Connetquot River State Park Preserve is a beautiful quiet Preserve set aside for the protection of a variety of wildlife and plant life. Rare species of plants and animals may be observed along the multicolored loop trail. Begin the trail bearing right from the 1820's Main House and following the red / blue blazes between Main and Lower Ponds. Look above the spillway to view the 1760 Nicoll Grist Mill. Head onto Brook Road (red / blue) which is a dirt road that carries you by a mixed hardwood and conifer woods, a wetlands lined with maple and oak and having an understory dotted with sweet pepperbush and jack-in-the-pulpit. At .5 mile, the trail splits. The red trail affords closer views of the Connetquot River, towering pitch pines and a better chance to see white-tailed deer, fox, red-tailed hawks and even the warm weather garter snake. When you approach the fish hatchery, watch for signs directing you to a short interpretive trail that explains the natural history of the Preserve. As you cross the river below the fish hatchery, be sure to look for the water starwort gracing the water. This is a nice resting point with restrooms, picnic tables and drinking water. As you leave the picnic area, follow the blue blazes that follow the water's northern shore to cross 2 bridges then reaching the lower tip of Deep Water Pond. When you reach Brook Road again, head left to meet the green-blazed trail at 3 miles. This portion of your loop actually overlaps with Long Island's Greater Greenbelt Trail, a 32-mile adventure from Long Island South to Great South Bay following the courses of Nissequogue and Connetquot Rivers. At 4.3 miles, you'll reach Collins Junction where you turn right stretching up toward the park's eastern edge. The Greater Greenbelt Trail heads out of the Preserve; head right onto the blue-blazed trail. Hiking southeast, you'll parallel the park's boundary with noisy Veterans Highway. At 5.5 miles, turn right onto Cordwood Road through a thicket of scrub oak and pitch pine. This portion of the trail tends to be hot during the summer. Little shade is offered. Several other dirt roads intersect along this route. Be sure to remain on the blue-blazed route. At 6.4 miles, the trail enters into a taller woodland offering a slight canopy. When you reach Mud Hole Road at a little over 8 miles, continue straight ahead traveling into mixed deciduous and conifer woods. Cordwood Road weaves southwest offering a spur trail to Slade Pond. At 9.2 miles, bear left traveling through a wetland to reach views of the historic grist mill and the end of the loop trail. Follow the park road back to your car. Some of the wildlife that you may see along this trail is the black-crowned night heron, Canada goose, swan, osprey, hawk, white-tailed deer and fox. Amphibians and reptiles are prevalent as well. In addition, the Preserve offers 32 fishing sights that afford an opportunity to backpack in with fishing gear.
Directions: From Oakdale, NY, Travel NY 27 (Sunshine Hwy.) for 1.4 miles to the park entrance. Park in the lot and walk the park road northeast to a combination of different colored blazes that loop the natural area.
Elevation Gain: Minimal
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Connetquot River State Park Preserve, New York
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