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Lucius Pond Ordway Preserve (Devil's Den)

Ownership

The Nature Conservancy

Acreage

1,710

Entrances

Main entrance in Weston at end of Pent Road, off Godfrey Road West

Parking

At main entrance

Trails

Some 21, totaling more than 20 miles

Conditions

Visitors are requested to register at the map shelter in the center of main parking area. Groups of 10 or more must register by phone in advance

Background: The Lucius Pond Ordway Preserve, better known as Devil's Den, is the largest nature preserve in southwestern Connecticut. And it is a jewel. Cut over extensively by charcoal makers at the turn of the last century, the forest here regenerated under successive management of the Yale School of Forestry, the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company and The Nature Conservancy, which acquired the property in the 1960's with funds donated by the late Katherine Ordway of Weston. The Den now serves as the anchor site within the Saugatuck Forest Lands, a Conservancy project encompassing 45,000 acres of forest and river in the upper Saugatuck River Watershed. The following information is adapted from Conservancy materials:

Key Features: Godfrey Pond, an 18th century mill pond. The Saugatuck Wildlife Refuge, an extensive swamp along the West Branch of the Saugatuck River. Weston's Great Ledge (not to be confused with Redding's Great Ledge nearby.) Ambler Gorge, a rocky cascade in a craggy ravine.

Suggested walks from the Weston Entrance. Here are just a few samples of round-trip walks from the main parking area:

Godfrey Pond via the Laurel Trail (1.1 mile).

Ambler Gorge via the Saugatuck and Ambler Trails, returning via the Den and Pen Trails (2.8 miles).

The Portable Sawmill via the Laurel and Godfrey Trails, returning via Hiltebeitel, Deer Knoll and Pent Trails (3.3 miles).

The Grand Tour of the Den via the Pent, Den and Bedford Trails; returning via Aspetuck, Perry and Laurel Trails (5.6 miles).

Suggested round trips from Redding: Mileage figures here reflect distances in Weston only.

Godfrey Pond via Deer Run and Godfrey Trails, returning via Perry, Aspetuck and Dayton (Posts 63 to 56) Trails (5.6 miles).

Ambler George (from Brinckerhoff) via Ensor's Trace, the Donohue and Ambler Trails, returning via Den Trail, the crossover to Moller Trail and Ensor's Trace (2.8 miles).

The Deer Knoll-West Branch Circuit via Ledge, Dayton, Godfrey, Hiltebeitel, Deer Knoll, Saugatuck and Sap Brook, returning via same route from Post 39 to Redding (6.4 miles). ❧