Connecticut

Ayers Gap Preserve


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.

Location
Franklin

Size
80 acres

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
The Conservancy purchased this land from Felice Marnicki in 1988. It is significant as rare plant habitat.

What the Conservancy 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.

Conditions
A loop trail brings the visitor well into the preserve and provides easy access to the sights to be enjoyed there.

Hours
Dawn to dusk.

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 ct@tnc.org 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 Nature Conservancy preserves.

Directions

From Route 2 west from Colchester or east from I-395 in Norwich:
Take Route 2 to exit 25 in Yantic for Route 32 north.

  • Take Route 32 to the traffic light intersection with Route 207 in North Franklin, then drive east on 207 toward Baltic for one mile.
  • There is an area to pull off and park on the left; look for the preserve sign, which marks the beginning of the trail.
Discussion

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Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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