157 acres in Middletown, CT
Parking: Shoulder parking for about 5 cars near 80 Dripps Road, Middletown, CT
Trail Map Trails: 2.7 miles Rating: ★★★☆☆
Formerly a Nature Conservancy property, they turned over control of the land to the Middlesex Land Trust who produced a real trail map, cleaned up the trails, and will hopefully shepard this popular unique site well.
The trail here is a 2.7 mile lollipop loop that historically has a bit rough despite its popularity. The trail starts uphill on the eroded remains of the property’s original driveway. After about a half mile of steady climb in you reach the stone ruins at the summit. This is the former summer home of Helen Lohman, who donated the property to the Nature Conservancy over half a century ago. Slowly collapsing now, two stories and 3 outer walls remain standing with bits of window trim and glass still clinging to the frames. It is easy enough to wander through the remains, read the faint carvings over the fireplace, and enjoy the view from the ancient windows.
The trail continues past the ruins winding along rocky walls soon reaching a small trail down hill to an overlook. I missed it on my first visit here, but should be obvious enough even in summer growth. After a couple more bends an unblazed trail continues straight which provides a connection to the Bear Hill section of the Mattabesett Trail which provides a nice option for a longer hike. The blazed trail takes a hard turn and begins to head downhill and over a tiny stream until being redirected by a stonewall along an old farm lane. Sections here were in real need of some maintenance on my 2020 visit but it seems the hardworking stewards of the Middlesex Land Trust had improved this stretch in 2021.
The final loop section eventually reaches a rocky top. Peter Marteka during his 2008 visit called this a, “blue-blazed spur trail leading to the second overlook… this view could be skipped and a return trip planned for the late fall.” I couldn’t find the view on either of my visits including in late winter despite the help of the trail map so still cannot comment on its quality.
From the Nature Conservancy site,
The preserve was created by a donation from Helen Lohman of Middletown in 1967; she named the area after the sad state in which she found her gardens every spring.
- The Nature Conservancy – Spiderweed Preserve
- Peter Marteka – Nature’s Sweets Abound at Spiderweed Preserve (2008)
- Country Walks in Connecticut: A Guide to The Nature Conservancy Preserves, by Susan D. Cooley, Appalachian Mountain Club Books and the Nature Conservancy, 1989, pp. 132–138.
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Last updated February 17th, 2020
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