Natural Ridgefield: West Mountain Refuge
Ridgefield, CT is known in the Northeast for its glorious trails and open spaces, but many Ridgefield residents have never experienced their beauty. Each month, we hope to introduce you to a different open space so that you can discover and explore these breathtaking spots.
West Mountain Refuge: Our last two submissions (featuring Hemlock Hills and McKeon Farm) were met with fantastic feedback, and this month we wanted to feature one of our lesser-known open spaces.
West Mountain Refuge consists of three sections: Reed, McManus and Green. The Reed section boasts a striking boulder bridge that crosses a stream, while the McManus section features the foundation ruins of a 19th-century farmhouse. Both sections’ trails are moderately easy hikes lasting 30-45 minutes, and hikers can enjoy interesting rock formations, a variety of colorful wildflowers, and lovely watercourses and wetlands. A fox den has been spotted in this area, and an incredible assortment of mushroom species can be found scattered among the forest floor. Peepers congregate in the shallow pools throughout the refuge and their calls can be heard up to a mile away.
Access to the refuge is on Oscaleta Road, about a half of a mile from the intersection of Oscaleta and West Mountain roads (GPS: 90 Oscaleta Road). West Mountain Refuge is a delightful open space and another Ridgefield gem that is certainly worthy of a visit.
The Ridgefield Conservation Commission was established in 1962 by town ordinance and is responsible for looking after the town’s open space, including trail maintenance, posting and protecting. For more information on this and other open spaces/trials, The Ridgefield Walk Book is available at the Conservation Commission office in the Town Hall Annex, and at several other locations in town (including Books on the Common and Squash’s). In addition to the Walk Book, detailed maps of some trails can be found at ridgefieldct.org/conservation-commission.
Daniel C. Levine, Ridgefield Conservation Commission