|Saugatuck Falls in the Saugatuck Falls Natural Area in Redding is a beautiful destination for a hike.|
Updates to The Book of Trails III and The Book of Trails IV
by Joan Ensor and John G. Mitchell
The third edition was published 1992 by the Redding Conservation Commission, the Redding Land Trust, and Redding Open Lands, Inc. The fourth edition was published in 2005 by the Redding Land Trust and the Redding Conservation Commission. In 2019, the Book of Trails was placed online by the land trust at https://reddingctlandtrust.org/bookoftrails and at https://www.hikingproject.com/club/7000590/redding-land-trust The original maps from the land trust website are more practical to print and carry. The hiking project has information on elevations and also is a useful way to see trails in relation to each other.
Updates to this book as indicated here were written in Jan. 2006, and revised in June 2019.
I spent the winters of 2004 and 2005 exploring virtually all the trails within the town of Redding. I used The Book of Trails IIIas my resource. This book is the only guide I have found to these many beautiful trails. I offer my profound thanks to the ecology-minded people who have been involved with saving the land from development, creating a trail system, and publishing the book, complete with detailed information and maps. The narratives are interesting, and make the book well worth purchasing, even if you only plan to visit the trails from the comfort of you armchair.
While using the third edition and the subsequent fourth edition, I did discover certain limitations, which prompted the creation of this document in 2006 and its subsequent revisions. In some cases, descriptions of parking and trailheads are often frustratingly sketchy. I have added additional details for parking and trailheads, usually described in relation to the nearest house. Since the trails were created, changes happened within the lands themselves and the trail system proper. This includes trail signs and blazes that have fallen prey to wind and weather.
These notes supplement Books IIIand IV in providing additional detail, especially with regard to parking and locating trailheads. Since Book III, there is one major change in Redding Land Trust policy: dogs are permitted on most these trails, provided they are under control of the owner. Exception: dogs are still prohibited on any trails that pass through Centennial Watershed State Forest, which is part of the watershed for the nearby reservoirs, including the Great Ledge.
Book IVincludes information about properties the land trust has acquired between 1993 and its publication in 2005. Through the sale of Aquarion Water Company lands in Redding to the state of Connecticut, the Nature Conservancy, and the Redding Land Trust since 2005, even greater portions of the town are now open space. This is wonderful news because some very scenic trails are now protected from the threat of development. State lands are all called Centennial Watershed State Forest.
Within the state forest, there are two trails created following publication of the Redding trails book: the Saugatuck Trail Extension, which head south along the east side of the Saugatuck Reservoir into Easton before turning east, where it meets the Aspetuck Valley Trail at Route 58 (Black Rock Turnpike) in Easton. The Aspetuck Valley Trail heads in a northerly direction, re-entering Redding just north of Rockhouse Road in Easton, to its terminus at Huntington State Park after crossing Hopewell Rd. The Aspetuck Valley Trail was created in 2007 and the Saugatuck and Aspetuck Trail Extensions were opened in October 2014. The Connecticut Forest and Park Association (CFPA) manage these trails. Website: www.ctwoodlands.org
The state forest trails bear the mysterious white sign: “No Trespassing, Except by Special Permit,” but do not explain what the special permit is or how one is obtained. This problem has a simple solution. Users need to obtain a free trail map for the state forest. The easiest way to get a map is to download and print one from the state website at www.ct.gov/deep/lib/deep/stateparks/maps/saugatuckreservoiraspetuckconnectortrail.pdfThis map also acts as the permit to use these trails. Note that dogs are prohibited on these trails to protect the water quality. Mountain bikes are not permitted on any trails in Redding, including the state forest.
State forest maps may be available at trailheads for the Saugatuck Trail, and the Aspetuck Valley Trail. Check also with the Mark Twain Library on Rt. 53, just north of Rt. 107. The library is open Saturdays until 5 p.m. and during the week, as well. This map may be available in the Town Clerk’s Offices in Easton Redding, Monroe, Newtown and Trumbull. You could also call Aquarion at 203-452-3510 to obtain a map. Information is available at the website: http://www.aquarion.com/CT/trailuse
There are three locations in Redding that sell The Book of Trails IV, which costs $5: the Mark Twain Library, 493 Redding Rd. (Rt. 53), the Redding Community Center, 37 Lonetown Rd. (Rt. 107), behind Redding Elementary School, and the Redding Town Clerk in Redding Town Hall, 100 Hill Rd., off Rt. 107. The Community Center and Town Hall are closed Fridays.
The Redding Land Trust has a website at www.reddingctlandtrust.org/. Hikers are encouraged to join the land trust to show support for its work, including trail maintenance and land acquisition.
Trail Book Updates
In all cases, the updates I describe refer to trail maps and information published in The Book of Trails III and The Book of Trails IV. I reference open space areas and page numbers from the books. Some page numbers vary from the third to the fourth edition. I indicate differences in this way: Saugatuck Falls (Book III,pages 46-49; Book IV, pages 52-55). If there is no need for an update, then the trail descriptions in the book are workable for the prospective hiker.
These notes focus on parking and access to the trailheads. I included little specific information about finding your way through these trails. Such details would make this guide far longer than I am prepared to write.
These are some general observations about the trails: The larger areas tend to be better used and better maintained. In most properties there are many trails in a small area, so trail intersections appear frequently. There are signs at many, but not all trail intersections. On some maps, it can be a bit difficult to figure out the name of the trail on which you are hiking. As an example, on the Little River trail map (pages 26-27), the trail between the Apex Trail and the Fraxinus Trail is not marked on the map. In reality, it is part of the Fraxinus Trail.
In some of the smaller areas, it can be challenging to follow the trails. Some of these areas were created on land donated as part of a subdivision. Naturally, developers donate the soggy land on which they cannot build anyway. As a result, trails through such areas tend to be less well defined than trails across dry ground. Since some areas are less used, trails may be a bit overgrown, blazes may be a bit faded or incomplete, and signs may be missing. Be aware of the trail markings as you hike and make sure you are following the blazes, and not straying off the trail onto a well-trodden, but unmarked path.
Redding has a past practice of not using the standard system of blazes. When the trail turns, Redding’s practice has been to have the blazes stacked one on top of another. The hiker must stand at that turn and look both ways to see which way the trail goes. In the standard blazing system, the top blaze is offset left or right, indicating which way the trail turns. In recent years, some trails are being blazed with the standard system of offsets to indicate trail direction.
Some trailheads can be very challenging to locate, which is why I describe them in relation to the nearest house, when available. Often the trailhead has only a small sign such as “Trail” or the actual trail name, such as “Westway.” Certain properties, such as Saugatuck Falls or the Rock Lot are easy to find because they have actual signboards at the trailhead.
Huntington State Park (pages 19-21)
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV:There are two updates to the map printed in Book 4: The open area north of the Sunset Hill Road parking area is now the Couch Hill Preserve, owned by the town of Redding. A description of this property may be found on page 22 in Book IV. Wood Road is labeled on the map in Book IV, but not in Book III.
Changes since Book IV:The map in the trails book provides a useful overview of the park. However, the book map is quite outdated at this point. It does not include many key details, including the parking area on Dodgingtown Road, the full trail loop in Bethel, the color codes for the trails, all the unmarked single-track trails created by mountain bikers, the Aspetuck Valley Trail entering from Hopewell Road, and the Huntington Ridge Trail out to Equestrian Ridge in Newtown.
The map for the original Aspetuck Trail, ending at Rockhouse Road in Easton, may be found at http://www.ct.gov/deep/lib/deep/stateparks/maps/aspetuckvalleytrail.pdf
The map for the complete Aspetuck Valley Trail, extending to Rt. 58 in Easton, near Redding:
It is important to note that the state now allows archery-only hunting at the park from Sept. 15 to Dec. 31. It is unusual for the state to permit hunting in a state park, but this is because of the high deer population in Fairfield County.
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection publishes the best map of Huntington State Park. This full color map includes point-to-point distances along the trail. You can download the map at www.ct.gov/deep/lib/deep/stateparks/maps/huntington.pdfA black and white copy may be found at the trail kiosk at Sunset Hill Road.
The Sunset Hill Road parking lot is better known and more commonly used, but the Dodgingtown Road lot has some advantages. When you finish your hike and you return to that lot, you do not need to slog up the semi-steep hill, which is often windswept. This other lot is less likely to be full. Alas, you do give up the views of the wolf and bear statues. To reach the Dodgingtown Road parking area, continue north for one mile past the Sunset Hill Road parking area. Turn right onto Dodgingtown Road and right into the parking lot
Ground Pine Sanctuary (pages 22 and 23)
Charles Sanford Road is a dirt road that is abandoned and blocked by boulders at the Stepney Road intersection. Park in the dirt area at the entrance off Sport Hill Road. The entrance is opposite the house at 87 Sport Hill Road.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV:The Ground Pine map in Book IVhas been reduced in size as compared to the one in Book III, yet the scale of 1 inch = 400 feet is indicated as being the same. The reduction means the scale is now incorrect for this particular map in Book IV, and, in fact, makes distances in Book IVonly for this map look longer than they really are.
Error in Books III, IV:The text states The Snipe is 0.7 miles long. It is actually 0.05 miles long.
Samuel E. Hill Little River Preserve (pages 25 to 27)
The main trailhead can be found between 19 and 21 Tunxis Trail North. There is no suitable parking on Cross Highway by the trailhead, which is near 99 Cross Highway. The trailhead for the Little River North Trail is directly opposite this trail. To stay within the Little River Preserve, head east on Cross Highway, crossing the Little River on the road. Make a right into the field past the bridge and head straight back to re-enter the woods.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV: The Equus Trail from Cross Highway is now shown paralleling the property boundary with the wording “Crossfield Scenic Area” added. The arrow indicating North is inconveniently located at the center of the book binding, making it difficult to read. Book IIIindicates that the Equus Trail is closed from March 1 to June 1. This restriction has been lifted in Book IV.
Changes since Book IV:The bridge on the Rivulus Trail over the Little River washed out after a flood in 2011 and is unlikely to be replaced, due to the expense and technical difficulties of building a bridge across a wide river.
Little River North Trail (pages 28-29)
There is no suitable parking on Cross Highway. There is limited parking on John Read Road near the bridge, maybe 2 to 3 spots. There is plenty of parking on Pheasant Ridge Rd. (off Sunset Hill Rd). The trailhead is across from 61 Pheasant Ridge Rd. From Sunset Hill Road, go 0.25 miles to the Y-intersection. Take a left. Go 0.1 miles. The trailhead is on the left. Look for the white blazes. You can also park on Putnam Hill Dr. (off Rt. 58, about sixth-tenths of a mile south of Rt. 107). The trail passes through the driveway at 8 Putnam Hill Dr.
When traveling north on the trail, as you exit Putnam Hill Drive, make a left onto Black Rock Turnpike, and walk a tenth of a mile. Look for the trailhead by the mailbox for house number 453.
It took me some time to puzzle out how the maps for the Little River Preserve and the Little River North Trail align. Look at the pages 26 and 27 for the Little River Preserve. Turn the book sideways, so that Cross Highway is at the top. The map for the Little River North Trail would fit directly on top. Note that the maps have two different scales, so it is not an exact fit.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV:Bridgeport Hydraulic (now Aquarion Water Company) land is now part of Centennial Watershed State Forest. Putnam Hill Drive is now indicated on the map.
Plishner Preserve (pages 30-31)
The trailhead is at the end of the cul-de-sac on Bartram Drive. The trail starts between the driveways for 15 and 16 Bartram Road. There is plenty of parking on this quiet cul-de-sac.
The Plishner Preserve can also be reached from Putnam Park. There is a sign marked “Trail” on the upper walkway near the guardhouse.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV: None to the preserve. This section in the book discusses how Centennial Watershed State Forest was purchased.
Changes since Book IV:There is a new trail (circa 2005) that is not mentioned in either book. The new trail now links the preserve to the youth group camping area at Putnam Park. The trail colors at the Plishner Preserve have also been revised. Formerly, all trails were marked white. Now one set of trails is marked White with a Red Dot. The other trail is blazed Red. There is no map for Putnam Park in either book. The state map may be found at this website: http://www.ct.gov/deep/lib/deep/stateparks/maps/putn.pdf
On the Beaten Track (Book IV, p. 33)
Book IVdescribes four dirt roads in town that are recommended for walking, including Poverty Hollow Road between Stepney Road in Easton and Rockhouse Road in Easton, which is closed to vehicles.
Changes since Book IV:The Aspetuck Valley Trail was established and follows Poverty Hollow Road from Stepney Road, almost to the Redding-Easton border.
Limekiln Natural Area, the Marcus Gift and Todd’s Woods
(Book III, pages 33-36; Book IV,pages 35-38)
The book suggests parking on Limekiln Road on the shoulder. I find it much better to park on the street off Ridgewood Drive, a quiet side road. The trailhead for the Accessway is 100 yards east of Ridgewood Drive (toward Rt. 53). The Boulder Trail exits onto the road opposite 117 Limekiln Road.
The map implies that the Knoll Trail is an out-and-back hike. In reality, it is actually a small loop on the northern side of the AT&T right of way. This right of way is not indicated on the map and should not be confused with the overhead Connecticut Light and Power powerlines. The Lariat trails turns up a hill to complete the loop back to the Gneiss Trail. At this location, an unmarked trail continues out to Limekiln Road. The turnoff is easy to miss, so keep an eye on the blazes.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV:John Todd Way is described in Book IIIas being proposed. The road has been built and this change has been reflected in the map for Book IV. The trail starting at the end of John Todd Way, to the right of the gate for house #15, does exist and is unmarked. Continuing straight from John Todd Way, along the unmarked trail, and crossing the AT&T right of way leads to Bald Rock in Bethel, which is owned and managed by Bethel Public Utilities. As of this writing, portions of Bald Rock are marked with “No Trespassing signs,” signs that appear to be widely ignored, given the worn quality of the trails.
Bogus Brook Preserve (Book III, pages 37-39; Book IV, pages 39-41)
The Sidecut Trail begins opposite 30 Sidecut Road. There is limited parking at the trailhead. More extensive parking is available down the street at the West Redding train station.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV: There is a minor change to the map for the Sidecut Trail.
Yovan Tract (Book III, page 40; Book IV, page 42)
Park at the trailhead on Drummer Lane, which is six tenths of a mile from Gallows Hill Road. The trailhead is between houses 50 and 58 Drummer Lane. There is plenty of parking on this street. The sign on the tree reads “Drummer Trail.”
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV: None
Gallows Hill Natural Area (Book III,pages 41-43; Book IV,43-45)
If you plan to hike only in this area, park on Drummer Lane and enter through the Yovan Tract on the Drummer Trail. There is no realistic parking on Gallows Hill Road. You can also park at John Read Middle School, 486 Redding Rd. (Rt. 53), and hike on the Reeve Biggers and Dan Beard Trails, cross Gallows Hill Road on foot, and enter the Gallows Hill area.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV: None
Changes since Book IV:The Reeve Biggers Trail crosses Tannery Brook. The water is often too high and too wide to make this crossing and stay dry and safe. The brook effectively cuts off the connection between John Read Middle School and the Gallows Hill Natural Area
The Reeve Biggers and Dan Beard Trails (Book III,pages 44-45; Book IV,46-47)
Park at John Read Middle School, 486 Redding Rd. (Rt. 53). Walk south along the shoulder of Rt. 53 for one tenths of a mile. Look for the trail leading off to the left. When connecting to the Gallows Hill area, make a right onto Gallows Hill. The entrance trail (the Drummer) will be on the left, opposite 144 Gallows Hill Road.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV: Bridgeport Hydraulic Land is now part of Centennial Watershed State Forest.
Changes since Book IV:The Reeve Biggers Trail crosses Tannery Brook. The water is often too high and too wide to make this crossing and stay dry and safe. The brook effectively cuts off the connection between John Read Middle School and the Gallows Hill Natural Area.
The Saugaway (pages 50 to 51)
No updates are needed from what is described in the books.
Saugatuck Falls Natural Area (Book III,pages 46-49; Book IV,52-55)
The best place to park is John Read Middle School, 486 Redding Rd. (Rt. 53). There is parking available at the entrance near the archery range off Diamond Hill Road. To access Stormfield from this entrance, as you exit Saugatuck Falls, make a right onto the gravel access road, make a right onto Diamond Hill Road, and then a left onto the blue-blazed Moffett’s Brook Trail. All these distances will measure less than a tenth of a mile.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV: None.
Stormfield (Book III,pages 52-55; Book IV,56-59)
The only realistic parking area is off the Fox Run Road entrance, which has perhaps six parking spaces. There are scattered places along Rt. 53 to park. The “trail” on the map connecting Stormfield to the Reservoir Trail and the Ravine Trail is not really a trail. It involves walking along the shoulder of Rt. 53.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV: None.
The Peter and Nell Fitzpatrick Preserve and Jean’s Trail (Book III,p. 56; Book IV,p. 60)
I incorporate this area into a hike from Stormfield. There is virtually no parking on Wayside Lane, only an occasional spot along the shoulder of this very narrow road. If you want to hike from the trailhead on Wayside Lane, enter the Fitzpatrick Preserve by walking down the shared driveway to 28-34 Wayside Lane, which is one third of a mile from Rt. 107. The driveway is on the right-hand side as you come from Rt. 107. At the end of the driveway, walk left down the slope into the preserve. Look for white trail blazes.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV: The mileage for the Link Trail is indicated in Book IV.
Arthur F. Brinckerhoff Nature Preserve (Book III,pages 57-59; Book IV, pages 61-63)
This preserve offers the greatest parking challenge for any Redding hiking area. There is simply no useable parking area near either trailhead. The main trailhead is located between 5 and 24 Beeholm Road, near Farview Farm Road, a private road with no public parking. There is almost no parking near this trailhead, just an isolated parking spot here and there on the shoulder. Nearby roads are also too narrow for parking. There is no parking at the trailhead on Dorethy Road. The trail from this location is at the end of the road with a wooden sign simply marked “Trail.” I access this area from the parking area off Dayton Road and hike to the Brinckerhoff Preserve through Devil’s Den.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV:References to the Orange Trail connecting the White Trail to Dorethy Road have been deleted from Book IV. The trail has been removed from the trail system.
Ravine Trail and Tussock Bog (Book III,pages 60-61; Book IV,pages 64-65)
The trailhead begins on the left side of the driveway at 56 Deer Hill Road. The road near this driveway is the best place to park and offers plenty of spaces. There is a large map kiosk and a wooden trail sign, which makes this trailhead relatively easy to see from the road.
There is only a parking spot or two along Rt. 53. The trail exits at a driveway near the causeway over the Saugatuck River on Rt. 53. When connecting to the Reservoir Trail, turn right on Rt. 53 and walk along the guardrail. The Reservoir Trail begins just past the causeway.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV: The property is now called simply the Ravine Trail. The former Bridgeport Hydraulic land is now part of Centennial Watershed State Forest. References to the Tussock Bog trail, blazed blue and only 0.2 miles long, have been deleted from Book IV, and the trail itself has been removed from the trail system.
Changes since Book IV:The Connecticut Forest and Park Association has taken over responsibility for this trail. The Ravine Trail is now called the Saugatuck Trail. The trail colors are now Blue-Red, instead of White, for the first 0.2 miles, and then are blazed Blue. At mile 0.2, the Blue-Blazed Saugatuck Trail splits, heading down opposite sides of the Saugatuck Reservoir.
Reservoir Trail (Book III,pages 62-63; Book IV,pages 66-67)
There are numerous small parking areas along this trail. The best parking area is the gravel parking lot at the corner of Rt. 53 and Valley Forge Road. From this parking area, walk south on Valley Forge Road for two tenths of a mile. The trail crosses the road at this point.
Most of the aluminum “H” signs mentioned in Book IIIare gone.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV: The former Bridgeport Hydraulic land is now part of Centennial Watershed State Forest. There are no references to the “H” signs in Book IV.
Changes since Book IV:The Connecticut Forest and Park Association has taken over responsibility for this trail. The Reservoir Trail is now called the Saugatuck Trail. The trail colors are now mostly Blue, instead of White. Blue-Red is used for the 0.2-mile segment of the former Ravine Trail connecting to the trailhead at Deer Hill Rd. Blue-Red is also used for connection to the Pillars Trail on the west side of Rt. 53. The Saugatuck Trail was extended a distance of 4.6 miles along the east side of the Saugatuck Reservoir in 2014, connecting to Black Rock Turnpike (Rt. 58) in Easton, near the Redding-Easton border.
A detailed map of the original Saugatuck Trail, which does not include the new extension, may be found at http://www.ct.gov/deep/lib/deep/stateparks/maps/saugatuckreservoirtrail.pdf
The complete Saugatuck Trail and Aspetuck Valley Trail map may be found at this website: www.ct.gov/deep/lib/deep/stateparks/maps/saugatuckreservoiraspetuckconnectortrail.pdf
Note that the mileage on this 2014 map is slightly incorrect for the new section of trails, as measured by GPS devices (and not just mine). The distance along the Aspetuck Trail from Rockhouse Road to Rt. 58 (Black Rock Turnpike) is 1 mile (not 0.8 miles). The distance along the Saugatuck Trail from Rt. 58 to Sherman Turnpike is 3.8 (not 3.4 miles), and the distance from Sherman Turnpike to the spur to Deer Hill Road is 0.8 (and not 0.6 miles). Also, the spur trail to Deer Hill Road is blazed Blue-Red, but these colors are not shown on the map.
Dayton Road to Devil’s Den (Book III,pages 64-65; Book IV,pages 68-69)
The Bruzelius Trail as marked on the map in Book IIIon page 65 no longer exists. The Redding Trail on this same map in Book IIInow bears a sign on the trail that reads “Bruzelius Trail, formerly the Redding Trail.”
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV: The updated name of the Bruzelius Trail is reflected on the map in Book IVwith any references to the Redding Trail now deleted. However, the text description on the page opposite the map in Book IVdescribes a two-acre land trust property as abutting the Bruzelius Trail. This property, marked R.L.T. on the map, in between the words “Dayton” and “Road” lies to the left of where the original Bruzelius Trail was located.
Changes since Book IV:When hiking in this area, I strongly recommend getting a copy of the Devil’s Den map, available from the Devil’s Den entrance off Pent Road in Weston or from the Nature Conservancy website. The Devil’s Den map has numerous marker posts to help orient you to the map. The Devils Den map was updated in recent years, using GPS data for the trails, which means the lines on the map follow the actual trails. On the older map, the lines were less accurate. As a result, the numbered posts on that map appeared to be in places they were not. If your map does not resemble the one from the Nature Conservancy website, throw it away because the older map increases the likelihood of getting lost. New map: http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/connecticut/placesweprotect/devils-den-trail-map-2014.pdf
The Great Ledge (Book III,pages 66-67; Book IV, pages 70-71)
The map on page 67 in Book IIIindicates “To Bruzelius Trail.” As stated in the previous section, the Bruzelius Trail near marker post 61 no longer exists. This particular section of connecting trail does not bring you directly to the “new” Bruzelius Trail. The Devils Den trail map also includes the Redding Great Ledge on its map.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV,This change has been properly reflected in Book IV. References to Bridgeport Hydraulic Company property have been removed from Book IV.
Lucius Pond Ordway Preserve: Devil’s Den (Book III,pages 68-71; Book IV, pages 72-75)
The Redding trails book map is quite good, but is no match for the full color, updated map published by the Nature Conservancy. For the most recent map, which is also in color, go to the trailhead for Devil’s Den, off Pent Road in Weston, or use the link listed above.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV: None
Lonetown Marsh Sanctuary (Book III,page 72; Book IV, page 76)
Park at Redding Elementary School, 33 Lonetown Rd. (Rt. 107) near the south entrance. Cross Rt. 107 on the crosswalk, and turn right on the opposite side. The trail starts at an opening in the stone wall, across from 29 Lonetown Road. The map does not include the full trail. The trail extends north to Deacon Abbott Lane, South, a dirt road where there is no parking.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV: None
Westway (Book III,pages 74-75; Book IV, pages 78-79)
On the north side, there is plenty of parking on Charlie Hill Road, off Marchant Farm. In the middle of this segment, there is adequate parking on Mine Hill Road, off Seventy Acre Road. Hikers can also park at the trailhead on Peaceable Street.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV: None
Marchant Farm (Book III,page 76; Book IV, page 80)
Park on Charlie Hill Road. There is little realistic parking on Topstone Road. If you park at the end of Charlie Hill Road, there is a driveway at the turnaround with a sign that says, “Private Road.” As you face the sign, the entrance is to the left with white blazes. The map does not reflect the fact that there are three stream crossings across Blackman’s Pond Brook.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV: There is a slight change to the map. In Book III, the Blackman’s Brook Trail connects to Marchant Road. In Book IV, the trail intersects Charlie Hill Road shortly before Marchant Road.
Huckleberry Swamp (the Steichen Preserve) (Book III,page 77; Book IV,page 81)
There is room for perhaps one car at the Chestnut Woods Road entrance of this neglected property. The boardwalk along the swamp has rotted and fallen into the water.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV: The map in Book IV properly reflects the fact that the boardwalk no longer exists. There is a loop on the red diamond trail within the Steichen Preserve that leads from the Westway Connector back to Charlie Hill Road. However, this trail is not shown on the map as a complete loop.
Windy Hill (Book III,page 78; Book IV,page 82)
This property is best used as a link to connect the Rock Lot and Scott Preserve with Topstone Park. There is no parking on Old Redding Road and limited parking on Seventy Acre Road. The best parking is on Mine Hill Road or Windy Hill Road, off Seventy Acre Road. The trailhead for the Tina Miller Trail (formerly the Swamp Trail) is near 90 Seventy Acre Road. The trailhead for the Dead End Trail is located on Windy Hill Road, about one-tenth of a mile from Old Redding Road. Look for a small sign that reads “Trail.”
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV: Windy Hill Road, listed as proposed on the map in Book III, has been built. This change is indicated in Book IV. A new subdivision has prompted a slight relocation of The Dead End Trail near Windy Hill Road. The trailhead is less than one-tenth of a mile from Old Redding Road and is marked by a sign that says “Trail.”
Changes since Book IV:The Swamp Trail is now called the Tina Miller Trail.
Topstone Park (Book III,pages 79-81; Book IV,pages 83-85)
According to the Redding Park and Recreation Department, parking at Topstone is no longer limited to Redding residents. I would confirm this at the park during the summer season to make sure you do not get a ticket. Park near the entrance in the off-season where there are nine parking spaces. The gate is open during swimming season. (Users must purchase a pass to swim). There is no realistic parking on Old Redding Road or Topstone Road. The trailhead off Old Redding Road is by 74 Old Redding Road. There is adequate parking available on Topledge Road or White Birch Road. The trailhead off Topledge Road is between 23 and 26 Topledge Road. The trailhead to the Saddleback Trail off Old Redding Road is located near 140 Old Redding Road.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV: The connection to Windy Hill is indicated in Book IVwith the beginnings of a trail.
Rock Lot and Mary Evelyn Scott Nature Preserve (Book III,p. 82-85; Book IV, p. 86-89)
The best parking is on Mine Hill Road, off Seventy Acre Road. The trailhead on Seventy Acre Road is opposite Mine Hill Road: 2 Mine Hill Road is a good address to use for GPS directions. There is parking at the trailhead on Peaceable Street.
The hand drawn maps in the two books are not accurate in their representation of one part of the Munro Trail, as compared to my GPS track. When heading from Peaceable Street toward Warrups Rock, the Munro Trail heads much further north than the map shows, coming fairly close to the whaleback on Joan’s Trail before turning sharply south to the curve leading to Warrups Rock.
Changes from Book IIIto Book IV: Two trails in this property have new names as compared to the ones in Book III. The Mountain Road Trail has been renamed the Lincoln Selleck Trail. The Rock Trail is now called Joan’s Trail. These changes are reflected on the map in Book IV.
Book IVmentions a loop trail running through the Meadow Ridge property near Georgetown. There is no map for this trail.
Changes since Book IV:Joan’s Trail no longer directly leads to the Great Oak. This is a good thing as that was a soggy trail segment that often required walking on the stone wall to stay out of the mud. Instead, a short, dead end blue trail (about 0.1 miles long) is a spur off Joan’s Trail to view the Great Oak.
Meadow Ridge (Book IV, p. 87)
The entrance to Meadow Ridge is located off Rt. 107, 0.40 miles north of Rt. 57. From the south, turn right into Meadow Ridge. Go 0.30 miles. Just past the switchback on the left side is a parking lot marked “Trail Parking.” There is room for four cars at this location.
To access the trailhead, continue up the hill past the parking lot for about 150 feet. A gravel trail winds up a semi-steep hill, leading to a pond with a gazebo. The trails are unmarked but easy to follow. Outside the pond area, the trails become dirt, but are still obvious.
Website Only Trails
Since the paper book was published in 2005, the Redding Land Trust continues to acquire new properties and create new trails, which are listed on the website. The website lists hikes geographically, and these are the preserves not listed in the paper book. Most information is taken from the website.
The Turkington Falls Natural Area:This 65-acre property on Old Stagecoach Road near Gallows Hill Road has 1.14 miles of trails. https://reddingctlandtrust.org/turkington
The Mary Ann Guitar Preserve:This area has a 1.7-mile loop trail blazed white that may be accessed from Old Mail Coach Road, a dead end off Rt. 107, near Deer Hill Road. There are several stream crossings on the loop, and an interesting stone foundation. A short spur trail blazed blue connects to Rt. 107, a third of mile north of Rt. 53. There is room for about 3 cars to park on Old Mail Coach Road.
No new trails.
Col. Alfred McCormack Conservation Preserve:This 238-acre property on Picketts Ridge Road by George Hull Hill Road has about 2.6 miles of trails. Due to a deed restriction, property access is restricted to members of the Stamford Fish and Game Club from Oct. 1 to Feb. 15, until February 2024. https://reddingctlandtrust.org/mccormack
Lotte Fields Bequest:This 22-acre property on George Hull Hill Road at the Saugatuck River is crossed by the Saugatuck River and has no marked trails. https://reddingctlandtrust.org/lotte-fields
Poliak Pond:This 22-acre property accessed from the railroad crossing at 193 Simpaug Turnpike has a 0.9-mile double loop trail. https://reddingctlandtrust.org/poliak-pond
Ives Trail:The Ives Trail is a 20-mile long trail through Ridgefield, Danbury, and Bethel, with a small portion in Redding. https://reddingctlandtrust.org/ives-trail
Norwalk River Valley Trail:This trail from Norwalk to Danbury through the Super 7 right of way will eventually be 30 miles, but for now has been developed in pieces in Norwalk and Wilton. https://reddingctlandtrust.org/nrvt