Our Trails

Candlewood Mountain, New Milford
13 Sherman Road, New Milford, CT 06776 Preserve Acres: 16.3
Roundtrip Distance: 4 miles.

View Photo Gallery

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; 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.

Trail Map

Return to Our Trails

Cobble Mountain, Kent
159 Macedonia Brook Rd, Kent, CT 06757 Preserve Acres: 20
Roundtrip Distance: 3 miles

View Photo Gallery

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.

Notes on Macedonia Brook State Park

Macedonia Brook became Connecticut’s 13th state park as a result of a gift of 1,552 acres from Alain White of Litchfield in 1918. The park now has 2,300 acres. The summit of Cobble Mountain, located adjacent to the western park boundary, is used in triangulation by the US Coast and Geodetic Survey. It is situated on a hard and uniform rock formation of Becket Gneiss, which has worn down slowly leaving a very exciting terrain. The Blue Trail crosses Cobble Mountain and several other peaks, offering outstanding views of the Catskills and Taconics. Numerous springs and streams are in the area, adding to the pleasure of a hike along the trail.

Some years after the park was formed, the National Park Service offered to assist Connecticut in establishing a Civilian Conservation Corps Camp to give work to unemployed people during the Great Depression. Macedonia Brook State Park was selected because of the large quantity of work that was needed there and in the immediate vicinity. The magnificent stone retaining wall located just west of Macedonia Brook Road is a product of those times. The camp was in existence from 1933 to 1935. If you see a problem on this trail, call the Macedonia State Park Manager at (860) 927-3238.

Trail Map

Return to Our Trails

Cobble Brook Vista, Kent
26 Studio Hill Circle, Kent, CT 06757 Preserve Acres: 158
Roundtrip Distance: 2.5 miles

View Photo Gallery

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. 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 a 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.

The recommended route, once reaching the loop junction, is clockwise as it is safer to climb the steeper route and descend the gentler way. Those reaching the top will be rewarded with a perch in the mountain laurel with views to the west across the Housatonic River.

Trail Map

Return to Our Trails

Hauser Nature Park, Litchfield
100 Fern Avenue, Litchfield, CT 06759 Preserve Acres: 90
Roundtrip Distance: 1 mile

View Photo Gallery

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.

While it is satisfying to explore the hayfield, the woodland on the north offers the Ed Eveleth Memorial Trail, which loops through the headwaters of a brook with exposed stones reflecting the unique geology beneath most of Litchfield’s soils. Milky quartz appears here with the tease of potential gold deposits. Because this area is contiguous with Topsmead State Forest, wildlife thrives in this area. Ed Eveleth was a major influence in keeping the lives of busy Litchfield County residents healthy and in touch with the natural world. He volunteered for many organizations and outfitted thousands of locals and visitors with equipment and knowledge to enjoy the beauty of the region. Weantinoge hopes you will feel his energy on this path and use it, like Ed, as a true keeper of this special area. To reach the Eveleth Trail, walk along the left (north) side of the hayfield past the crest of the hill and watch for square yellow markers at a gap in the treeline. An old trail created by the neighbors cuts north into the woods before the crest of the hill.

Trail Map

Return to Our Trails

Henry Preserve and the Pond Brook Trail, Newtown
22 Sawmill Road, Newtown, CT 06470 Preserve Acres: 28
Roundtrip Distance: 0.5 mile

View Photo Gallery

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.

Today the forest has many beautiful features. Tall tulip poplars and beeches predate 1900. Inside the preserve is a major tributary of Pond Brook that drains the Great Hill area of Newtown. Before the heavy development of the area, the stream supported brook trout, but as homes were built runoff increased, causing lower flows during dry spells, and the fish became victims of raccoons. In the northern section are oak stumps five feet in diameter. It is ironic that the very raccoons that decimated the fish flourished because of Henry’s love of all animals. About once a week he would drive to a bakery in Waterbury and buy huge bags of stale bread, every night putting out food for the animals roundabout. Keeping the back lights on and building a picture window to watch them, he would witness pilgrimages of thirty to forty raccoons, skunk, opossum, deer, and red and gray foxes every night. Not wanting to see the forest cut down and developed, Henry gave the land to Weantinoge in May of 1989.

The forest is home to over fifteen species of neotropical migratory birds that depend on an unbroken forest canopy to help their nests survive. Stay on the trail at all times so as not to disturb water thrushes, oven birds, grouse, and other birds that nest on the ground.

Trail Map

Return to Our Trails

Kahn-Nostrand Preserves (Bear Hill Complex), New Milford
58 Cherniske Road, New Milford, CT 06776 Preserve Acres: Weantinoge Kahn Preserve, 117 Acres; Town Nostrand Preserve, 150 Acres
Roundtrip Distance: 3 miles

View Photo Gallery

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.

Trails connect the two contiguous preserves. Round trip from Cherniske Road and around the Bear Hill loop is about 3-1/4 miles. Exercise care in route-finding near the summit of Bear Hill—the trail does not extend to the south from the summit.

The Kahn preserve was a 1994 gift to Weantinoge in memory of Leon and Yareth Kahn. The Nostrand preserve was purchased by the Town of New Milford with a mitigation grant from the Iroquois Gas Transmission System. The Kahn Preserve was logged in the early 1990s (before Weantinoge owned it). The preserve’s red pines, most likely planted in the 1930s, are all gone. Both events are factors in the intensive invasion of the groundstory by non-native invasive species in the disturbed areas. The outstanding rail bridges on the trail were built by Mark Mankin and the New Milford Youth Agency.

The preserve offers a wonderful experience in the West Aspetuck River Watershed. The river itself is exceptionally clean, protected by abundant forests and wetlands in the preserve and upstream: Mink and otter breed here. Though the marked trail system does not follow the river closely, if one turns right just before the rail bridge after descending from Cherniske Road, a bushwhack reveals a pond where amphibians breed and wood ducks and black ducks gather. Along the base of the slopes, springs emerge with such force that sand boils from the pools where they are located. Watercress was established decades ago in one of the spring-fed brooklets. Further down, a level area in the floodplain has an example of a riparian gallery forest—tall, fast growing trees, including some of the region’s only forest-grown (as opposed to open-grown) swamp white oaks. The trails of Bear Hill pass by two sections of mature forest. The highest reaches offer seasonal (when leaves are down) views northwest to Kent and west into New York. The river is quite impressive in high water.

Weantinoge’s work in and around Bear Hill has led to the creation of a 1300-acre contiguous protected block of ownerships and conservation easements. This is one of the largest permanently protected blocks in southern Litchfield County, all made possible by the tireless work of Guy and Janie Peterson and by land and easement donations by the Peterson, Garraty, and the Hochberg families. Because conservation easements are properties owned by private landowners, we ask hikers to stay on the trail except in the basin along the river where trampers and fishermen can explore to their heart’s content.

Directions to the Weantinoge Kahn Preserve Cherniske Road entrance: From Route 202 in New Preston, take Route 45 to New Preston Center. Take the first left at Pavillion Hall onto New Preston Hill Road. Continue for two miles to a four-way intersection and stop sign. The road becomes Cherniske Road. Continue for one more mile past Frenchman’s Road and another 0.25 mile to the Kahn Preserve entrance on the left.

Directions to the Town of New Milford Nostrand Preserve Squire Hill Road entrance: From Route 202 and Little Bear Hill Road, proceed west for 2.6 miles to a stop sign in the ravine of Merryall Center. At the stop sign turn right onto Squire Hill Road, immediately cross the West Aspetuck River, and continue for 0.5 miles to the trail access road on the right.

Trail Map

 

 

Return to Our Trails

Alice McCallister Memorial Sanctuary, Kent
74 Camps Flat Road, South Kent, CT 06785 Preserve Acres: 64
Roundtrip Distance: 1 mile

View Photo Gallery

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.

Despite its name, Mud Pond is a jewel set between a quartzite ridge on the west and the northern buttress of Long Mountain on the east, with several types of calcareous (alkaline) wetland soils along the pond and well-drained acidic soils on the quartzite. The sanctuary has an amazing diversity of species, including the state’s biggest black ash trees. It will take years to find most of the species – some rare. Mud Pond is used by fishermen (especially for ice fishing) and by canoeists. Those who continue their walk along Mud Pond Road will see the beaver baffler system installed by Weantinoge and the Town of New Milford in an effort to prevent the pond level from overflowing onto the road without having to resort to trapping. 

 

Trail Map

 

Return to Our Trails

James Morrissey Family Nature Preserve, Gaylordsville
130 Gaylord Road, New Milford, CT Preserve Acres: 55
Roundtrip Distance: 1.5 miles

View Photo Gallery

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 and curls around a gentle knoll to the clearing for the Iroquois Gas Pipeline. 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. 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.

Directions:

From Route 7 in Gaylordsville, take Gaylord Road for 1.7 miles to the south. The road will turn sharply left to cross the brook. There is a pull-out and gate on the bend that provides parking. Please do not park in front of the gate.

Trail Map

 

Return to Our Trails

Mount Tom, New Milford
43 Mt. Tom Road, New Milford, CT 06776 Preserve Acres: 50
Roundtrip Distance: 1.33 miles

View Photo Gallery

An easy 1.3 mile looped trail from Mount Tom Road. The hike can be extended by taking the trail to the Pratt Nature Center.

Mount Tom is a prominent topographic landmark that extends from Northville to Merryall in New Milford. In 1978, Weantinoge acquired this forty-acre parcel and along with the New Milford Youth Agency created a spur trail to connect Pratt’s trails to a western access point. Over the years, Weantinoge has acquired two major tracts of land and two easements totalling 134 acres. On the trail, one will see vernal pools and lofty tulip poplars in a fairly young forest

Trail Map

 

Return to Our Trails

Pratt Glen, Brookfield
40A Obtuse Road North, Brookfield, CT 06804 Preserve Acres: 74
Roundtrip Distance: 3 miles

View Photo Gallery

This trail is closed due to storm damage from the May 15 macroburst.

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.  

Trail Map

Return to Our Trails

Tory’s Cave, New Milford
499 Kent Road, New Milford, CT 06776 Preserve Acres: 8
Roundtrip Distance: 0.4 mile

View Photo Gallery

To help protect and conserve endangered bat species, Weantinoge made the difficult decision to close Tory’s Cave in New Milford to the public this year. Our research with the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) and Northeastern Cave Conservancy (NCC) has documented two species of endangered bats and the possible presence of a third species listed as threatened in Connecticut occupying the cave. The closure of the cave will, during winter, minimize disturbances to hibernating bats and, year-round, stop the spread of White-nose Syndrome (WNS) by humans entering the cave. WNS is a devastating fungal disease that has killed millions of bats throughout the Northeast since its introduction in 2006. The fungus invades the skin of hibernating bats and disrupts their hydration and hibernation cycles, which causes them to awake early and use already limited fat reserves resulting in their starvation.

Thankfully, Tory’s Cave is home to some of the rare survivors of WNS and is one of the few places in the state (and even the region) where bats have been documented still hibernating. Given the widespread decimation of bats in our region and the ease with which WNS is spread, protecting each individual surviving bat and their remaining known habitats has become critical.

Weantinoge, CT DEEP, and NCC hope that the bats of Tory’s Cave are resistant to WNS or will survive its spread and help populations recover.  Bats play many important roles in the ecosystem, including pollinating flowers, spreading seeds, and controlling insect populations. Some species can capture 500 to 1,000 mosquitoes in a single hour, as well as other insects that can damage forests and crops.

Tory’s Cave preserve still offers trails and is a central access point to Weantinoge’s Eleanor and Howard Hunt Nature Preserve and the 6-mile Housatonic Range Trail which is part of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail System.

Return to Our Trails

Wildwoods Nature Preserve, Sharon
Preserve Acres: 163
Roundtrip Distance: 2.6 miles

View Photo Gallery

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 conserves an additional 200 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.

Directions from Kent: Take Skiff Mountain Road, which becomes West Woods Road #1 in Sharon. Pass the Marvelwood School and continue north to stop sign. Turn left onto Keeler Road. At Lambert Road, bear left staying on Keeler Road, and then turn right onto Caray Hill Road. Continue 0.4 mile and park on the right by a culvert just before the only house, a cedar-shingled cape. The trailhead is just beyond the culvert.

Directions from Sharon: Take Route 41 south from the village clock tower for 6 miles to Knibloe Hill Road on the left. Go 1.5 miles to the Clark Road and Weber Road crossing, where Knibloe Hill Road becomes Caray Hill Rd. Continue on Caray Hill Road for 1.5 miles and park on the right side of the road, just past a cedar-shingled cape. The trailhead is across the road, by the culvert.

Trail Map

 

 

Return to Our Trails