Nestled deep inside the town of Fairfield, at the end of the High Point Lane cul-de-sac, lies the Ernest Hillman Preserve, an 11 acre park maintained by the Aspetuck Land Trust. The Preserve is split into four sections, consisting of two wooded areas and two field areas. The whole park is relatively flat, with the climax of the hike being a small hill between the first and second wooded sections. Despite all that land, the perimeter lining white trail is a mere .6 miles, making the preserve is no place for a day trip. Instead it presents itself as a small, tranquil location, perfect for casual hikers and families.
What Makes It Great
Even though the trail begins at the end of a cul-de-sac, the traces of civilization never completely disappear throughout The Ernest Hillman Preserve. The surrounding houses are large and lavish, and even in the “thick” of the woods you can still see into the yards of the preserve's neighbors. At one point you even begin to hike parallel to a nearby highway. While some may find the watchful eye of man to be unsettling, it gives the preserve unique character and acts as a testament for how civilization and nature can find a balance to coexist at. The wildlife certainly doesn't mind, because throughout the park you still encounter a wide variety of cute creatures, from deer to chipmunks to hawks.
Who is Going to Love It
While it may not be the perfect meditative retreat or provide any real challenges for serious hikers, the preserve is perfect for people looking for something quick to do locally. Parents especially will love bringing their kids here, so that they can get in and out before the young ones get tired of walking. The effortless trails and calming essence make the preserve a great place to explore for couples or friends just looking to have a good conversation as they walk.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The Ernest Hillman Preserve is marked by a simple gate at the end of High Point Lane, which is off of Hillside Road.
Just like with all of The Aspetuck Land Trust parks, dogs are allowed both on AND off the lease. However, visitors are asked to limit themselves to two off-leash dogs in the interest of keeping control of them.
While the trail is easy, at one point it does get slightly muddy, so don't bring your best shoes.