Devil’s Den popularizes as summer draws near


By Molly Mahoney ’18

Nestled in the winding back roads of Weston and Redding, Connecticut lies Devil’s Den. The luscious greenery, boulders and streams of the nature preserve seem endless as the “largest continuous preserve and the largest tract of protected land in densely developed Fairfield County”, when all of the nature preserve’s contents exist within 1,756 acres of land, according to The Nature Conservancy.

“It’s an easy hike that gives you a decent taste of the woodland areas in Connecticut” Angus Fuori ’17, who enjoys hiking Devil’s Den with other Staples students, said. He added that the trails were ideal for “a non strenuous weekend hike”, but would opt for more distant destinations if he was looking for a more advanced hike.

The relatively flat terrain is not the only feature that makes Devil’s Den trails optimal for beginner to intermediate hikers. Visitors can also expect to observe “rich hardwood forest, historic sites, granite ledges, limited vistas, wildflowers, including 14 species of violet, flowering shrubs, fall foliage and wildlife” depending on the time of year one chooses to visit, according to Trails.

However, some visitors, including Grace Foster ’17, were less than enthusiastic about Devil’s Den’s trails. Foster noted that, on her hike, the dense landscape meant that there were “less open spots to catch views”, and that “the trails were kind of confusing because by the end of our hike, we realized we only went in a large circle and had to backtrack a couple of times.”

In fact, when “Devil’s Den” is entered into the iPhone application “Maps”, drivers are directed to a dead end in a Weston neighborhood rather than a marked trailhead.

Zarah Ahmad ’19 said that once she and other hikers reached their destination, “It was hard to find our way around Devil’s Den, because the trails weren’t marked, but it was still a fun adventure.”

Despite technicalities, visitors agreed that their experiences at Devil’s Den were overall positive. Gabriel Holm ’17 explained, “I guess there could be more maps and better directions, but that also takes away from the natural aspect, and that it feels like you are almost ‘exploring’ it yourself.”

All in all, Devil’s Den is an atypical destination for Westporters. Holm noted that it was a fantastic alternative to Winslow Park or Sherwood Island, both of which are located relatively close to highways or other aspects of urban life which are not ideal for hikers seeking a peaceful getaway from the busy rush of everyday life.