Saturday, November 15, 2014

Devil's Den Preserve, CT

Lucius Pond Ordway/Devil's Den Preserve - The Nature Conservancy
There was nothing about this on the web site, only that hunting is not allowed.
GPS Coordinates 41.236761, -73.395469

View Larger Map
There is more space to park.  This is at 9 AM.  At the end there will be a picture of the lot at 3 PM.  This place gets PACKED so it's a good idea to get there early.  Most people stay close to the lot so chances are you won't run into many people the the trails, especially the foot paths that are for hiking only.

Lucius Pond Ordway/Devil's Den Preserve Trail Map - The Nature Conservancy
Trails are not identified by colored blazes rather the color denotes the type of trail:
 - Yellow (thin line on map) is hiking trail only, mostly rugged, more scenic footpaths
 - Red (thick line on map) is hiking and cross country ski trail, mostly wide woods roads
 - White (thin line on map) Saugatuck Valley trails
Intersections are numbered, corresponding to the map but look carefully because the older numbers are on tree stumps and are sometimes easy to miss since they blend in.

Devil's Den Preserve, CT at EveryTrail

HIKE DISTANCE: 9.9 miles

I tried to incorporate all of the views indicated on the map using as many hiking only trails as possible since those trails seems to be more scenic and unused than the wider ski trails.
Starting on the Katharine Hill Trail, about half way around the parking lot loop.
At the top of the Katharine Hill Trail.
A red-blazed hiking/skiing trail between the Katharine Hill Trail the Saugatuck Trail.
Post #17 where the Saugatuck Trail (yellow hiking only) starts.  Posts also show the direction back to the parking lot on the side.
Saugatuck Trail
There are several boardwalk over wet spots.
One of the few wet spots - it was pretty dry during this hike.
West Branch Saugatuck River to the north
West Branch Saugatuck River to the south
Farther along, small cascades.
The way I did this hike, signs were always at the end as I was turning on to another trail.
Post #12, turning on to the Ambler trail.
Coming up on the views
Not too much of a view but the trail is scenic.
Heading up to the second view.
Not much to see here either - there would be nothing to see in the summer!
Ambler Gorge
I believe this should have raging water and waterfalls but almost bone dry right now.
Again, the sign at the end.
Some of the posts have been replaced with newer posts.  Intersection #44 turning on to the Den Trail (red).
The Den Trail - I used the red-blazed ski trails to connect to other yellow-blazed foot trails since I found the yellow trails to be more interesting.
The rugged Moller Trail where you might have to hurdle a few blow downs but nothing you can't get under/over.
Towards the end of the Moller Trail, blazes disappear and it gets a little confusing.  Head left towards the cairn, turn left at the cairn, go a short distance then veer right and you will see intersection #52 straight ahead.
A short stretch of the Bedford Trail (red) to ...
... #78 at the Cedar Cliff Trail.  The trail has hard to see with the blow downs so you have to look for it but it is there.
Lots of old stone walls on the Cedar Cliff Trail.
A huge cairn.
Some snow that survived from the dusting two nights before.
This reminded me of a Chia Head.  (a Chia Boulder?)
Finally, coming off of the Cedar Crest Trail at #80, at sign at the beginning of where I was turning on to a trail.  The Bruzelius Trail is a white-blazed trail.
And, of course, when I turn around the sign saying I had been on the Cedar Cliff Trail.  If you want to see the signs at the beginning of the trails you would have to reverse this hike and do it in a counter-clockwise direction.  It shouldn't make a difference but to see the signs it does.
Heading towards Great Ledge (and this sign is in the right place for this hike).
A scramble up ...
... to views of the Saugetuck Reservoir.
Continuing along the ledge.
Not much to see at the second vista shown on the map.
And the big sign at the end.
How it would look if you were approaching the Great Ledge in a counter-clockwise version of the hike.
Dayton Trail (yellow)
Godfrey Trail (red)
Godfrey Trail (red)
Hiltebeitel Trail (yellow)
The Hiltebeitel Trail goes over a rocky ridge.
Partial seasonal view from the Hiltebeitel Trail
Heading towards Godfrey Pond on yellow.
On the way a pre-historic Indian hunting shelter.
Godfrey Pond with a trail around the entire pond.  Here you will find tons of screaming, crying children with exceptionally loud speaking parents so yes, I do believe this hike in reverse starting out at the pond early in the morning would have been a much better idea.
Godfrey Pond Sawmill Site
At the end of the hike at 3 PM - crowded parking lot with cars parked everywhere.
Back at the home front, the jig was up. I was totally busted.
"You were out hiking without me, weren't you?"
She is doing so well, I would say 85% back to normal at this point, that we will start hiking retraining more seriously now.  We are already up to a 6-block neighborhood walk that is not wearing her out like the 5-minute walks used to a week ago.  She is just a little wobbly in the rear end sometimes but hopefully her monthly Adequan fix for arthritis that is due this coming week will straighten that out.

(Note - it is confusing to reference all of the intersection numbers and trails.  Hope I got it right but use this more as a guideline for approximate distances between intersections and be sure to take a map!)
[  0.00]  Sign in at trail register in center at kiosk; start on Katherine Hill Trail (yellow)
[  0.40]  Turn right and cross bridge towards #5; turn left at #19 (red); turn left at #16 (red)
[  0.50]  Turn left at #17 on Saugatuck Trail (yellow)
[  1.25]  Turn left at #12 on Ambler Trail (yellow)
[  1.70]  Keep right at #46
[  2.00]  Left at #45 (not on map) to vista; retrace
[  2.05]  Second vista on right; continue through Ambler Gorge
[  2.20]  Left at #44 on Den Trail (red)
[  2.70]  Left at #49 on Donahue Trail (yellow)
[  2.80]  Right at #48 on Moller Trail (yellow)
[  3.70]  When blazes fade out, head towards cairn then veer left then right towards post #52; turn left at #52 on Bedford Trail (red)
[  3.90]  Turn left at #78 on Cedar Cliff Trail (yellow)
[  4.60]  Turn right at #80 on Bruzelius Trail (white)
[  4.85]  Left at #55 (yellow)
[  5.00]  Left at #58 and #56
[  5.35]  Keep right on yellow when a white trail goes left (white is loaded with blow downs and fizzles out)
[  5.45]  Straight at #61, left at Great Ledge sign, right at #62
[  5.80]  Giant Ledge Vista
[  6.00]  Left at #60 (white) then left at #59 on Great Ledge Trail (yellow)
[  6.25]  Left at #56 then left at #58 on Dayton Trail (yellow)
[  6.50]  Right at #63 on Godfrey Trail (red)
[  6.80]  Veer left then right at #64 staying on Godfrey Trail (red) when Aspetuck Trail (red) crosses over
[  7.40]  Right at #39 on Sap Brook Trail (yellow)
[  7.75]  Left at #38 on Hiltebreitel Trail (yellow)
[  8.40]  Seasonal partial view
[  8.60]  Left at #20 on Cub Scout Trail (yellow)
[  9.00]  Left at #28 (yellow)
[  9.10]  Left at Godfrey Pond (yellow) - did not see #27
[  9.20]  Cross bridge and straight at #30
[  9.40]  Keep right on Laurel Trail (red)
[  9.50]  Turn right at end of pond, sawmill site on left; left at #24 (not on map) across bridge
[  9.60]  Right at #22 on Laurel Trail (red)
[  9.90]  Back at parking


  1. looks like another great hike, with great photos!,another reason why i really like your site it just focuses on the hike with directions and comments and not gear focused...great to hear shawnee is feeling better! great photo of her at the end!

    1. Thanks! When I started this blog I decided it would be heavy on pictures and light on words. I can never get through the flowery descriptions in hiking books without zoning out.


  2. What a great hike! Glad to hear our Shawnee furiend is getting on well,

    Nuk & Isis

    1. Thank you! And yes, she is doing so much better. Nothing gets by her now :)


  3. Been wanting to check out this hike for awhile. As always, w/your directions & pics as a guide, it'll make it that much more enjoyable when we do go. Good to read Miss Shawnee is responding to all those healing vibes. Will keep 'em coming...Big Time!!!


    1. Just remember - head to the pond first!


  4. Nice pictures. I'm so glad you put the picture of Shawnee at the end. That was cute that you were busted. Poor Shawnee. and poor you. I know you must miss her. I'm glad she is 85% better. It's so hard when our dogs get old. I have a 15 year old yellow lab that can hardly walk at all. I know how hard it is to see your best friend fading. It's good that Shawnee is still able to walk. Thanks for sharing! I look forward to your weekly emails. Joanne

    1. Thanks, Joanne. So sorry your dog is having problems walking. My other dog that does not hike is around the same age as Shawnee, 13-14, and she is having a lot of trouble walking, too. That's not something she will recover from, just the old age/arthritis stuff, and nothing that helps Shawnee does any good for her. She can't even take NSAIDs because they rip up her insides. I am grateful that Shawnee always seems to bounce back but I have to keep reminding myself she is not invincible and it will catch up with her eventually. Just stalling off as long as possible!


  5. Really great pictures! I am guessing that the one without a description is that of a female downy woodpecker. This time around I see that all trails at Devil's Den Preserve are already marked on OpenStreetMap:

    1. Thanks! I'll get around to looking at that one of these days. Haven't had a chance yet.


  6. I hope the Adequan helps Shawnee. I'm going to talk to my vet about Adequan next week. I have two border collies - one who has problems with one of her rear legs. She is only 9 1/2, though she started having problems a couple of years ago. My regular vet says arthritis - a couple of other vet friends have said a psoas injury. She can still do long hikes, but I have to give her metacam after every hike. In the evening after hikes, she is lame. During hikes she is fine. I've had some friends report good results using Adequan.

    1. Shawnee has been getting Adequan injections for over a year now. She started limping badly last year and x-rays showed a very old partial cruciate ligament tear that we never knew about. She hid it well but developed horrible arthritis in her knee because of it. Adequan was nothing short of miraculous for her. It totally got her back to hiking when I thought she was finished before the injections. It won't do anything for the vestibular disease, she is still a little wobbly in the rear end from that, but just have to wait it out and that should resolve on its own. My other dog that doesn't hike has horrible arthritis also and I went through the loading doses of Adequan with her but it did not help so I stopped. At any rate, I definitely recommend giving Adequan a try. It works for most dogs but not all. When it does work, it is like they are fully restored.


    2. Took Moxie to the vet today. My vet said that normally they wait until a dog is lame all of the time before using Adequan. I guess I should have played ball with her before her appointment! During the week, I currently limit her to leash walks in the yard. Off leash play in the yard makes her lame. My vet said it is worth a shot, so we started Adequan today. He said we should know within 2 1/2 weeks if it helps. Fingers crossed.