A wander through the forest groves of Noquochoke Conservation Area feels a bit like traveling back in time. This patch of woodland along the east branch of the Westport River is home to impressive groves of old hardwood forest that tower overhead. You can also draw water from the ground with an old-fashioned well pump along the trail – a fun activity for kids and adults alike, though the water is not drinkable.
In the early 20th century, this land was home to the Boy Scouts’ Camp Noquochoke. The same grounds where hundreds of kids swam, fished, camped, and honed their survival skills remain a fantastic place to connect with nature today, thanks to the work of Westport Land Conservation Trust. Walk, trail run, cross-country ski, or snowshoe on the trails, look out for flitting birds in the leaves above, or test out your nature photography skills – no matter how you get outside, you’ll find it’s easy to catch a few moments of serenity in this quiet forest.
The trail at Noquochoke Conservation Area is three-quarters of a mile long, and consists of three connected loops. This makes it easy to return back to the start of the trail along the way, providing several options depending on how far you want to explore. (Download trail map)
Walk down the short flight of stone steps on the left side of the small parking area to enter the trail network. Soon after, you’ll find the trail splits into the North Trail and the South Trail. Regardless of which path you take, you will be able to link back to the other side using either of the two connector trails along the way.
The trail wanders through pine and oak woodland scattered with small patches of wetland, which are a good place to look for frogs and salamanders during the spring. Don’t miss the far western piece of this trail network: known as the Pine Forest Loop, this section of trail leads through a grove of impressive white pine trees. You’ll also find the old well pump here, just off the trail along the northern side of the loop.
Habitats & Wildlife
The forest at Noquochoke Conservation Area has been largely untouched for the last century, providing explorers with a view that harkens back to the days when old-growth forest dominated the landscape. Noquochoke’s healthy Eastern white pines are especially notable, as this native tree is in decline around the region due to disease, climate change, and attacks by insects and fungi.
These woodlands provide a great home for creatures large and small, from tiny songbirds and racing chipmunks to larger deer, raccoons, and foxes.
The Westport Land Conservation Trust (WLCT) is a nonprofit corporation that has worked since 1972 to acquire and preserve natural resources, farmland, and wildlife areas for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.