Ground Pine Sanctuary

Town of Redding
Sport Hill Road, at top of hill one-quarter mile from Stepney Road
Abandoned dirt road at entrance

Sanford Trail, 1.4 miles, white blazes
Grouse Run, 0.14, blue
The Snipe, 0.7, blue

Background: Ground Pine Sanctuary, acquired by the Town of Redding in 1973, was once a part of the Sanford Farm-and former First Selectman Jesse Sanford remembered it fondly as a cow pasture. Nowadays the prevailing hoofprints run a bit wilder. The trails system here was designed and executed for the Conservation Commission by James Ellsworth of Redding.

Key Features: Walking at the north end of the Sanctuary is relatively flat and easy. Toward the south, the ups and downs are somewhat more strenuous.
After leaving the entrance area, the Sanford Trail passes a giant oak-no doubt a "wolf tree" from long-gone pasturing days-and rises gently to higher ground beyond an intermittent stream. When the first Book of Trails was written the floor of this born-again forest was covered with ground pine, which gave the sanctuary its name. Nature moves on, and now no-one can find ground pine in the sanctuary anymore. There are scattered hemlocks here, and red cedar, a successional sign that these woods were open fields not so long ago. Where the main trail swings into the southern half of the Sanctuary, the forest begins to show more maturity-large oaks and shagbarks and sugar maples. And the land starts to dip and roll more steeply. Those preferring to avoid one relatively steep ascent on the Sanford Trail are advised to use the Snipe cutoff instead. The Sanford finally emerges at Sport Hill Road, and a short 350-yard stroll north returns the hiker to the parking area. ❧