Hidden Valley Preserve
Bee Brook Road, Washington, Litchfield County, Connecticut

(There was a gate with the writing "Steep Rock Reservation, Bee Brook Area" but I do believe it is now known as the Hidden Valley Preserve.)


Saw Mill River Parkway north to US 684 north to US 84 east; exit 7 for Route 7 north (set the odometer at 0); at 11.8 miles turn right onto US 202/Bridge Street in New Milford; at 20.0 miles turn left onto Route 45 north; at 20.6 pass West Shore Road and Lake Waramaug; turn right onto Route 47 south; drive 1.9 miles to the Bee Brook Parking Area on the left; park on either side of the bridge over the Shepaug River.

Coming from Washington north, the parking area is 1.1 miles north of the Hickory Stick Book Store near the junction of Routes 47 and 109.


1963 Jean and Adrian Van Sinderen donate 650 acres, now called Hidden Valley, to the Steep Rock Association.

1976 a wooden footbridge over Bee Brook allows dry access to the Hidden Valley entrance just north of the Rt. 47 highway bridge.

1977 forester John Marsh and Michael Alex build the Hidden Valley footbridge across the Shepaug River.

1987 a new footbridge replaced the 1977 one.

Source:  http://www.steeprockassoc.org/History.html


Cross country skiing, camping, hiking.


From the parking area north of the Bridge over the Shepaug River there is a short circular walk on the white-blazed Bee Brook Trail (sandwiched between Bee Brook on the west and the Shepaug River on the east and south). This trail can be expanded by hooking up with trails on the other side of the Shepaug River. There is a bridge over the river on the east side of the Bee Brook Trail that joins with the yellow-blazed Van Sinderen Trail).

From the parking area south of the Bridge over the Shepaug River, you can choose one of three different tiers of trails. (At times you can see people walking on all three levels at the same time.) There is an unblazed trail that parallels the southern shore of the river (and crosses over the river to the white trail). There is a second tier trail (yellow-blazed) that also parallels the river at first but then heads eventually to the pinnacle and later north to the look-out point. And there is a third tier that eventually goes to the blue-blazed Pinnacle Trail that from the pinnacle heads southeast and then northeast to the East Entrance on Sabbaday Lane.

The Van Sinderen Trail from the south eventually hooks up with the red trail that becomes a three and one half mile loop trail (if you wish to take the circular part of the trail). It is all a little confusing so, study the trail map at the kiosks. You may want to draw it out on paper and carry along a compass (which you should always have with you anyway when you are hiking). There is an old quartz mine on the Van Sinderen Trail.  The mine was active from the mid 1800s until 1915.  The quartz was transported by wagon to the Hudson River, at first by wagon, and later by rail.  (There is still indications of the old railroad spur and a cut for hand carts.)

("Steep Rock Association Hidden Valley Reservation Map and Trail Guide" can be obtained at the Hickory Stick Bookshop.)

There is a Shepaug Greenway that starts at the parking area near the southeast corner of the junction of Church Hill Road and River Road.  The trail heads northeast and goes up Barnes Road north to take a left jog to go around the Primary School, passes over Route 47, goes behind the Hickory Stick Bookshop to head along the Shepaug River on the eastern side of Route 47 and then reaches the parking area where the bridge crosses over the Shepaug River on Rt. 47 as described above.  (A post card map can be obtained at Hickory Stick Bookshop.)

The hiker can walk along the Shepaug River and cross over the footbridge  to walk to the Terrick House site.  (There is a map of the trails at the kiosk.)  There are lots of trails at the Preserve.

8/15/2005.  Ceferino Santana, dog Sonar and I parked north of the bridge over the Shepaug River.  The heat wave finally broke and we had a much cooler morning this morning for our walk.  We walked along the north side of the Shepaug River.  The area has a great many hemlock trees. 

Coming to the bridge over the Shepaug Rive, we crossed to the river's south side.   We turned right to walk along the river side.  After a short hike the riverside trail ended so we had to walk the short distance over to the parallel yellow trail.  We went through a stand of white pine trees.  (Some of them are in such a straight line that they may have been planted.)  The yellow trail came down to the river side but above it on a cliff.  The narrow trail was interesting especially with the green moss covered cliff sides.   It is a very pretty walk in a coniferous woods.  Coming back to Route 47, there was a nice field area with lots of field and roadside plants in bloom.   Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney, March 2, 2002 and August 15, 2005
* = blooming on 8/15/2005

Acer pensylvanicum (striped maple)
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Betula papyrifera (white birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Castanea dentata (American chestnut)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus pensylvanica (green ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Pinus strobus (white pine) grove of it
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak )
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Thuja occidentalis (arbor-vitae)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)  lots
Ulmus rubra (slippery elm)

Alnus sp. (alder)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Chimaphila maculata (spotted wintergreen)
Cornus amomum (swamp hazel)
Corylus sp. (hazel)
Gaultheria procumbens (checkerberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Rhamnus frangula (European buckthorn)
Rhododendron maximum (rosebay rhododendron)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus flagellaris (northern dewberry)
Rubus hispidus (swamp dewberry)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry)
Vaccinium sp. (a low-bush blueberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Vinca minor (periwinkle)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Euonymus fortunii (euonymus)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis labrusca (fox grape)

Acalypha sp. (three-seeded mercury)
Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)
Agrimonia gryposepala (common agrimony)     *
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)      *
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Anemone quinquefolia (wood anemone)
Apocynum sp. (dog bane)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)
Arctium lappa (greater burdock)     *
Arctium minus (common burdock)    *
Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the pulpit)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Aster acuminatus (sharp-leaved aster)    
Aster spp. (aster)  
Aster umbellatus (flat-topped aster)     *
Bidens spp. (beggar tick)
Boehmeria cylindrica (false nettle)     *
Cardamine impatiens (narrow-leaved bittercress)
Chenopodium album (pigweed)
Cichorium intybus (chicory)     *
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade)
Cirsium muticum (swamp thistle)     *
Collinsonia canadensis (horsebalm)     *waning
Conyza canadensis (horseweed)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)     *
Dianthus armeria (Deptford pink)
Epigaea repens (trailing arbutus)
Erechtites hieraciifolia (pileweed)    *
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane)     *
Eupatorium fistulosum (trumpetweed)     *
Eupatorium maculatum (spotted Joe-Pye-weed)    *
Euthamia graminifolia (grass-leaved goldenrod)
Galium spp. (bedstraw)
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)
Geum canadense (white avens)    *    
Helenium autumnale (sneezeweed)     *
Helianthus strumosus (pale-leaved sunflower)     *
Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem artichoke)     *
Hesperis matronalis (dame's rocket)
Hieracium paniculatum (panicled hawkweed)     *
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed)     *
Lactuca biennis (tall blue lettuce)     *
Lactuca canadensis (wild lettuce)
Lepidium virginicum (poor man's pepper)
Lilium sp. (philadelphicum?) (wood lily)? 
Lobelia inflata (Indian tobacco)     *
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)     *
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Medeola virginiana (wild cucumberroot)
Medicago lupulina (black medick)
Melilotus alba (white sweet clover)     *
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe)
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)     *
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel)     *
Pedicularis canadensis (wood betony)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Pilea pumila (clearweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)     *
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonatum pubescens (hairy true Solomon's seal)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed)     *
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)     *
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Potentilla canadensis (dwarf cinquefoil)
Prenanthes altissima (tall white lettuce)
Prenanthes sp. (rattlesnake root)
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal)     *
Saponaria officinalis (bouncing bet)     *
Satureja vulgaris (wild basil)     *
Scutellaria lateriflora (mad-dog skullcap)
Silene latifolia (white campion)     *
Silene vulgaris (bladder campion)     *
Silphium perfoliatum (cup plant)     *
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal)
Smilax herbacea (carrion flower)
Solidago bicolor (silverrod)
Solidago juncea (early goldenrod)     *
Solidago gigantea (late goldenrod)     *
Solidago rugosa (rough-leaved goldenrod)
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue)
Trientalis borealis (starflower)
Trifolium pratense (red clover)     *
Trifolium repens (white clover)     *
Trillium sp. (trillium)
Urtica dioica var. dioica (stinging nettle)    *
Urtica dioica var. procera (tall nettle)     *
Veratrum viride (swamp hellebore)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)     *
Verbena hastata (blue vervain)     *
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell)
Viola spp. (violet)
(tall coneflower)     *

Juncus tenuis (path rush)

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

Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Elymus hystrix (bottle-brush grass)
Elymus sp. (wild rye grass)
Elytrigia repens (quack grass)
Leersia virginica (white grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Phleum pratense (Timothy grass)
Setaria glauca (yellow foxtail grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Equisetum hyemale (scouring rush)
Lycopodium obscurum (ground pine)
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Matteuccia struthiopteris (ostrich fern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Osmunda claytoniana (interrupted fern)
Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
Polypodium sp. (rock cap fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)
Thelypteris palustris (marsh fern)

Back to the w. Connecticut Page
Back to the Main Page