13 Sherman Road, New Milford, CT 06776 Preserve Acres: 16.3
The trail connects two of the Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy’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. Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy 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.Read More
159 Macedonia Brook Rd, Kent, CT 06757 Preserve Acres: 20
The trail has both the steepest climb (630 vertical feet) and the most dramatic vistas of any Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy 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.Read More
26 Studio Hill Circle, Kent, CT 06757 Preserve Acres: 158
Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy 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.Read More
100 Fern Avenue, Litchfield, CT 06759 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 Preserve in the mid-1970s 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 populations of bobolinks, a declining species. They require unmowed meadow for breeding before migrating to South America. 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.Read More
22 Sawmill Road, Newtown, CT 06470 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 Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy 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 it 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.Read More
58 Cherniske Road, New Milford, CT 06776 Preserve Acres: Weantinoge Kahn Preserve, 117 Acres; Town Nostrand Preserve, 150 Acres
The trail is named for John McNeely, Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy’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.Read More
74 Camps Flat Road, South Kent, CT 06785 Preserve Acres: 64
As early as the 1970s, our 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. Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy protects over four hundred contiguous acres in the immediate basin of Mud Pond and mountainsides that surround it.Read More
130 Gaylord Road, New Milford, CT 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 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 Sherman town line the trail enters the Strauss Preserve, whose meadows are studded with carried plantings of conifers and a trailhead at the end of Edmonds Road.Read More
43 Mt. Tom Road, New Milford, CT 06776 Preserve Acres: 50
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, Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy acquired this forty-acre parcel and along with the New Milford Youth Agency created a spur trail to connect the Pratt Nature Center’s trails to a western access point. Over the years, Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy has acquired two major tracts of land and two easements totaling 134 acres.Read More
40A Obtuse Road North, Brookfield, CT 06804 Preserve Acres: 175
The Birch Rocks and Pratt Glen Preserve is over 175 acres of permanently protected hardwood forest, streams, wetlands, and 2.5 miles of public trails that wind along the shore of Lake Lillinonah. In 2019 Brookfield Open Space Legacy, Inc. merged with Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy. The merger represented 50 years of conservation planning and partnership, and our adjoining lands became the Birch Rocks and Pratt Glen Preserve.
At Birch Rocks and Pratt Glen, the topography hides Lake Lillinonah until you approach the water’s edge. The trail descends close to the lake, but not so close as to disturb an important foraging area for otter, mink, eagles, and osprey. The trail passes by a spruce and white pine plantation, old groves of hemlocks and dogwoods, crosses seasonal brooks, and if you’re heading to or from Ashwood Lane, crosses a steep ravine with very tall mature tulip poplar, oak, and beech trees. The damage from the 2018 macroburst is evident as the trail winds around enormous uprooted and snapped trees. Based on the findings of a 2016 Audubon Connecticut bird survey, at least 34 bird species are supported in the Preserve including woodpeckers, turkeys, and owls. Other wildlife sightings here include coyotes and black bears. As you enjoy the preserve, we ask that you remain on the trails to protect the local flora and fauna.Read More
499 Kent Road, New Milford, CT 06776 Preserve Acres: 115
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.Read More
24 Caray Hill Road, Sharon, CT 06069 Preserve Acres: 163
One of Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy’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. Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy 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.Read More