Fenton-Ruby Park & Wildlife Preserve

Location: Willington, CT

Links: Town of Willington; Trail Map PDF; AllTrails

Date: February 8, 2018

Time: 10:15 am – 1:15 pm

Hike Duration: 3 hours; about 3 miles

Weather: Sunny! 25 degrees F, windy at times

Fenton-Ruby Park
Our lunch with a view

The theme for today’s Thursday adventuring was ICE. We had a storm hit us yesterday afternoon into evening with snow, ice, rain, and then a freeze. We did run out and grab some ice cleats this morning, anticipating we might need them. They were extremely helpful! I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have been able to hike these trails without them.

Taylor Pond
Icy trails

We got to pondering what the qualities of a good trail are. What makes a trail one of our favorites? What makes us want to return again in a different season? Here’s what we came up with, in no particular order…

  • Some form of water – a lake, a pond, a stream or river
  • Well marked trails that meander through the woods, but aren’t overgrown
  • Interesting characteristics – stone foundations, pine tree forests, foot bridges, rocks to climb around, small caves (well those kind of freak me out, but in an exhilarating kind of way!), rock walls

Lots of foot bridges!

  • An overlook or some type of scenic vista
  • Challenges – a few good inclines to get the blood pumping
  • Diversity of habitats to explore – woods, fields, marshes, streams

A good trail doesn’t necessarily have to have all of these, but the more the better. These are the qualities that makes us want to return during the other seasons, just to experience the difference.

gOehiQisT+GS2H7BbkoCMQParking for Fenton-Ruby is on Burma Road. We had to walk down the road a bit to reach the Taylor Pond Trail. We followed the trail along the west side of the pond and then picked up Julia’s Trail to head deeper into the woods before looping back around to the Taylor Pond Trail again.

The north side of Taylor Pond gifted us with a lovely bench to sit on for our lunch. The sun was blazing down on us from across the pond and the wind had stilled. Considering the temperature, this was a pleasant and warm lunch with a view!

That is until the wind picked up, reminding us to get moving once again. The trails at Fenton-Ruby park are well marked and seem to be well maintained. We continued on the trail, taking the Connector to Ruby Trail.

This is the part where we were just hiking to build body heat. My hands were so cold, I had to break out the hand warmers and an extra pair of insulated gloves Dennis had fortuitously thrown in his pack this morning!

We followed the Ruby Trail loop around and back to the road. From here we walked down the road to the parking area. This was an enjoyable hike, only made challenging by the icy trail conditions. Otherwise, I’d say a fairly easy trail. We will definitely be visiting again later in the spring!

***Update 11/29/18
We returned to hike here in the Fall, exploring the Weigold Trail and the Ruby Trail. It was a gorgeous, sunny day for the start of our hike. Temps in the upper 30’s.


The Weigold Trail was a pleasant surprise as it meandered through woods scattered with patches of mountain laurel. Much to my heart’s delight, it eventually led us up to a ridge overlooking a small valley.

As we followed Ruby Trail, the clouds took over the sky, causing it to feel much cooler. The trade off for this was discovering a small waterfall. We had to trek through the woods to get closer, but since the bushes and trees have lost their leaves, tis the season for off-trail exploring!



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