Tower Hill Preserve
236 acres in Chaplin, CT
Parking: Medium sized pull-off near 122 Tower Hill Rd, Chaplin, CT
Trail Map Trails: 1.36 miles Rating: ★★☆☆☆
The Tower Hill Preserve took over as Joshua’s Trust’s newest trailed property in 2023 (lasting 7 months until the opening of the Harvey Preserve). This simple loop features homestead ruins, well crafted stonewalls, peaceful woods, views of Stonehouse Brook, and a seasonal waterfall. The property abuts an existing Natchaug State Forest parcel as well as another Joshua’s Trust property at Agnes’ Pasture. I thoroughly enjoyed this short hike and hope that trails will be expanded in the years to come to further explore this great property and it’s possible connections.
Starting from the grassy parking area, the trail head starts right next to the ruins of the Ross homestead and climbs gently between long sweeping stonewalls. This entrance trail soon forks into a loop which I chose to hike clockwise.
Taking the left through another set of stone walls amid young forest the trail passed through a strange stonewall windbreak and long forgotten fire pit. Some old jars and a metal pitcher hint at past uses that will leave you with open questions on their history as to continue towards Stonehouse Brook. I visited after recent rains and the sound of rushing cascades from the brook were tantalizingly close but just out of sight. I’m sure it slows up in the summer but I suspect there are tiny hidden waterfalls along this stretch.
Nearing the backside of the loop a red spur trail finally takes you down to the brook and what must be the faint remains of a cabin. Lo and behold across the water and up a rocky cliff is a waterfall! What a fantastic hidden gem fed by some unnamed feeder stream. And what fun to imagine what this small secluded wonder might have looked like in the past.
Back on the yellow loop the trail turns back towards the parking area and unless there is a plane flying overhead you’ll likely only hear the wind in the trees and the call of birds. The stretch follows old farm roads to return to the original fork. While this short hike could certainly be completed in less than 30 minutes I spent closer to an hour here exploring each of the little elements along the trail and am already looking forward to a return visit.
Preserved in 2021 when it was donated to Joshua’s Trust by the Alexander Family Trust. It had it’s grand opening on May 20th, 2023.
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Last updated May 23rd, 2023
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