Bethlehem a Beacon for Outdoor Explorers - WFSB 3 Connecticut

The Trail Mix

Bethlehem a Beacon for Outdoor Explorers

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River bend inside Bethlehem preserve River bend inside Bethlehem preserve
Wild flowers still bloom in the late-summer woods. Wild flowers still bloom in the late-summer woods.

Since childhood, my love of the outdoors has always been a part of me. And as an adult, I hope to share that passion with my own children.

So, I offered this challenge to my family, to join me in exploring the hidden treasures and more popular gems Connecticut and the surrounding region have to offer. From hiking to biking to kayaking, I hope my window into the outside world inspires you to explore as well.



Tucked in the hills of Litchfield County, sits the little town of Bethlehem. It’s a place that conjures up thoughts of Christmas. But, in the summer, it’s a beacon for folks looking to get out into the great outdoors.

People take great pride in its protected lands here and the Bethlehem Land Trust is evident of that. One such place is Two Rivers Preserve. It is a small stretch of land a little more than 11 acres in size. But it has the ability to transport explorers into another, wilder world.

The trail seems little used even though pockets of litter strewn the small lot. Hopping the one-armed gate (likely to discourage any ATV activity), the path, overgrown by grass and wild brush looks almost hidden. But, don’t be fooled. There is a trail to follow and it quickly took me into the clutches of a heavily-forested wood on one side and only a glimpse of a neighboring home on the other.

The path leads quickly to the edge of a small river; a couple of tiny lizards making way for my footsteps. It is eerily quiet here with not even songs of fluttering birds reaching my ears. I spotted a few white trail blazes on nearby trees, but they are difficult to find and relied on my senses instead.

I came upon a tranquil pool at the bend of the river that abuts some impressive rock formations. These I climbed to get a better vantage point of the area around me and found a couple of benches partly buried by the encroaching wilderness.

There are a few unmarked trails here as well and appear to have been made by random individuals. I explored a couple of them as they led uphill. But, I turned back when they appeared too close to private property.

The whole hike – at only a mile long – didn’t take long to finish. But, it did provide the getaway I was hoping for to jump start the entire day.

Directions: Take I-84 to exit 17 for CT-64 toward CT-63/Middlebury/Watertown. Continue on CT-64 W/Chase Pkwy. Slight right onto Charcoal Ave. Sharp right onto Old Watertown Rd. Continue onto CT-61 N. Turn left on CT-132. The lot is on the left about 1.5 miles from the center of Bethlehem.

Trail Distance: 1 mile

Trail Difficulty: Easy