Rock Spring Preserve
450 acres in Scotland, CT
Parking: Small pull off near 276 Pudding Hill Rd Scotland, CT
Rock Spring is named for an “Indian Spring” located in the southern section of the property. The trailhead is a small dirt section on the shoulder of Rt. 97. A large new sign was installed around 2015, but the parking can still be easy to miss. Set back in the woods a small kiosk is bare of information, but usually sports a few lost items and a logbook. The logbook is an entertaining read and shows how popular even a small trail like this can be.
The trails head east on either side of the kiosk. The main trail heads downhill and connects to old cart paths that criss-cross the property.
Every time I have hiked Rock Springs I do the outer loop, which seems to be the least traveled but hits all the highlights of the property. Counter-clockwise the loop reaches the namesake natural spring first. The spring is covered by a small stone column that drains wide and shallow away from the trail. The trail then follows some gentle hills through oak and hickory forest towards the Little River. Here you reach a large stone bench added in 2010 dedicated as ‘Mike’s Bench’ a memorial for a local teen. The loop from here is often very overgrown and requires careful footing along the river. You can backtrack to one of the wider trails or push through to some of the more interesting hiking.
The northern half of the loop is the most wild. It is frequently overgrown and infrequently blazed. There are high bluffs along the river, secluded fishing spots, and scrambles over glacial till. If you’re looking for something beyond a casual walk this part is for you.
The inner paths were much wider and easier walking though I’ve only hiked parts of them.
From the Nature Conservancy site, “David and Vanda Shoemaker donated land for this preserve, which was later augmented by a purchase from a neighbor.”
Peter Marteka – Pick Your Trail When Hiking Rock Spring Preserve (2008)
Janet Lopes – Rock Spring Preserve: A River Runs Through It (dead link)