(Use this page to print out the hike. Click the back button to go back to the webpage - www.berkshirehiking.com)
Bennett's Pond in Ridgefield, CT is a hidden treasure just two minutes away from the madness of Route 7. As you walk along the trails blanketed by nature, the rush hour traffic and hustle and bustle may as well be 1,000 miles away instead of just one. Bennett proves that you don't have to escape into the backcountry to find peace and quiet. And to think that some insane developer wanted to plop down a 200-room hotel and conference center, 500,000 square feet of office parks, 150 units of multi-family housing, 100 units of single-family housing, and a 27-hole golf course. Don't we already have 10,000 of these things in Fairfield County!! Fortunately, there are some good folks with a little bit of power and they stepped up and saved the day. Now instead of being ruined, Bennett's Pond can do what it should...refresh the soul of everyone who ventures in.
The trail system at Bennett's Pond is well maintained, easy to navigate, and there aren't any steep grades so anyone can venture in. A large map at the trailhead makes it easy to plan out your hike, but I'd suggest just following the main path that goes straight back into the forest and to the far end of the pond - round trip will take between 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours depending upon your foot speed. The trail leading back to the pond is relatively flat most of the way with no hills or mountains to climb. But it's a rocky path in some places so careful not to turn an ankle or slip on a loose stone or slippery rock. The beautiful, tall hardwoodss provide a nice canopy and are responsible for the peace and quiet you'll likely find - the distant rush of Route 7 traffic and nieghborhood noice can't penetrate the thick forest cover. If you have a keen eye and a quiet step, you'll notice plenty of bird activity in the trees above. I caught a glimpse of a Pileated Woodpecker bouncing from tree to tree - and I'll bet owls and hawks you the tall trees as well. A good distance into the hike the trail bends to the right and a very short distance later you are presented with a choice - go straight or left. Going straight you will eventually loop back around to near the start of the hike and it's a good hike indeed. But I think you'd enjoy going left and heading down to the far end of Bennett's Pond. This section of trail really gives a feeling of remoteness and the pond scenes are very picturesque and tranquil.
Bennett is a long, narrow pond and it's beautiful anytime of year - each season having it's own distict character but foliage season must be amazing. The photos on the site just don't do it justice. Summers are teaming with wildlife, wildflowers, pond activitiy so be sure to bring a camera as photo ops are likely. As you make your way back along the main trail you'll eventually cross a footbridge over a stream and after this bridge you need to go right. This takes you to the very far end of the pond. It's really nice here and finding a great spot to relax is not hard. The swans, ducks, frogs, toads, turtles, jumping fish, birds, butterflies, wildflowers, lilly pads, bumble bee, and the trees will take good care of you and refresh your soul. Just find a nice spot to relax, sit back, be quiet, and watch, listen, learn. Something cool is bound to happen here if you let it. I was treated to an explosion of water fowl who bolted out of the water after I startled them as I walked along the shoreline trail - the sound and power they produced was quite impressive. The trail goes all the way back to the far end of a swampy part of the pond. It has a tiny loop so you can just keep walking without worrying about getting lost or heading in the wrong direction. The walk back to the car will highlight all the nice things you encountered along the way.
Directions: Get on Route 7 and Bennett's Pond Road is on your right a few miles south of Danbury (on your left if you're traveling north on Route 7). A short distance up the hill on Bennett's Pond you'll see the dirt parking lot and large wooden sign for Bennett's on the right side of the road.
© Berkshire Hiking 2004