In spite of its dense population, the town of Branford is blessed with a large number of natural areas where people can walk, jog, stroll, hike, walk their dogs, or just enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery. No matter where you live in town, you are not far from one of these spots, and these maps will help you find them and enjoy them.
Each map includes directions to the area itself , directions to the trailhead, and the length and location of trails. For more complete property information, including natural, historical, and cultural details, you may want to purchase a copy of The Walks of Branford, our trail guide.
Before enjoying one of our trails, please be sure to review our Property Use Guidelines.
Note: property boundaries on the maps are approximate and not accurate legal descriptions.
Beacon Hill Preserve
Beacon Hill is a 100-foot-high traprock ridge overlooking the Farm River marshes. The property is skirted on the south by the tracks of the Shoreline Trolley Museum. Enjoy spectacular views of Long Island Sound and the Farm River marshes.
Short Beach Preserve
The Short Beach Preserve is a 40-acre parcel with rugged rock outcroppings, tall oaks, beeches, extensive groves of mountain laurel, wetlands, and a magnificent bluff offering spectacular views of Talmadge Pond and Long Island Sound.
Lucy T. Hammer Woodlands
Lucy Hammer cherished this land for the ponds, the wildflowers, and the space for contemplation. The property includes an open meadow fronting on Cherry Hill Road, Gurd’s Pond, and traprock ridges on Todd’s Hill.
The Supply Pond and Queach Preserves
These two properties, when combined with the Town’s Pisgah Brook Preserve and Saltonstall Mountain Preserve, comprise more than 800 acres of contiguous open space protecting much of the watershed of the Branford River. The many trails that cover these two properties are favorites among birding, hiking, and mountain biking enthusiasts.
Pisgah Brook and Saltonstall Mountain Preserves
The Pisgah Brook and Saltonstall Mountain Preserves are both parts of a steep traprock ridge that reaches from west to east, straddling the Branford/North Branford border. From Laurel Hill Rd., hiking options extend along Pisgah Brook in both directions or up a steep path to the expansive trail system along the ridgeline, offering a perspective from some of the highest points in Branford.
Immediately to the west of these properties, across Totoket Rd., are 9 miles of trails on the Regional Water Authority land that surrounds Lake Saltonstall. Hikers wishing to explore the Water Authority lands must acquire a permit available at www.rwater.com or by calling (203) 401-2654.
Young’s Pond and Bob’s Woods
Young’s Pond Park and Bob’s Woods contain a small pond (popular for ice-skating), woods, and a baseball field. Old carriage roads and vigorous stands of planted rhododendrons are among the remnants of the estate that give this property a distinctive feeling of a bygone era.
The Trolley Trail, Goss & Vedder
The Trolley Trail has long been a favorite among Branford residents, offering an intimate view of the tidal wetlands and a chance to observe osprey nesting on one of the many platforms established by the Branford Land Trust. It is complemented by the 15-acred wooded Goss Preserve and the Vedder Preserve along Pleasant Point Road with its remarkable views of Long Island Sound, the salt marsh, the Trolley Trail, and the Thimble Islands.
The Wies Preserve
Vivian N. Wies gave the Land Trust her beloved “Meadow Island,” an 11-acre gem of upland and salt marsh, in 1998. The trail which runs around the perimeter of the island is easy going and offers one of the most intimate walking experiences in Branford.
Stony Creek Quarry, Van Wie & Kelley Preserves
The Stony Creek Quarry Preserve, the Van Wie Preserve, and the Brooks R. Kelley Preserve form a contiguous total of more than 480 acres. The large size, combined with rocky ups and downs and occasional piles of granite rubble, make these among the more rugged and remote of the town’s walking areas.
These three preserves, combined with the Hoadley Creek Preserve create one of the wildest natural areas in Branford. Near the Quarry Rd. parking lot, the woods are littered with eerie remnants of the quarry days. As one continues, however, civilization recedes and visitors will be impressed by the sheer size of the preserve. Extensive wetlands and streams are interspersed with towering ridgelines, offering one of the most dramatic and secluded walks in town.
A section of these preserves are included in Connecticut’s Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail System (see below).
Hoadley Creek Preserve
Remarkable and delightful natural features abound on the 111-acre Hoadley Creek. Walks in the Hoadley Creek Preserve are diverse, offering everything from a casual stroll to a more strenuous trek. Flowing brooks, wetlands, open fields, and ragged rock outcrops make for an exciting trip regardless of the trail selected. Those looking for even longer walks can begin at any of the area’s trail heads and continue into Guilford’s vast Westwoods trail system.
The Stony Creek Partnership and Washburn
On the waterfront part of this preserve, the landscape and topography have been indelibly defined by 19th century quarrying operations and subsequent construction of the shoreline trolley line. Its unique features include remnants of the old quarry, a hidden pond, extensive marsh views and an expanse of open field. The main trail continues east across a boardwalk to an enchanting rocky knoll that is part of the preserve, then crosses Jarvis Creek to a 17-acre natural area owned by Yale University Peabody Museum. There is plenty to see in this area!
For years, Stony Creek residents and others had enjoyed walking this 30-acre parcel as part of a contiguous tract with the Partnership and the Washburn properties finding there an almost hidden entrance to the extensive marshes and woodlands on the other properties. New trails have been created which afford views of previously unexplored parts of the property, the salt marshes, and the Sound.
ADDITIONAL WALKS IN BRANFORD
The Branford Trail
The Branford Trail, created by retired physical education teacher Chet Blomquist, is a 28-mile trail around the perimeter of the town. Of the 28 miles, only a few are on paved roads. The trail, marked by white circles, is divided into eight segments. To find Branford Trail section maps, go to the Regional Council of Governments trail map page and click on ‘Branford.’
Shoreline Greenway Trail
The Shoreline Greenway Trail is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to building a 25-mile continuous path for bicyclists, walkers and hikers on the Connecticut Shoreline from Lighthouse Point in New Haven through East Haven, Branford, and Guilford to Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison. Click here for more information.
Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail System
The Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail System, first established in 1929, currently totals over 825 miles of hiking trails in 96 Connecticut towns. The trails are open year-round to all forms of foot travel, unless otherwise posted. The trail system, marked with the blue rectangular blazes, offers a great way to explore the open space and protected land of Connecticut. Whether you’re looking for a short loop hike or to cover long miles, the Blue- Blazed Hiking Trail System has something for everyone. Click here for trail maps or an interactive map.
A Regional Trails Mapping Project was completed by the South Central Regional Council Of Governments in collaboration with municipal staff, local land trusts and conservation commissions, Birmingham Utilities, and the Regional Water Authority. The project was made possible through a grant from the National Recreational Trails Program, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. The trail brochures include a map of the trail, descriptive information, directions, parking information and permitted uses. All trail brochures are available for download and are best printed double sided. Click here for more information.
Regional Water Authority
Hike, jog, cross-country ski or just meander along more than 60 miles of trails through Regional Water Authority watershed lands. Fish from the shores in the sparkling clean water of five secluded reservoirs or from our 70-foot long, wheelchair accessible dock at Lake Saltonstall. Bike through an 18th century settlement at Little Genesee in North Madison and more. With nine recreation areas located in 13 communities, there is bound to be an area close to you. Click here for trail and permit information.