Approximate cumulative distance of the two trails and the walk to and from the parking area.
Destination Distance From Downtown
1 of 5 diamonds
The trails are made of crushed gravel and grass. There is little change in elevation. In summer the plants along the trail grow a bit faster than volunteers can cut them back, but they won't slow you down much.
Time To Complete
The preserve consists of two short loops, the Meadow Walk and the River Walk/Bird Blind. Walking at a casual place and spending a while sitting in the bird blind, you can complete both trails in under 45 minutes.
The land that is now the Preserve was once pristine tidal marsh, but much of it was filled in in the 1930s for the installation of a water main and to make way for I-91. Since then, nature has reclaimed the land with a variety of grasses, wild flowers, trees, and shrubs, and coastal birds have made this area a stop on the Atlantic Flyway.
Volunteers with the New Haven Land Trust have been removing invasive species and planting native oak trees to balance the ecosystem. Many of these young trees are currently surrounded by fencing to protect them from deer.
What Makes It Great
Despite how close the Preserve is to railroad tracks, highways, and residential areas, it remains surprisingly quiet and peaceful - an oasis accessible by public transportation.
Birdwatchers will enjoy hiding out in the bird blind, a wooden enclosure that allows people to observe osprey (note the nesting platform to the left), clapper rail, herons, greater yellowlegs, and spotted sandpiper without disturbing the birds' natural activities. The Preserve is also home to woodpeckers, hawks, flycatchers, nuthatches, turtles, and deer.
Preserve Guides are available in a box at the trail head. Numbered signs on the trails correspond with info in the brochure.
Who is Going to Love It
Bird lovers, solitude seekers.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The entrance is easy to miss: look for a driveway blocked by a fence, close to the Amtrak railroad bridge over Quinnipiac Avenue. Park in the driveway and walk around the fence where it's marked Pedestrian Entrance. Walk up the driveway for about three minutes until you see the sign on the left; this is where both trails begin.
Public transit: take the CT Transit C bus to Quinnipiac Avenue and Hemmingway Street.