Moss Tract and North Property
416 acres in Willington, CT
Parking: Small lot near 139-1 Old Turnpike Road, Storrs, CT
Trail Map Trails: 3.5 miles Rating: ★★☆☆☆
The Moss Tract (not to be confused with the nearby Moss Sanctuary) was one of those places I had seen on maps but never any mention of trails or things to explore. One late winter afternoon, itching for a hike, I decided to drive over to Daleville Road after work.
As you get near to Daleville Road asphalt turns to dirt and depending on the season – ice or mud. I turned a curve in the road and pulled into a rough looking parking area that I’m sure gets pretty muddy most of the year. To my surprise there was a trailhead kiosk and I figured I’d poke around in the woods for a few with 45 minutes until sunset.
I headed off into the trees behind the kiosk looking for signs of trail. There wasn’t much but I roughly followed a stonewall until noticing a splash of white on one of the trees and then another. It’s hard to call them blazes but combined with the faint hint of previous travel I followed them to cross a small icy stream and through the rock wall.
Again following the other side of this stonewall lead to a clearing with a massive pine tree that had likely fallen just a week or two prior in December wind storms. I could see and hear a stream off to the right which turns out to be Eldredge Brook. Those rough white blazes disappeared but the trail turned into what must be an old forest road that climbed in to the bank alongside the stream as it makes a hard U for a great view.
Continuing on and the sound of the rushing water grew louder. Imagine my surprise and sense of discovery to find a previously unknown to me waterfall out here in the woods. On my return home I checked all the books and sites and couldn’t find any mention of these and, while I’m sure I’m not the first, will call them Eldredge Brook Falls.
This stretch of the brook is picturesque with moss covered everything, small islands, and twists this way and that. The trail continues uphill away from the brook to a wide ledge that in winter provides views off towards the Fenton River valley. Working back down off this hill the trail returns you to Daleville Road a short distance from the parking area for a loop of about 1.25 miles (and the sun had only just begun to set).
On subsequent visits I explored the North Property across the road which is criss-crossed with old forest roads that lead all the way to Rt. 44, to the back of private property, and if you can find the right one, to the Fenton River. Trails here are unmarked, rough, and wet but easy enough to follow even if you’ll likely have to just turn around and head back the way you came.
Conservation easement enacted in 2010.
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Last updated January 9th, 2023
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