The unspoiled land – a mix of meadow, farmland, wooded ridge and wetlands — sits just north of Route 202, opposite the junction of Route 47, and makes a magnificent natural gateway to the town.
Points of Interest
The 998-acre Steep Rock preserve offers hiking trails which follow the river banks and provide access into the hillsides above.
1. Judea Garden
Judea Garden began in spring 2009. Our goal was to provide fresh produce for members of our community with limited financial resources. We also wanted to give volunteers an opportunity to continue to help their neighbors during difficult economic times. Judea Garden located at Macricostas Preserve, literally blossomed as a result of donations of cash and sweat equity by close to 100 individuals, schools, churches, civic organizations and businesses.
Directions: Coming Soon!
2. Waramaug’s Rock
At an elevation of 1,250 feet, Waramaug’s Rock is a spectacular overlook providing panoramic views of Lake Waramaug and the surrounding countryside. Named after a chief of the Wyantenock Indian tribe, Lake Waramaug is the second largest natural lake in Connecticut, an ecologically vital habitat for wildlife and a recreational center for the Towns of Washington, Warren and Kent. The awe-inspiring views from the top are a rewarding dividend for the steep hike.
Directions: Follow the Yellow Circle Trail from the parking lot. Perhaps the most physically challenging hike in any of the preserves, this 45-minute climb also may be the most rewarding hike in any of the preserves. The trail starts flat, crosses over Bee Brook and meanders through a large wildlife meadow before skirting a hayfield to the forest edge. After crossing Bee Brook again, the path then climbs steeply along a series of switchbacks before emerging at the Lookout. From this point, it’s another 15 minutes of steady climbing before the trail finally emerges among the clouds at Waramaug Rock, the weathered and windswept crown of Lake Waramaug. (1.69 miles one-way)
3. Meeker Swamp & Viewing Platform
Meeker Swamp is a unique calcareous wetland – a chalky limestone-based geology rarely found east of the Appalachian Mountains. One of the last significant calcareous ecosystems in the Northeast Hills, it encompasses over 300 acres and includes part of the Bee Brook stream, wet meadows and agricultural fields as well as an adjacent ridge of talus slopes and rocky outcroppings. An excellent habitat for a variety of wildlife, the preserve overlies one of Washington’s largest aquifers and protects the town’s drinking water supply.
Directions: Follow the Yellow Circle Trail from the parking area. The entire 15-minute trek is flat. The grassy trail crosses over Bee Brook and then passes through a large meadow teaming with birds, butterflies and other wildlife. After leaving the meadow, the trail traverses the edge of a large hay field, leading to an elevated platform providing visitors with a bird’s-eye view of the expansive Meeker Swamp. (0.77-mile one-way)
4. The Macricostas Lookout
En route to Waramaug’s Rock, the lookout provides a welcome resting spot with a scenic view of the hayfield adjacent to Meeker Swamp. The hayfield and surrounding meadows are home to myriad varieties of songbirds, butterflies and other wildlife. Hidden Valley Preserve forms much of the southeastern horizon.
Directions: Follow the Yellow Circle Trail from the parking area. This 30-minute trek traverses a mélange of environments. The trail starts flat, crosses over Bee Brook and meanders through a large wildlife meadow before skirting a hayfield to the forest edge. After crossing Bee Brook again, the path then climbs steeply along a series of switchbacks before emerging at a rocky outcrop, revealing an expansive view southeast over a nearly unblemished countryside. (1.11 miles one-way)
FAQS & Rules
Please help us protect the natural beauty and integrity of the preserve by not removing or destroying plants and wildlife. Click below to see how you can best help us protect the environment.
- Do not remove or destroy plants and wildlife.
- Open sunrise to sunset, daily.
- Motorized vehicles are prohibited.
- No hunting.
- No alcoholic beverages.
- No bikes.
- Fires are not permitted.
- No camping.
- Do not litter: please carry out what you carry in.
- Dogs must be under owner’s control.
- Cross-Country Skiers: Please set tracks on one side of the trail only.
- Hikers, Snowshoers and dogs please respect ski tracts by keeping to the other side of the trail.
Directions to Preserve
124 Christian Street,
New Preston, CT 06777
Sunrise to Sunset
Monday – Sunday
Phone: (860) 868-9131