How would you react if you suspected you were being spied upon by the watching eye of the devil? If you were one of the charcoal makers who's superstition inspired the naming of Devil's Den Preserve, you likely just continued your work. But for exercise enthusiasts, trail running as fast as you can is likely your first instinct. Devil's Den, which is the biggest preserve in Connecticut, accommodates you quite nicely, with 20 miles of trails branching over 1,756 acres. With a couple of gorges, several small brooks, and one long lake, Weston's prized park provides a choose-your-own-adventure style experience.
What Makes It Great
Devil's Den has two great things going for it: its massive size and its overall flatness. It's a fantastic blend between moderate, level terrain in the small fields and parks and the opportunity in bigger parks to push yourself as far as you can. This is not to say that the preserve is a cake walk the entire time. There are minor slopes here and there. They're nothing too difficult to overcome, but still intense enough that you feel accomplished after you've reached the peak.
More annoying than the inclines, however, are the rocks. Devil's Den is immensely rocky. In the really bad parts those who maintain the preserve help out by placing small wooden bridges along the side of cluttered stretches. Once you get over those minor obstacles, Devil's Den becomes a beauty that passes by in blur. Stonewalls line the edge of the main Pen's trail, rock sculptures lie alongside bridges on the side trails, and the overall feeling of the preserves is that of an enchanted forest. All the trails are interweaving, so you can take one of the side trails that occasionally pop up alongside the main path, and find a way to loop back around with ease.
Who is Going to Love It
The nature of Devil's Den Preserve makes it accessible to almost everyone. Since it's easy to stop and turn around at any time, it's ideal for trail runners at all levels of experience, even kids would have little to no difficulty tackling this preserve. It's also ideal for groups as,for the most part, the paths are wide enough for accommodate them. The only kind of people who might not have a positive experience at Devil's Den are those who are not equipped with good shoes and other proper running gear.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Parking for Devil's Den is at 33 Pent Rd in Weston, Connecticut. To get there, simply take the Merritt Parkway (CT-15 S) to the Newtown Turnpike (CT-53 N). From there turn on to Godfrey Rd W, then Pent Rd. The park is open from sunrise to sunset and welcomes all hikers and trail runners. Bikers however are not permitted. Animals, especially dogs, are also banned, even if they are on a leash. There are no fees (as long as you don't break these rules). Enjoy your time at Devil's Den Preserve, but remember, the devil's always watching...