Hiking Trails at Devil’s Den Preserve in Weston, CT
Devil’s Den Preserve is a 1800 acre nature preserve spread throughout Fairfield County, Connecticut. Although it provides hiking trails and opportunities for people to get out into nature, it’s primary goal is to preserve the land and protect the animals living there.
Devil’s Den Preserve has several hiking trails that encompass the entire park. Most people visit the park to enjoy one of the three main attractions: Godfrey’s Pond, the Great Ledge Lookout, and Ambler Falls and Gorge. They all can be seen in one day with a longer, ~8 mile hike, but can also be split into smaller trips with lower mileage if desired.
This post details a trail that visits all three sites in 8.4 miles around the outer edges of the park. But, it will go over some smaller trails you can take to visit 1-2 of the sites over multiple visits as well.
Location: Weston, CT
Distance: 8.4 miles
Time: 3-4.5 hours
Cell-Phone Service: Decent, but some spotty areas
Features: Ambler Falls and Gorge, Great Ledge Lookout point, and Godfrey Pond
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Dog Friendly: No Dogs Allowed
Location, Parking, and Bathrooms for Devil’s Den Preserve
There are two parking lots for Devils Den Preserve. The main one is here, which is much larger and is where the overwhelming majority of people park. But there is a smaller lot at the north edge of the park that will take you to the Great Ledge lookout, should you wish to cut down your hiking mileage and split this park into multiple days.
Parking outside of the lots is not permitted, and the several signs dotting the roads leading up to the entrance will alert you of that before ever arriving.
There are no bathrooms available at either parking area. Also, as this is a nature preserve please note that dogs (or any pets) are not allowed in the park.
Devil’s Den Preserve Trail Entrance
From the parking lot there are a couple of different trail heads, so you’ll want to identify the one you’re taking. As the trail I took is a loop, both ends of the trail are connected to the parking lot, so either direction will work. A good trail map will work wonders in this park and especially for this trail, as although the trails are marked well, you’re constantly switching back and forth to different colored blazes. A good map will definitely be worth it on this hike.
I decided to take the loop counterclockwise, which meant that I’d hit Godfrey pond first, then the Great Ledge after a few miles, and end at Ambler Falls/Gorge. There isn’t a preference of which you should do – a clockwise version of the trail would be just as enjoyable and have the same challenge level.
If you do plan to split your trip up and to not do it all in one ~8 mile day, then from this main lot you can hike to Godfrey Pond, return to the parking area, and head on the opposite trail to Amber Falls/Gorge.
By doing this you’ll cut your mileage by about half (if not more), and you can come back another day and hit the Great Ledge lookout from the other, smaller parking area.
Hiking at Devil’s Den Preserve- Features
Devil’s Den Preserve is a beautiful, idyllic park. As it is remote, and being maintained as a nature preserve, it feels more natural in areas than some of the other, more popular, and crowded parks.
Now I know not everyone is looking for the big, flashy trail features (like waterfalls or lookouts) and if that’s you then Devil’s Den Preserve will absolutely provide you with a peaceful and beautiful stroll in the woods.
But, I personally enjoy seeing something unique when heading to a park – and Devil’s Den Preserve absolutely fits that bill. It has Godfrey Pond, a beautiful pond you’ll hike past for a while. The Great Ledge lookout gives you beautiful views without too much of a climb to the top. Then Ambler Gorge/Waterfall takes you down into a stunning rocky gorge which in the middle lies a cascading waterfall.
It really has everything or anything you could want to see in a hiking trail all packed into a single day-trip.
Godfrey pond is extremely close to the entrance of the trail. And as such it’s a very popular place to visit, especially for families with kids. The hiking trail out to Godfrey pond is relatively flat and wide, and so you should expect this area to be the most crowded of the entire hike.
One you make it to the pond though it’s a beautiful walk alongside it for a bit before the trail veers off to head to the Great Ledge. I did not see any animals the day I visited, but I think that was likely due to some incoming storms hitting later that day.
On a beautiful sunny day my guess is you’d see lots of birds, ducks, and maybe even fish swimming in the pond.
Great Ledge Lookout
If you’re doing the full ~8.0 mile trek, then after you leave Godfrey pond you’ll head to the Great Ledge lookout. And it’s a bit of a hike (pun intended). Expect a good ~2.5 miles before reaching the view point.
But, since you’ve been slowly going up and down the entire way – there isn’t much of a climb to the lookout at all. You’ll start to notice the trees thinning a bit and suddenly – there you are!
There are really two good places to see the view. The first one you come across has a few more trees blocking the viewpoint, which will be an issue in spring/summer when the trees have leaves.
If you keep walking just a little bit farther you’ll come to the full lookout that is not blocked by anything.
Once you leave the Great Ledge lookout there is a sharp decline. It’s a very short section, and it’s not super technical, but just know that there will be a quick drop off immediately following the lookout as you get back onto the main trail.
Ambler Gorge and Ambler Falls
From the Alltrails map, I knew there was going to be a waterfall. But what I didn’t realize was how beautiful the gorge was that led to the waterfall.
As you approach Ambler Falls you descend into Ambler Gorge which is comprised of large rock structures that make you feel like you’ve somehow been transported into a different park. This section of the trail is nothing like the rest of the hike.
After a short walk alongside these incredible rock structures you’ll come to the middle of the Gorge where Ambler Falls lives.
Now, Ambler Falls is not as large as some of the other waterfalls in Fairfield County but it is long and beautiful. There are multiple cascading sections of the falls that eventually lead to a large pool of water in the middle of the gorge.
There is also a walking bridge that takes you over the falls in between the bottom two cascades. So, you really get an up close and personal view of the falls.
As you continue past, you’ll hike a short way up the rest of the cascading falls – but they continue even further upstream of where the trail takes you. I can see though that in especially dry parts of the year they may not be as roaring as they were the day I visited – so keep that in mind when planning your hike.
Ending the trail at Devil’s Den Preserve
After you’ve seen all the sites you’ll head back to where you started (it is a loop hiking trail). Since it leads directly back to the parking lot, you don’t need to worry about finding your way.
With that said, if you’re doing the full ~8.0 mile hike to all the sites, then I recommend following some sort of trail map. The entire ~8.0 miles covers multiple different trails and you’re constantly switching back from yellow to white to red, back to yellow, and so on.
So, you’ll want a good map to keep you on track while hiking. But assuming you’re confident in your direction, finding the exit will not be a challenge at all.
Other Tips to Remember
Devil’s Den Preserve is a Fairfield County nature preserve that allows you to really escape into a protected nature site. It’s beautiful and great for the entire family to visit.
There is a lot of water running through the park in various locations, meaning that it can get quite muddy after rain. And although there are a lot of walking bridges over most of these areas – not all of them have easy route-arounds. So, you’ll likely be walking through mud at some point. Wear proper shoes for those places.
Also, being a nature preserve means that no pets, including dogs, are allowed inside the park. This is one where you’ll need to leave your furry friend at home.
But overall, Devil’s Den Preserve is a fantastic place to visit to grab some views, see a waterfall, and just enjoy nature!
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