Hiking Aspetuck Land Trust




Jump Hill Preserve - Aspetuck Land Preserve - Easton, CT
Jump Hill Preserve - Aspetuck Land Preserve - Easton, CT
The Trout Brook Valley Preserve is part of the larger Aspetuck Land Trust in Easton Ct. This not-so-obvious park contains Fairfield County's premiere hiking and mountain biking trails. I had second thoughts about blogging about this site; there seems to be an understanding that this is a best-kept-secret best kept secret. Hiking for three hours without encountering another human nor hearing a car in one of the nation's most densely populated regions is an experience you might not want to tell your friends about.





Trout Valley Preserve - Aspetuck Land Trust - Easton CT
Trout Valley Preserve - Aspetuck Land Trust - Easton CT
Saugatuck Reservoir, Aspetuck Land Preserve
Saugatuck Reservoir, Aspetuck Land Preserve 
Living in Connecticut today, it is hard to imagine an exodus from the "country" to cities like Bridgeport. That depression era history plays in reverse now. Farmers who owned plots that now host multi-million dollar estates in Westport and Easton were begging for people to buy their land so that they could move into the manufacturing super-powers on The Sound. Along came the water companies who were tasked with finding steady and reliable water for the industries who hammered out World War II's war machinery. Farms were bought and then the valleys were flooded. Such is the history of the many reservoirs of Connecticut and New England. The water wars of the 21st century have yet to be fought - but they are coming - and Connecticut will fare well with its ample supply of local fresh water.

Aspetuck Land Preserve, Easton Ct
Aspetuck Land Preserve, Easton Ct
Aspetuck is a massive land trust - the high ground between the Aspetuck and Saugatuck Reservoirs. It was meant to be an exclusive housing development. Oh what a marvelous gated estate village it would have been. It might even have inspired the setting for an Ang Lee film - perhaps entitled: The Ice Storm. But, alas, some pesky progressive preservationists led by actor Paul Newman got to it first. Now it sits and wastes its real estate value on the regrowth of forests so wide and deep they might inspire, dare I say it, - poetry. And they let anybody in! Fee free ... if you can find it.

The preserve, despite its size, seems to be wrapped within a fold in the fabric of suburban Fairfield County life. It is a wrinkle in the grand plan for an impenetrable sea of estates and hobby farms. It is submerged in plain sight.

Take Valley Forge Road and hang a right on Bradley Street. Don't worry if you miss the turn - you won't end up in Valley Forge. The town is literally submerged beneath the Saugutuck. If you find the roads around Easton and Weston to be mysteriously disconnected - it is because they are. Where once they ran through and to places - they now dead end; the topography of the land is altered severely by the dammed rivers and their submerged valleys.

Moss pad at Aspetuck Land Trust
Moss pad at Aspetuck Land Trust
And so, what might have been "thickly settled" has instead become a small Eden. Various 'wolf trees' tell the story that the landscape was once picked and plowed. These woods are mostly new growth - less than a century old. Yet the forest is being reclaimed one lump of moss at a time. Rare birds are beginning to nest here, indicating a verdant and vital ecology.

Red Trail at Aspetuck Land Trust
Red Trail at Aspetuck Land Trust
It is a far-away place close to home. You can, as I have, run out here after work and catch a few miles of good hiking before dark.

The climbs are impressive enough to wind any level hiker, and in a few places quite vertical. The trails tend to bring you on rolling courses - up and down. This is why they are also popular with mountain bikers. You will have a well earned sweat whether on foot or bike.

My favorite route is to take the red trail from Bradley Road to its end. Catch the white trail back to Ruth's Trail (Yellow) and around the orange Trail back to white and home to Bradley Road's parking lot. That totals up to about 6 miles and takes me 2-3 hours.

There are other features of the preserve. There is an expansive community orchard (I know, who let these socialists in here? - just giving away organic blueberries! - Harrumph!) with a few hundred blueberry bushes. Also, an all natural playground (Yep, it's a hippie-verse like you might find in New Hampshire right here in Fairfield!) . I haven't run into either of these features yet. But, since this preserve is located 10 minutes from home, I'm sure I will cover every foot of it before too long.

DIRECTIONS

Address for your GPS: 1 Bradley Rd Weston, CT 06883

| Coordinates: N41.245365,W073.342453 |
From Bridgeport10 Minutes
From New Haven35 Minutes
From Hartford1 Hour
From New London1.5 hours
From Providence2.5 Hours
From New York1.5 Hours



LINKS

Trout Valley Preserve Trail Map

New England Mountain Bike Association

Aspetuck Land Trust