36 acres in Stafford, CT
Parking: Small lot near 5 Ice House Rd Stafford Springs, CT
Trail Map Trails: 1 mile Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Dennis Pond was a surprisingly great little hike. A bit easy to miss the turn off for Ice House Road, but there is a nice big lot for parking. A sign does note ‘For Stafford Residents Only’ but I was the only one there on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
The trails start past the dam immediately forking into the blue blazed Beaver Trail to the right and the teal blazed Schofield Trail to the left. I chose to follow the Beaver Trail along the water. The trail is thick with knotted pine roots and there are many gaps to view the water.
About halfway down the trail is a small clearing with an old foundation and a sign with nature quotes. I’m guessing the foundation dates back to likely even before the Schofield family owning the property (there used to be three summer homes on this side of the pond). There is evidence of beavers along the trail but nothing new, a pamphlet at the trailhead kiosk guesses they’ve been gone for many years. The trail continues along the water for about a half mile to the marshy upper reaches of the pond and can be followed until a sign noting private property.
Instead there is a very steep climb up the east bank of the pond. The trail heads straight up for .1 miles which will leave you breathless. At the top the trail levels out and passes through old pines and surprisingly a marshy area. There is an overlook noted by a bench in the V of two trees, but it’s really only a lookout in the winter. With the leaves of the trees there are only glimpses. Past the overlook there are a couple small streams to hop before winding back down a much more gentle slope with a few switchbacks back to the original fork for just shy of 1 mile round trip.
Originally purchased in 1968 from the Schofield family by the Town of Stafford. The town’s conservation commission took over in 1996 updating the gazebo and the building (used by the Department of Public Works) which was completed in 2002.
I’m guessing some version of the Beaver Trail has existed since at least the 60s but the Schofield Trail was added in 2018.
- CTMQ – SCC: Dennis Pond (2017)
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