Overlook Park
off Nashville Road, Bethel, Fairfield County, Connecticut
38 acres


Saw Mill River Parkway north to its end at mile marker 29;  get onto US 684 north; drive about 11 miles and take exit 9E (at mile marker 28) to get onto US 84 east; get off at Exit 8; turn right onto Newtown Road;  turn left onto Plumtrees Road (just after McDonalds on the left and before Burger King on the right);  drive 1.4 miles to a T-intersection; turn right onto Shelter Rock Road; turn right onto Walnut Hill Road; turn right onto Plumtrees Road; turn right onto Maple Avenue; go past the Citgo Gas Station and cross Greenwood Avenue; take the middle road (Nashville Road) of 3 road choices (Chestnut Street is on the left and South Street is off to the right); drive a short distance and you will see the sign for Overlook Park; turn right into the parking area.  Park.  The path starts at the chain across the trail up to the picnic area. 

camping, trails, picnicking

Overlook Park consists of walking trails and six campsites. A permit from Parks and Recreation is required for the use of the park.


7/15/2005.  Ceferino Santana, dog Sonar and I parked in the parking area of the park on another overcast day.  In fact, at first it was a little difficult to see the plants because it was so dark.  The camping/hiking area is near the top of a small hill surrounded by a road and houses. 

We walked around the gate and then up the hill to a Sani-Jon flipped on its side and a green building (maintenance?).   We turned left and walked past a large fireplace on the right.  On a tree there was a yellow, a white and a red trail marker.   (But as far as we could tell, the only real trail was the red one.)

We passed by the picnic area (with a few separate benches).  We saw 3 pairs of  large earthen ramps and 3 small earthen ramps for mountain biking jumps with large/small holes between each pair. 

We decided to follow the red trail.  It went uphill on to the top of the hill with its typical ridge type vegetation: chestnut oak and stiff aster.  We walked along the ridge for a short ways and then the red trail descended off the hilltop and continued on its loop trail around the hill.  We went past a small fireplace off to the side of the trail.  The trail started slowly declining back down to the flat land where we had started our tour.

The hike was so short that I decided we should go around again, this time following a different color.  We decided to follow the white trail, but it soon petered out and left us on the side of a ridge.  We pushed on through the vegetation growing on the old trail and went down and then up to connect with the red loop trail.  It was a very short walk.  We returned to the flat land via the red trail.   Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

*  =  plant blooming on date of field trips, 7/15/2005

Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya glabra (pignut hickory)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Catalpa sp. (catalpa)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)
Ulmus rubra (slippery elm)

Shrubs and Subshrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)  
Chimaphila maculata (striped wintergreen)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)  
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)

Actaea alba (white baneberry)
Agrimonia gryposepala (common agrimony)      *
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)     *
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Antennaria plantaginifolia (plantain-leaved pussytoes)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)    
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Aster linariifolius (stiff aster)
Chelidonium majus (celandine)     *
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade)     *
Cryptotaenia canadensis (honewort)
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)
Geum canadense (white avens)     *
Hackelia virginiana (Virginia stickseed)     *
Hieracium venosum (rattlesnake hawkweed)     *
Lespedeza sp. (bush clover)
Lysimachia quadrifolia (whorled loosestrife) 
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe)    
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel)     *
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonatum sp. (true Solomon's seal)
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot)
Satureja vulgaris (wild basil)     *
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal)   
Trifolium pratense (red clover)     *
Trifolium repens (white clover)     *
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell)

Juncus tenuis (path rush)

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

Danthonia spicata (poverty grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)


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