Route 199 (North Street), Roxbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut
There are two entrances to the trails on these preserves:
The first is located off North Street (Rt. 199). From the Roxbury Town Hall, take Rt. 67 north for about 1/2 mi. and turn right onto Rt. 199. After 3/4 mi. look for a blue-blazed utility pole on the right. The trail begins by the white barn. (You make a right turn just after house #155 and drive up the short entrance to a parking area near the gate.)
A second entrance to the trail system is on Moosehorn Road. Follow the same route to the first entrance, but continue on Rt. 199, past the blue-blazed pole for another 1.2 mi. Turn right onto Davenport Road and continue for 0.7 mi. to Moosehorn Road. Turn right onto Moosehorn. The entrance is 0.7 mi. on the right. Turn into the field at the sign. Park on the edge of the field.
1977 -- the Beardsley preserve was a gift of Caroline H. Beaumont, Elizabeth Boardman, and Hugh Hazelton Jr.
1978 -- the Humphrey Preserve was a gift of John Hersey Humphrey.
1985 -- the Moosehorn Access to Humphrey Preserve was a gift of Joseph T. Foster, Jr.
The Blue Blazed Loop is 3.0 mi. long.
The Red Blazed Loop is 1.0 mi. long.
The Preserves have two long loops for hikers:
The Blue Trail is a perimeter hike over the preserve's rolling terrain. There are some steep climbs along this trail.
The shorter Red loop skirts both banks of Moosehorn Brook east of the Caroline Glen. The Caroline Glen is the scenic center of the Beardsley Preserve. Tall hemlocks rise above and around a rocky gorge, through which a brook cascades and falls.
Emily Griffith Beardsley Preserve is a great find
for those who looking for thick forest cover and secluded woodlands. The start
of the hike is deceiving as the trail skirts between two residential lawns
before heading into the woods. If not for the clearly marked sign signifying the
entrance, you'd never know a nice jewel of a hike is present here. There's a
peaceful hike awaiting a trekker with a nice cascading stream that at one point
flows through a small but very picturesque gorge.
The preserve is part of Roxbury's Land Trust and like all property associated with Roxbury's Land Trust, the trail system is extremely well maintained. Like a lot of the hikes in this part of Connecticut (Southbury, Woodbury, Bridgewater) the trails aren't extremely challenging or great distances like the more challenging mountains of the northwest corner, but they all are really nice hikes. And many of them have remnants of colonial history in their midst...an old sawmill once cranked away at the gorge part of Griffith Beardsley Preserve. It's very su prising to pull off a main road (Route 109) in the middle of a neighborhood, hop out of your car, and within a few minutes find yourself in another world. And because Roxbury is not overpopulated with "suburb invasion" like a lot of surrounding towns, it's very easy to find yourself deep in the woods with nothing but the sounds of nature or an occasional overhead plane to be heard.
The tall pines that greet you and the cascading river that tumbles down the hillside provide a rain forest type feeling at certain times. The small gorge is a nice su prise and although not huge in size it still captures the imagination. Be careful as you walk up to see the gorge as there are no signs warning you of the drop off which is obviously dangerous if you're not exercising caution and common sense. After taking a few minutes to check out the gorge make your way up to the footbridge that was built by a local Boy Scout chapter. At this point you have a choice. Stay with the blue trail loop or go over the bridge and take the red trail loop. The red trail rises up the hill and takes you through deep woodlands. (The large wooden map at the beginning of Emily Griffith says there's a lookout at the highest point of the red trail but it appears to be outdated. Maybe out one time there was but trees and forest growth have probably taken over at the spot and there isn't an overlook that we are aware of at this time. Please let us know if we are wrong about this.) But the red trail is a nice excursion and will also afford you a nice look of the gorge and stream for the other side. The blue trails loops around the other portion of the preserve and is primarily heavy forest cover which makes for some peaceful hiking. It's relatively flat in relation to the red trail.
Great Falls area Canaan
All in all, Emily Griffith Beardsley Preserve offers a great forest hike with a nice cascading stream to highlight your experience here. If you like peace and quiet and tall forest feeling then you should make tracks for Emily Griffith Beardsley Preserve. (For the cascading stream and gorge area it's best if you can go after a recent rain as the stream probably is minimal during very dry times.)
Difficulty: Easy or Moderate
Main Attractions: Cascading stream, river scenes, small gorge, woodlands, fields, footbridge over the river.
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