Otsby Memorial Forest
83.5 acres in Hampton, CT
Parking: Shoulder parking near 100 East Old Route 6, Hampton, CT
Trail Map Trails: 1.3 miles Rating: ★★☆☆☆
I had driven past this property easily a dozen times in my life and never known it was there, discovering places like this is one of the great joys of exploration especially when it’s right in your own backyard.
The easy 1.3 mile loop here is a surprisingly nice little loop hike though I’m sure infrequently traveled as many don’t even know it’s there. I started from the shoulder parking off East Old Route 6 past the trailhead sign and a mailbox containing trail maps.
The trail follows old stonewalls until reaching an old well just over a tenth of a mile in. The trail is a bit overgrown, but well blazed and easily passable. It follows the curving rim of a valley through trees damaged by the 2017-18 gypsy moth infestations until reaching a quiet overlook at the ‘Old Pond’ noted on the trail map. Beavers have been hard at work expanding the pond, creating a bank that has raised the water level several inches. Their lodge sits near the center of the pond.
From here I found the trail well-maintained all the way to Sarah Pearl Rd which made for great hiking along the backside of the loop. Big thank you to the steward of this property keeping the trails clear! The trail has a short road walk along Sarah Pear Road before diving back into the forest for the second half of the loop.
This stretch features an old stone slab bridge, another well (surrounded by curved rocks and actual water in the bottom), and a crumbling cellar hole foundation. Continuing down the trail leads through copious ferns, a couple marshy areas, and some well placed bridges. There are also a couple patches of dead trees from the gypsy moths and some dense 20 year old pines likely dating back to the forest management of the property in 2003. After descending a short hill the trail puts you right back on East Old Route 6 about 700′ from the parking area.
Donated to the Wolf Den Land Trust in 1999 by Rad Otsby and his wife Leila. They had purchased the land specifically to preserve and eventually donate it to the trust. Rad passed away in April 1999 while he was still chair of the trust, he had previously served as its president and treasurer, and personally negotiated any barriers to ownership on many of the trusts original properties.
- Art Talmadge – Logging the Rad Ostby Memorial Forest (2003)
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Last updated June 21st, 2022
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