Wetland Wonder & White Memorial Foundation Hike
From the Litchfield Green, follow Rte. 202 west for 2.4 miles to the entrance of White Memorial Foundation on the left. Take a left onto Bissell Rd., then an immediate right on White Hall Rd., follow for .5 miles to the parking area near the Nature Museum.
TRAIL DIRECTIONS: Follow the blue blazed trail to the white and black square trail, to a loop around the boardwalk then retrace your steps back to the Nature Museum where this walk began. The trail and boardwalk is limited to foot travel only. No bicycles, horses or motor vehicles are allowed. All dogs must be kept on leashes. Please leave trees, shrubs and flowers as you find them, and carry out what you carry in. Trails are open at all times. Maps available in museum gift shop.
Perfect for the hiker and devoted naturalist, White Memorial Foundation and Conservation Center is Connecticut's largest nature sanctuary that encompasses 4,000 acres and maintains 35 miles of trails that wend their way through a wide variety of habitats.
Stroll along Bantam River and through a pine-shaded forest to a 1.2 mile elevated boardwalk. Walk around Little Pond and through an enormous wetland area without getting your feet wet!
Visit the best Nature Museum in the state dedicated to displaying the flora, fauna, wildlife, and physical features found here.
Begin your day with a tour of the newly expanded Nature Museum. A rewarding hour or two can be spent learning about the various habitats, flora, fauna and wildlife that you will see as you explore the trails maintained by the Foundation. The diorama room is of special interest because of the displays of actual scenes found on the Foundation's grounds. The Museum's gift shop sells a comprehensive map of the Foundation's trails.
To begin, take a right out of the Nature Museum and walk down the gravel road. Most of the tree's along this road are large sugar maples interspersed with white pines, whose needles grow in bundles of five. At the first intersection in the trail, by the stone pillars, take a left onto the blue blazed trail that follows the gentle flow of the Bantam River.
Cross the paved road, Bissell Rd., go through the gate and continue following the blue blazes on a beautiful pine shaded path. This area is called "Pine Island" and is depicted in the Center's diorama room.
Within five minutes, you will reach the junction of the blue trail and the white square with the black square center trail, take a right onto the white and black trail and follow it through the pine forest. Cross a dirt road and continue following the white and black trail on a narrow woodland path that wends its way through a pine scented forest.
When the white and black trail comes to a second paved road, Whites Wood Rd., cross the road, walk through the gate and continue following the white and black blazes back into the woods.
At the Y in the trail, bear left and continue following the white and black blazes past a meadow where conifers have been planted in the sandy soil to provide cover for wildlife.
Walk around the three boulders blocking the trail, take your immediate right following the white and black blazes to the elevated boardwalk that will take you on an unforgettable wetland adventure.
Continuing on the Boardwalk, walk through a forest of cat-o-nine tails and phragmites at least ten feet high to Sutton Bridge, which arches artistically over Bantam River. Take a minute to enjoy the beautiful panorama of the river and the wetlands you will be exploring.
Crossing a small bridge, continue your walk on the Boardwalk around Little Pond passing an intersection in the trail. As you reach the center of Little Pond, water is on either side of the Boardwalk giving you a close up view of the area and its wildlife. Look for beavers, swans, ducks, turtles, frogs, fish, songbirds, and water fowl. Bird activity is at its height in the early morning and then again in the late afternoon. In general, the best times for bird watching is from dawn to 8 a.m. and from 5:30 p.m. to dusk.
The Boardwalk wends its way through wetlands and woodlands that provide shelter for the areas wildlife. Soon you cross a second bridge that traverses Bantam River. The Boardwalk continues to wend its way through verdant foliage interspersed with a colorful palette of wild flowers. At the V in the trail the Boardwalk ends momentarily, bear left, taking a small dirt path that brings you back to the boardwalk on the way to Little Pond. Wild Roses and Queen Anne's Lace, nature's bridal bower, punctuated by purple and yellow loosestrife and delicate forget-me-nots edge the summer Boardwalk. In the fall, swamp maples add brush strokes of red, scarlet and crimson to the landscape while waterfowl and summer birds begin their migration south. Winter's wonderland comes in endless shades of white and countless ice formations mixed with beaver and otter footprints. Spring's palette is magical with a medley of new green, new life and a profusion of colorful wildflowers that emblazon the Boardwalk.
Continue following the white and black blazes around the Boardwalk and through the woods back to the intersection of the boulders where the Boardwalk began.
Retrace your steps along the white and black trail to the blue trail to the stone pillars, take a right onto the gravel road and head toward the Nature Museum where this walk began.