I have taken this hike every “Black Friday” for many years. It involves leaving a car at the finish and getting a ride to the start. Usually my wife gives me the ride. This year she was leading part of our family and part of her brother’s on an outing to New York City, so I thought I was scuppered. Step forward mother-in-law to save the day (equipped with GPS to get her home from the lands beyond the Saugatuck)!
Start: Jump Hill Preserve trailhead on CT 58 in Easton.
Finish: Devil’s Den Preserve parking area, Pent Road, Weston.
Route: White-blazed trail nearly to Trout Brook Valley parking area on Bradley Road, Weston, then short stretches on red and “salmon” trails to Valley Forge Road. Valley Forge Road (north, asphalt) to Davis Hill Road trailhead for Saugatuck Valley Trail. Saugatuck Valley Trail to CT 53, and directly across onto trail into Devil’s Den. To Den parking area via posts 63, 64, 66, 70, 33, 23 and 21.
Distance: Best guess, 10 mi.
Time: 5.5 hrs (10:00 – 3:30) with plenty of dilly-dallying
Terrain: Easy, well-marked trails and 0.6 mi of asphalt. A very few short, steep climbs or descents.
Maps: Aspetuck Land Trust; Saugatuck Valley; Devil’s Den
Weather: Sunny, then a few clouds. Around freezing at start, upper 30s finish.
Wildlife: Absence of wild turkeys no surprise.
Photos: Here (no log-in required).
Lunch: On a log above Saugatuck Reservoir – baguette with Manchego cheese, olives, trail mix, apple.
Ups: The whole hike, beginning to end.
Kit: My wife’s neon orange rain poncho tied to my daypack. Message – “I am not a deer, Mr Hunter. Don’t shoot.”
Company: Chat with an AMC party in Trout Brook Valley. Other groups and individuals here and there, but mostly alone.