Town: North Stonington
Maintained Uses: walking, hiking
Difficulty: easy to slightly moderate
Length: 2.51 miles of total trails (white trail, yellow loop, and red loop trail markers)
Type: figure-eight loop
Surface: packed earth/dirt, grass
Pets: permitted (dogs on leash)
Year Preserved: 2021
Lat.: N 41° 28′ 23.9266″
Long.: W 71° 49′ 4.7505″
The Herman E. Sheets Family Forest Preserve offers a truly picturesque landscape, adjacent to the Green Fall River (which has a Wild & Scenic designation). With a 2.51-mile, figure-eight style loop trail, this preserve features a diverse range of scenery and wildlife. The trailhead is located at the mailbox for 94 Puttker Road. If you turn onto Puttker Road off of Denison Hill Road, this entrance is located on the right side of the road and has ample parking for approximately 6 cars. If you are traveling down Puttker Road, you will make a slight turn and the entrance will be on your left.
Looking at the entrance sign, the trail begins to the right and is well-marked throughout. It starts with a short trail marked with white diamond-shaped and arrow-shaped trail markers. This connects to a yellow marked loop (the bottom of figure-eight). Hiking only the yellow loop will give your boots a 1.19-mile experience. The yellow loop connects to a red marked loop (the top of figure-eight). Adding the red loop to your hike will add 1.32 miles. Both trails feature a range of surfaces, including packed earth and dirt, grass, pine needles, small boardwalks and bog bridging, with occasional exposed rocks and roots. The total elevation change is approximately 272 feet, with switchback turns to assist along the way. Taking this into consideration, the trail is easy to slightly moderate difficulty. Along the hike, you will see the work of beavers and other ground animals. Against the wetlands and river, you can hear the splashing of frogs and other amphibians. Throughout the trail, birds will happily sing their song, as you take in the scenic beauty of the trees, ferns, and land.
Throughout the trail, there are key historic features from what was one of North Stonington’s original villages (Laurel Glen). Numerous old stone foundations are easily appreciated, including one for an old Barn that was built into the side of an embankment and an old mill. Posted throughout the trail are information placards that expertly aid the hiker in all that the preserve offers. Also of note are the stone walls of varying ages, vernal pools, and the Green Fall River Old Dam Overlook. The natural beauty of this preserve is a treasure that is worth exploring.