McLean Game Refuge
Donated to the People of Connecticut by George P. McLean
- Main Parking: Large lot near 109 Salmon Brook St, Granby, CT
- Mid-park Main Office: Large lot near 150 Barndoor Hills Rd, Granby, CT
- Western Parking: Shoulder parking near 539-561 Firetown Rd, Simsbury, CT
Trail Map Trails: 20 miles Rating: ★★★★☆
This expansive park can effectively be broken into two areas: the densely packed trails east of Barn Door Hills Road and the out and back trails west of the road. Rules are lengthly and in your face here in order to preserve this popular area as it was intended as a wilderness refuge. Trails here are beautiful and well traveled with many highlights and hidden gems.
These trails can be accessed from Rt. 30, Barn Door Hills Road, or from the south on Canton Road. Highlights of this area include McLean’s Cabin just north of Trout Pond, the Cold Spring cabin, and the summit of Eastern Barndoor Hill.
From the parking area off Rt. 30 I took the wide gravel path through the sun baked meadow into the tree line. Signs at the trailhead warned of leashing your dog and the 7,000 infractions the Refuge dealt with in 2021 (almost 20 per day!). The trail curves your around trout pond and its handmade islands up to McLean’s Cabin atop a small hill. The cabin isn’t open to the public, but you can’t resist peering through its dusty windows.
I followed old Brook Road as it headed south with occasional glimpses of Bissell Brook which even has a fish ladder. At one of the junctions I jumped off the “road” onto real trail. The North Trail climbs a glacially formed esker covered in old pines. This eventually led past an another glacial feature, a kettle hole pond before passing an old farm field and its rusting farm equipment.
From there I looped down to the clear waters of Cold Spring Pond and it’s open air cabin just off the water before taking Sandy Trail back to the parking area.
Unexplored. The falls are located in the northwest corner of the property known as the Caruso/Collamore/Carpenter Preserve
Donated for public recreation by George McLean in his will in 1931, it opened to the public in 1932.
- Peter Marteka – McLean Game Refuge is the perfect place to commune with nature (2020)
- CTMQ – McLean Game Refuge Trails Intro (2008 & 2018)
- The Natural Areas of the McLean Game Refuge (1967)
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Last updated June 23, 2022
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