This short hike is a great introduction to Devil's Den Preserve. This is one of the more popular routes in the preserve so the trails are well-used, and the trip around Godfrey Pond is both scenic and educational. As this is one of the easier and shorter loops in the park, it can be busy on weekends and during the summer, but regardless of what time of year you visit, the wooded hiking trails and peaceful surroundings of the small pond are a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
The trailhead for this hike is located at the end of Pent Road. There is a dirt parking area with room for about ten cars—please be sure not to block the nearby driveway.
From the trailhead, head east and then north on the Laurel Trail
. At the first junction with the Godfrey Trail
, stay to the right (if hiking the loop in the counterclockwise direction—you can choose to do the loop in either direction). From here, the Laurel Trail
will pass a connector on the left and a few houses on the right, which you may be able to see in the fall/winter when the leaves are off the trees, before coming to a junction with a second Connector Trail
. Take this connector to the left to skirt around the east side of Godfrey Pond.
This connector ends at the Godfrey Trail
where you'll want to turn left to loop around the northern shore of the pond. Eventually, you'll pass another junction with the Godfrey Connector Trail
heading south. Stay on the Godfrey Trail
to wind your way back to the Laurel Trail
through a more wooded section, past the junction with the Cub Scout Trail
and the Harrison Trail
. You'll return to the Laurel Trail
which you'll then follow back to the trailhead.
Most trail junctions are marked with numbered posts that correspond to numbers that can be found on the park map. The trails are blazed with directional signs that direct hikers to the shortest route back to the parking area on Pent Road. You many encounter yellow, red, or white blazes, with yellow indicating hiking-only trails, red for XC skiing, and white for trails that are part of the Saugatuck Valley Trails system.
Many of the trails in the area are rocky, and while this loop is one of the more well-used routes near the trailhead, if you choose to extend your outing to a longer loop in the preserve keep in mind that the footing may make for more strenuous hiking.
You might spot wildflowers such as pink lady’s slipper, cardinal flower, and Indian pipe in season.
The preserve is home to 145 species of birds including wood duck, ruffed grouse, and pileated woodpecker. For more information on the types of birds you can spot, click here
While it is less likely that you'll encounter them, the park is also home to red fox, bobcats, coyotes, and eastern copperheads.
Devil's Den is the Nature Conservancy's largest continuous preserve in Connecticut, dedicated to protecting a portion of the watershed of the west branch of the Saugatuck River. Along the loop, you can spot the remains of an up-and-down sawmill that was once used for lumber milling in the area. Godfrey Pond is a mill pond that was created in the 1700s.