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Atkinson Family Preserve/Thompson Brook Preserve

Enjoy a hike, trail run, or mountain bike through a forest full of rock features, vernal pools, and wildlife. 
Trail Activity
Hiking Mountain biking
3.5 miles, Loop
Packed Earth/Dirt
Permitted on leash


Atkinson Family Preserve/Thompson Brook Preserve is one one the newest acquisitions for Avalonia Land Conservancy. The Preserve encompasses a network of trails, including various loops. There are two main trails, a blue blazed loop and red blazed loop. Look for diamond shaped trail markers that are color-coded (blue, red, and yellow markers, respectively), to help guide your hike. The packed earth and dirt trails are wide, ranging from 3 feet to wide open. Historic stonewalls and other rock features create a fascinating scene amongst the dense forest. You are sure to see blue jays and other birds, in addition to squirrels and white tail deer. The Explorer app will help navigate through tricky areas. This is an easy-moderate hike with occasional exposed rocks and roots. Also of note, Atkinson Family Preserve/Thompson Brook Preserve offers the opportunity for mountain bikers to get a good ride. Pets are permitted (dogs on leash).

Other Information

The Atkinson Family Preserve/Thompson Brook Preserve consists of two acquisitions on opposite sides of Long Cove Road in the Gales Ferry section of Ledyard, for a combined size of 228 acres. The preserve significantly expands the 2018 State recognized Great Oak Greenway, contributing over five miles of wide, compacted woods roads and additional single-track trails to create one of the largest trail systems in southeastern Connecticut. Environmentally, these properties contribute significantly to the Great Brook and Long Island Sound watersheds given the large streams that flow directly through the properties into Thompson Brook, onto Great Brook, then Groton Reservoir and beyond into Long Island Sound. This project was awarded a CT Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition grant, covering approximately 65% of the cost to acquire these vital properties. The Thompson Brook Preserve was formed in memory of Nancy Dirlam, who treasured the pristine beauty of this land.

Trail Manager

Avalonia Land Conservancy preserves natural habitats in southeastern Connecticut by acquiring and protecting lands, and communicating the value of these irreplaceable resources. Learn more on their website or contact: info@avalonialc.org

Avalonia Land Conservancy
Avalonia Land Conservancy
P.O. Box 49
Old Mystic, CT 06372
(860) 884-3500
View website

Trail Tips

Dispose of Waste Properly
Keep Connecticut green and clean! Pick up trash, even if it's not yours. Leave soon-to-be trash like excess packaging, stickers, and twist ties at home.
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Trailhead Information

Parking locations are available on the east side of 757 Long Cove Road or along a roped off gravel road along power lines. Access to the trail system is through a newly established trail parallel to a gravel road along near the powerline. Alternative parking is available at Nathan Lester House historic site in Ledyard, CT (153 Vinegar Hill Rd, Gales Ferry, CT 06335). 

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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