By Kathy Duggan
Walden Preserve in Salem, Connecticut includes 400 acres of fields, young forest, wetlands and streams with marked trails. The main trail is relatively flat, wide and easy; side trails are moderately difficult and can be steep and narrow in spots. No dogs other than service dogs. No hunting. No motorized vehicles except for authorized handicapped and maintenance vehicles. There are no restrooms at this preserve, so plan accordingly.
On a recent warm, sunny Tuesday I went for a hike at Walden Preserve with some friends. We were greeted with beautiful wide open meadows, winding trails through wooded fields and lots of water views. We started our hike on the Pierce Arrow Trail, named for the abandoned Pierce Arrow vehicle halfway down the trail. Quite a site to see and pretty well preserved. Then it was on to the Laurel Trail followed by Sonny’s Trail. All well marked and fairly easy to hike. The most challenging trail on this day was the Knife Edge Trail. But it was also the most beautiful as it took you between the Turtle Pond and the Wood Duck Pond.Flooding in these areas occurs often due to the large amount of beaver activity in these ponds. Wood duck houses as well as beaver huts were visible from this trail. I would suggest bringing a snack and a drink on this hike. Even in the late fall we were able to work up both a thirst and appetite. This 5.5 mile hike could easily be done in a walking or running shoe, but I would still suggest a proper hiking boot and wool socks to make the walk as comfortable as possible and your feet stay dry.
Location: Hagen Rd. Salem, CT. Part of the Salem Land Trust Take I-95 to Exit 82. Follow Route 85 north to Salem Four Corners; go through the four corners intersection, staying on 85. After a half mile turn left onto Hagen Road; entrance to preserve is on the right. There are no maps available at the trail head. I would suggest printing one at home prior to going.