Places We Protect

Ayers Gap Preserve


at Ayers Gap in Franklin, Connecticut.
A waterfall at Ayers Gap in Franklin, Connecticut. © David Gumbart/TNC

This rugged place conceals an exquisite waterfall amidst crags of exposed rock outcrops.



Why You Should Visit

Ayers Gap is a rugged place that conceals an exquisite cascading waterfall amidst crags of exposed rock outcrops. There are flowing brooks, waterfalls, stately hemlocks and the cool, moist aroma of the preserve's interior gorge, also known as Bailey's Ravine. Above the ravine, a blazed trail follows the spine of a ridge, affording a terrific view east across the Franklin countryside.

Why TNC Selected This Site

TNC purchased this land from Felice Marnicki in 1988. It is significant as rare plant habitat.

What TNC Has Done/Is Doing

While the majority of the preserve is clear of debris, litter trouble spots occasionally mar its beauty. Thankfully, volunteers and helpful town and state officials are keeping the preserve clean.




Dawn to dusk


80 acres

Explore our work in this region

What to See: Plants

In the gorge, Bailey Brook winds its way across and below slabs of the metamorphic rock Scotland Schist. This rock is dark gray with abundant glints of mica — beautiful in its own right, particularly as a backdrop to hemlock and yellow birch.

The cliffs that overhang Bailey Brook harbor yet another natural wonder: a delicate fern that is known to exist in only five other locations across Connecticut. This lovely plant has found a refuge in the cool, moist recesses of the rock outcrops.

What to See: Animals

Keep an eye out for a variety of woodland birds.

Please enjoy your visit to this preserve. The Nature Conservancy welcomes passive recreation, including hiking, birding, canoeing, nature study and cross-country skiing.  

To ensure those who visit after you are able to enjoy the same experience you have, please remember to stay on designated trails, pack out everything you brought in, and contact our office at: 203 568 6270 or if you notice any problems.  

To maintain the ecological integrity of the preserve, the following activities are not allowed:  collection of plant or animal specimens, camping, fires, fishing, hunting, bicycling, and use of motorized vehicles.  Pets are not allowed on TNC preserves.