This week, LLT is featuring the beautiful Shepaug Crossing Preserve Trail, a moderate/difficult trail that is 2.3 miles in length. The trail head is located on the north side of Route 202, 3.2 miles west of the village of Bantam and approximately 300 feet west of the entrance of Garland Road and east of the Shepaug River bridge. Look for our LLT sign. We hope you will enjoy this trail safely, observing social distancing. Please take photos and share your observations with us!
The trail, indicated by blue blazes, consists of a main stem and a loop. The route mostly traverses moderate slopes, but includes a relatively short steep portion and occasional rocky and wet areas.The stem trail proceeds up slope through
a forest of oak, birch and hemlock trees, occasionally crossing small seasonal streams and boulder strewn areas. It then descends between ancient ‘borrow pits’ where stone was extracted, and finally meets the laneway of the old turnpike and bears right. The loop portion of the trail begins about 50 feet further along where one leg continues up the old road and the other turns left towards the river. Taking the latter option, one shortly reaches the river’s edge. The trail heads upstream, occasionally passing old stone walls, sometimes on level floodplain and sometimes along rocky riverbank.
Ahead lay the ruins of a large dam, and directly across the river the remains of stone foundations and spillways. This is the site of the Hitchcock-Pratt iron forge (west side, 1782) and the Peters Forge (east side, 1799); these forges converted pig iron into iron bars and sheets. The trail ascends the dam, and continues upstream to Tumbledown Brook. Here the trail turns to the right and follows the brook uphill. At the top, the remains of ancient bridge abutments can be observed. The trail is moderately level and turns south, eventually meeting up with the old turnpike roadway. The abandoned laneways lying ahead and to the left both lead shortly to private property. Turn right and follow the roadway downhill to complete the loop. From this point, return to the trailhead via the stem trail.
The land was donated to LLT by C. A. Litchfield Land, LLC in 2015.
CLICK HERE to view our trail maps.
Please enjoy our Shepaug Crossing Preserve Trail Gallery below...
(Click photos for captions and to enlarge)