An oasis for wildlife.
Devil's Den Preserve An oasis for wildlife. © Francine Monahan

Places We Protect

Lucius Pond Ordway/Devil's Den Preserve

Connecticut

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Devil's Den is TNC in Connecticut's largest continuous preserve and is ideal for outdoor recreation.

At 1,756 acres, Devil's Den is TNC's largest preserve in Connecticut.

  • Here, with your help, the Conservancy has protected a valuable oasis for wildlife and a natural filter for thousands of people who need clean water. 
  • Devil's Den protects a significant portion of the watershed of the west branch of the Saugatuck River, habitat for many of aquatic species, including uncommon mussel species.

Why You Should Visit

The Lucius Pond Ordway/Devil's Den Preserve is the Connecticut Chapter's largest continuous preserve and the largest tract of protected land in densely developed Fairfield County. Its patchwork of woodlands, wetlands and rock ledges and a series of north-south ridges and valleys woven with streams and swamps make the Devil's Den ideal for low-impact outdoor activities such as hiking and bird watching.

Why TNC Selected This Site

The Den provides a valuable oasis for species that require interior woodland for successful reproduction. Research has shown that such large unfragmented forest areas are vital to the health of a variety of species. Devil's Den also represents a significant portion of the watershed of the west branch of the Saugatuck River, habitat for many of aquatic species, including several uncommon species of mussel.

Devil's Den is also of historical significance; archaeological evidence indicates human use of the area, mostly for hunting, as long as 5,000 years ago.  The remains of an up-and-down sawmill below Godfrey Pond testify to the importance of the lumbering that dovetailed with charcoal burning.  The production of charcoal was an important commercial activity in the 1800s and marks dozens of sites.

The Den was created by the late Katharine Ordway through a series of donations from 1966 through 1968, beginning with an 1,100-acre purchase from the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company. 

What TNC Has Done/Is Doing

Devil's Den is the chapter's most frequently visited preserve, hosting more than 40,000 people per year. It is ideally located to provide an enriching and educational outdoor experience for residents of surrounding towns such as Redding, Easton, Westport and Wilton, along with the nearby metropolitan areas of Bridgeport, Danbury, Norwalk and Stamford. The Den is part of the extended 70-mile Saugatuck Valley Trails System, with contiguous forest and watershed lands.

CONDITIONS

The preserve's 20-mile trail system winds past dramatic rocky crests, outcroppings, and cliffs forming high ledges partly covered with grasses, mosses, and lichens.

VISITOR USE

Please enjoy your visit to this preserve.  The Nature Conservancy welcomes passive recreation, including hiking, birding, nature study and cross-country skiing. 
Please refrain from any activities that disturb the natural environment or other visitors and contact our office at: 203-226-4991 or theden@tnc.orgif you notice any problems.

  • Trails and parking lot are open sunrise to sunset.
  • Visitors are only allowed on blazed trails.
  • No dogs, horses or other pets.
  • No bicycles or motorized vehicles.
  • Hiking, running, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing only on blazed trails.
  • Cross-country skiing is permitted on red-blazed trails, but requires 8-10" of snow to clear rocks and roots.
  • Visitors may not hunt; trap; rock climb; fish; swim; ice skate; boat; collect plants, fungi, animals, minerals, or artifacts; release animals; smoke; build fires; camp; or drink alcoholic beverages on premises.
  • Please take all trash and your belongings when you leave.

WHAT TO SEE: PLANTS

The preserve features more than 500 types of trees and wildflowers, including the beautiful pink lady's slipper, cardinal flower, and Indian pipe.

WHAT TO SEE: ANIMALS

Devil's Den is home to red fox, bobcat, coyote, Eastern copperhead, wood duck, ruffed grouse, pileated woodpecker and more than 140 other bird species.