Florida Refuge Open Space
Florida Hill Road, Ridgefield, Fairfield County, Connecticut
63 acres


Saw Mill River Parkway north to its end (at mile marker 29); get off the exit for Route 35; at the traffic signal, turn right and head west on Route 35;  this road will take you into Ridgefield, Connecticut; turn left still following Route 35; near downtown Ridgefield, turn right onto Branchville Road; then turn left onto Ivy Hill Road; when Ivy Hill Road heads left, keep going straight onto Florida Hill Road; the nearest cross street to the parking area is High Valley Road; pass this road and then park along the north (left) side of the road across from the house #216 on the south (right).   Cross the street to the south side and pick up the trail. 

Shoulder on east side of Florida Road near trail head and

shoulder on north side of Florida Hill Rd east of High Valley Road and across from house #216;

Three entrances:

North Side of Florida Hill Road near house no. 234;
entrance on west Side of Florida Hill Road near High Plains Road; and
another entrance below the one above across from house #180. 


wetlands, large boulders, overlooks


hiking, picnicking sites


90 minute moderate walk (with some hills).

6/21/2005.  Man is this place ever confusing.  The trail designer does almost all the trail markings in yellow.  And since there a lot of twists and turns in the trail system, the hiker is going to get confused.    What is the hiker to do when faced with several T-intersections with yellow trails going both left and right?  One would do just as well with very well delineated trail paths without any trail markings.  Suggestion to the trail maintainers: use different colors for different trail destinations to prevent people from getting confused and lost.

In the morning I visited Aldrich Park.  The sky was still overcast when Dog Sonar and I parked at a pull-off along the north side Florida Hill Road across from house #216.  We crossed the road and headed onto the path by a sign saying Florida Refuge: Boulton Section. 

I could describe what I did up to a certain point, but what's the sense.  I got "lost" anyway.  I finally decided to use my compass to get out of the place.  I knew I had come in heading south and east.  So I decided to get out of the place by heading west.  I kept heading west until I reached the road, which turned out to be, luckily, Florida Hill Road.  Turned right to head north and walked a short way along the road back to my car. 

Japanese barberry is a problem with the second most troublesome plant being the winged euonymus. 

Despite the bad trail system, this is a pretty good place because it has a mix of habitats, including highlands and lowlands, skunk cabbage marsh, ponds, and swampy area.  It would be interesting to come back when more of the water species are blooming.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney. 


Catalog of Ridgefield Open Spaces: http://www.rosaopenspace.org/catalog/index.html#Blacksmith%20Ridge

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

*  =  plant blooming on date of field trips, 6/21/2005

Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)    
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Crataegus sp. (hawthorn)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Ostrya virginiana (American hop hornbeam)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Ulmus sp. (elm)

Shrubs and Subshrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)   --- lots and lots
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepper bush)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)   --  lots
Euonymus europaeus (European euonymus)  found only one   *waning
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)     *
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)   
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)   *
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)  
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)

Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)    *
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vincetoxicum nigrum (black swallowwort)  
Vitis sp. (grape)
Wisteria sp. (wisteria)

Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)    *
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Arisaema triphyllum (jack-in-the-pulpit)
Bidens sp. (beggar tick)
Cardamine impatiens (narrow-leaved bittercress)
Chelidonium majus (celandine)     *
Epipactis helleborine (helleborine orchid)
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane)     *
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot)
Galium aparine (cleavers)
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)  
Hepatica americana (round-lobed hepatica)
Hesperis matronalis (dame's rocket)     *
Impatiens sp. (touch-me-not)
Lemna sp. (duckweed)
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)  
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel)     *
Pilea pumila (clearweed)
Polygonatum sp. (true Solomon's seal)
Polygonum arifolium (halberd-leaved tearthumb)`
Polygonum caesia (cespitose smartweed)    *
Polygonum spp. (knotweeds)
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Prenanthes altissima (tall white lettuce)
Rumex obtusifolius (broad dock)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Urtica dioica var. procera (tall nettle)

Juncus effusus (soft rush)

Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered type sedge)
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)  --  lots
Carex rosea type (rosea type sedge)
Carex stricta (tussock sedge)

Bromus inermis (smooth brome grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Elytrigia repens (quack grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Adiantum pedatum (maidenhair fern)
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)



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