he charcoal makers who once toiled in the vicinity believed a hoof-like mark made in a rock was the footprint of the devil, hence the Den’s name. But this Nature Conservancy property is really a place of beauty and ideal for family hikes. There are more than enough trails to trek and things to see in Fairfield County’s largest preserve, known formally as the Lucius Pond Ordway/Devil’s Den Preserve. The Den consists of more than 1,756 acres containing some 20 miles of trails that wind through and over almost every kind of terrain typical to southwestern Connecticut. Maps as well as a self-guided tour booklet are available at the Pent Road parking area; all hikers should sign in for safety. The preserve is home to more than 500 types of trees and wildflowers and has red fox, bobcat, coyote, eastern copperhead, wood duck, ruffed grouse, pileated woodpecker and more than 140 other bird species. An estimated 40,000 people visit the site each year; it’s part of the 70-mile Saugatuck Valley Trails System. The Den closes at times in the fall for hunting.
Devil’s Den is reached via Godfrey Road (off either Route 53 or 57) to Pent Road in Weston. There are also trails into the preserve from Dayton Road in Redding. Pets are not allowed. The Nature Conservancy site, including new trail maps, is nature.org. Any problems should be reported by calling 203-568-5270 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.