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The Best Hikes of Devil's Den Preserve

32 Triplog Reviews in the Devil's Den Preserve
Most recent of 2 deeper Triplog Reviews
10.9 mi • 1,727 ft aeg
After my Thursday introduction to Devil's Den, I returned Saturday after a rain-filled Friday.

It was about 34, and there were scattered snow showers as I got going. I had set a goal of getting a GPS track on the remainder of the trails in the preserve that I had not hit on Thursday, hoping to get them uploaded into a Mapped Area in HAZ. My rough estimate was about 9 miles, but it turned out to be almost two more. I did have to back track on a couple of trails to meet my requirements, which was a little bit of a pain.

But it was a nice day and I got to see some cool old sawmill relics. I also really enjoyed the Hiltebeitel Trail, which runs along a rocky ridgeline and was by far the most interesting of all the trails in the preserve.

Ultimately, I got to all the trails and felt a good sense of accomplishment. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure I spent more time getting all the data into HAZ than I actually spent hiking it! I do hope somebody else uses it sometime (Bob, Alex? I'm looking at you!)
11.2 mi • 1,681 ft aeg
I decided to get out of the house and explore Devil's Den. Connecticut is so different from Arizona. There's just no large public/open lands. So hiking here is limited to small parks and preserves, usually resulting in trails that are only a couple of miles long at best.

Devil's Den is the largest preserve in this part of the state, and subsequently features about 20 miles of trails. It's still small by comparison to western standards, only about 2 x 3.5 miles total! But it does allow for a large loop of about 9 miles, and I explored a few other trails to get my mileage up.

The amazing thing is that there are no real hills. Nothing more than 50 feet at a time, but there are endless small hills and valleys, and I wasn't really surprised to see the AEG pile up. But it's easy elevation because it happens in short bursts.

Once getting out of the mess/maze of trails near the trailhead, it was nice to get to the northern portion of the preserve where there were segments of trail that were about a mile long that allowed me to get in a good groove. The views from the "great ledge" were nice. The lack of foliage made it more open than it would be in the summer, but I imagined that this entire preserve would be stunning during the peak of New England's autumn foliage. The view from the ledge looks over Saugatuck Reservoir and the hills of Monroe and Newtown to the east.

The weather was nice for hiking, mostly sunny, about 40 degrees. I saw two other people all day (actually saw them twice), and there were two cars in the lot when I got there, and two different cars there when I left. All in all, a great day hiking!

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