturbed by an upland neighbor) and curls around a gentle knoll to the clearing for the Iroquois Gas Pipeline(forced through the pristine area in 1991 under the intense scrutiny of Weantinoge). After crossing the pipeline, note the complexity of the brook, which is fed by underground channels in the marble bedrock. One channel ends in a perfect cylinder. The marble lends richness to the forest with plants like showy orchids, wild oats, and an endangered sedge that was almost extirpated by illegal ATV activity. The trail continues its climb through an area rich in declining butternut trees and red cedars before reaching towering tulip poplars. At the town line the trail enters Naromi Land Trust’s Strauss Preserve, whose meadows are studded with carried plantings of conifers and a trailhead at the end of Edmonds Road.

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Mount Tom, New Milford
Preserve Acres: 50

An easy walk from Mt. Tom Road, longer and more energetic if you head to the Pratt Center.

For forty years, the Pratt Center has maintained a trail system on Mount Tom, a prominent topographic landmark that extends from Northville to Merryall in New Milford. In the late 1980s, Weantinoge acquired this fifty-acre parcel and along with the New Milford Youth Agency created a spur trail to connect Pratt’s trails to a western access point. In the intervening years, Weantinoge has acquired three major tracts of land and two easements to buffer the Pratt Center and Mount Tom from further development.

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Pratt Glen, Brookfield
Preserve Acres: 74

Please respect our neighbors’ privacy and boundaries by staying on the trail.

Pratt Glen is a 1990 gift of the late Jane Pratt, who with her husband George, placed many farm and natural areas in the Bridgewater and New Milford area under permanent protection. The view east from the first part of the trail is of Skyline Ridge in Bridgewater, another target of Weantinoge’s protection efforts that harbors several preserves. Lake Lillinonah lies below the preserve and is hidden by foreground topography. The trail turns right at the brook, and descends close to the lake, but not so close as to disturb an important foraging area for otter, mink, eagles, and osprey. The “glen” itself is a steep ravine with very tall mature tulip poplar, oak, and beech. One will pass a spruce and white pine plantation before dipping down across a seasonal brook to a gentle knoll that has what we believe is the region’s finest grove of wild dogwoods.

 

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Tory’s Cave, New Milford
Preserve Acres: 8

Tory’s Cave is closed to the public. The preserve still offers 0.4 miles of trails and a central access point to the 6 mile Housatonic Range Trail which is part of the Connecticut Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail System.  

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Wildwoods Nature Preserve, Sharon
Preserve Acres: 163

One of Weantinoge’s signature preserves, the Wildwoods Nature Preserve was a gift of Paul Porzelt, Constance Morris, Charles D. Brooks, George Vila, and Valerie Delacorte in 1981. Weantinoge has several wildlife refuges totaling over 200 additional acres in the immediate area. Wildwoods has many unusual characteristics including a variety of woodland types, a fine shady glade, bottomland wetlands, and magnificent views west to the Taconics. It captures our best stand of northern hardwoods and has a plentiful food supply for wildlife. Quiet exploration will reveal its treasures. Use caution as the tick population in this area of Sharon is quite dense.

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