Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust holds in trust more than 2,100 acres of open space in Woodbury, Bethlehem, Southbury and Middlebury, Connecticut, including seven nature preserves and sanctuaries that include hiking trails.
From a photo trek across a sunny meadow to a cross-country ski adventure on a snowy, woodland trail, the passive recreational opportunities on Flanders’ land are as diverse as the settings. Each of the properties has its own character and attributes, from historic buildings, stone walls and marked trails to expansive vistas of woodlands, lakes, ponds, streams, fields and a bog. These pristine, undeveloped areas offer moments of reflection, relaxation and recreation.
Hiking Trails and Maps
Take a hike on Flanders’ trails! Click on the trail below to download a map.
Van Vleck Farm and Nature Sanctuary Trail Map
Whittemore Sanctuary Trail Map
Hetzel Refuge Trail Map
Fleming Preserve Trail Map
Marzahl Property Trail Map
Leavenworth Preserve Property Trail Map
The 200-acre Van Vleck Farm and Nature Sanctuary and the 686-acre Whittemore Sanctuary, both in Woodbury, Connecticut offer a network of well-marked and well-maintained pedestrian-only trails for year-round passive recreation, including walking, hiking, wildlife observation, photo treks, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The diversity of terrain, plant life and habitat areas that can be experienced at the Van Vleck Farm Sanctuary are reflected in such trail names as the “Botany Trail,” “Wildlife Vegetation Trail,” “Wilderness Trail,” “Farm Trail,” “Old Orchard Trail” and others. Similarly, trails at the Whittemore Sanctuary wind through expansive, natural vistas and are identified by color. Trails at both Sanctuaries are open every day from dawn to dusk. Trail maps can be downloaded above and are also available at South Farm Administrative Office at 596 Flanders Road in Woodbury.
Flanders has planted several letterboxes on the family friendly trails at their preserves and sanctuaries and more are being planned. Combining art and nature in a fun interactive way, letterboxing is a popular treasure hunting activity done world-wide. At Flanders, the letterboxing clues include educational comments about the natural world.
Letterboxers follow a set of clues to find “boxes” that have been hidden along hiking trails. Those that plan to letterbox at Flanders will want the Flanders Passport. One letter box on each trail will contain a letter. Anyone who hikes at least twelve of the letterboxing trails at Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust, stamps the letters from those trails in their passport and presents their passport at the Flanders office will be asked to sign their Trail Name on our poster of Successful Flanders Letterboxers. They will receive a small prize.
Looking for letterboxing on Flanders Trails, click here.
The award-winning Botany Trail at the Van Vleck Farm and Nature Sanctuary was developed in 1965 by members of the Pomperaug Valley Garden Club of Woodbury, who continue to maintain and improve it. More than 100 species of wildflowers and plants are represented on the trail, as it winds through woodlands, wetlands and close to streams and a pond. Garden Club members salvaged many of the species, which are now replanted and flourishing on the trail, before they were destroyed at area construction sites. Each spring, the Pomperaug Valley Garden Club, in conjunction with Flanders, leads weekend public hikes to observe the variety of wildflowers blooming on the Trail. The views are particularly impressive in early May, when the blossoms are at their peak. For a map Click HERE