Erbacher Preserve

River Road, Roxbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut

262 acres


Entry is from the River Road Preserve across the Volunteer's Bridge. The River Road Preserve is located on River Road off Weller's Bridge Road and Route 67. See River Road Trail Map.

Follow Route 67 via Brookfield/Bridgewater/New Milford way and over the Roxbury town line. Shortly after the town line sign 67 curves sharply to the left. A short distance later you'll see a small bridge spanning the Shepaug River. Take a right here onto Weller's Bridge Road. A few hundred yards up Weller's Bridge Road is River Road which becomes part dirt road. Take a right onto River Road and the River Road Preserve parking lot will be on your right a few tenths of a mile up the dirt road.


1984  --  the Preserve was a gift of Joan Erbacher McMahan and Edward Erbacher.


Hikers must walk 3/4 mi. through the River Road Preserve and cross the Volunteer's Bridge to access the Erbacher Preserve. The walks are easy to moderate on hilly terrain.

The walk from Volunteer's Bridge to the field along the Railroad Bed is 0.8 of a mile.

The Loop walk starts from the field, up the hill and back to the Railroad Bed and is 1.2 miles long. 

The first section of the trail lies on the old Railroad Bed. It is wide, level, and has excellent footing. At the field, the trail turns right and begins to climb, eventually reaching its highest point. A "ranch pole" marks the end of the climb; the trail turns sharply to the right, and begins its gradual descent back to the Railroad Bed.

The rocks and boulders that punctuate this and many hillsides of New England are evidence of the movement of glaciers during the last ice age. A variety of plant communities can be found here, too. There is a mixture of hardwood trees, plentiful mountain laurel and also hemlocks. Hemlocks are a shade-tolerant species. They can grow beneath the upper canopy formed by the hardwoods.


Ersbacher Preserve is located in Roxbury, CT and is a wonderful place to go and get away from it all. The preserve consists of a parcel of land donated by the Erbacher Family as a place to relax and take in some fresh air. The neat thing about Erbacher is you have to walk through another preserve just to get to it. There are no roads accessing the preserve. River Road Preserve, located off of River Road, has a Roxbury residents-only swimming hole and blue trail loop that you'll need to hike on in order to access Erbacher Preserve. At the farthest point of River Road trail is a footbridge over the Shepaug River. Cross this bridge to access the entrance to Erbacher. Before heading over the bridge read the map and information board to familiarize yourself with the Erbacher trail system and get any updates on the preserve.

After heading over the footbridge take a left onto the trail as it follows an old dirt utility road. To your right will be thick woodlands and on your left you'll see boggy areas and open fields at various spots along the trail. After a good distance down the utility road path, the trail turns right and heads into the woods (just keep an eye to the right as you walk down the path as it would be easy to miss this right turn and just keep walking on the old dirt utility road. Look for the small blue markers with metal icons of a hiker in them). The trail proceeds farther into the woods for an extremely peaceful experience. A short distance later as the trail dips down for a brief time there is a side trail into some great open fields. In summertime these fields are loaded with tall grasses, wildflowers, butterflies, and birds along with a wide range of interesting insect life. It's a good place to take a break before proceeding on with the rest of your hike. Shortly after the open field excursions the trail rises up again to the right. You'll be presented with a choice of going right or straight. You need to go right and follow the trail as it continues through the woods and eventually back down to the dirt utility road part of the trail where you began. When you get back to the utility road take a left and head back to the footbridge. Go back over the footbridge and go to the left as the river trail will take you back to your car at the parking lot of River Road Preserve.

Main attractions: Nice Shepaug River walks, woodlands, open fields, footbridge over the river, fishing.


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