Bent of the River in Southbury, CT is a chapter of National Audubon Society and a relatively new place opened to the public for hiking. This tract of land was donated by Althea Ward Clarke whose husband, Howard Clarke, purchased it in 1934. The wildlife sanctuary is 650 acres. The land borders the Pomperaug River as it bends and turns, thus the name Bent of the River? The trail system is quite extensive given that the complex is about one square mile. There's quite a diversity of ecosystems here and you can easily explore them all - lazy river walks, open fields, dense woodland, cascading streams, and plenty of vistas with nice views. Near the main parking lot, right off of East Flat Hill Road, there is a large horse farm and a portion of the trial system makes it way up to the farm which affords a nice glimpse of the horses.
Hike up from the visitor's parking lot to the main area to find an old barn that has been converted into the visitor's center and small museum/learning center. It's here where you'll find trail maps and orient yourself to the surroundings and paths to choose from. Sign the guestbook before venturing out. If time allows for it, take a quick walk around the barn which has some interesting historical facts about the property and artifacts from the land. Next to the barn is the Clarke homestead, which is not open to the public but certainly is an interesting piece of history and worth a closer look. Visitors are asked to voluntarily donate $3 for adults and $1 for children (the fees gathered go directly into maintaining the sanctuary). Whether you need a quiet walk in the woods, along a riverbank, fresh-air workout, or to photograph some natural surroundings, Bent of the River is a perfect place for these and other activities. Bent of the River has a wide range of events and activities on going so you may want to call in advance to learn more about this wonderful jewel nestled along the Pomperaug River. 203-264-5098
Directions: To get to Bent of the River take Interstate 84 to Southbury, CT.
If you're driving WEST (towards Danbury) then at the end of Exit 14 ramp, turn RIGHT
and proceed a very short distance to the traffic light at Main Street.
If you're driving EAST (towards Waterbury), turn LEFT at the end of Exit 14 ramp and go under the highway and drive a short distance to Main Street.
At the Main Street intersection traffic light you proceed straight and go across Main Street (a Catholic Church should pass on your right side which tells you that you're heading in the proper direction). This puts you on Rt. 172 heading towards South Britain. About 1.5 miles later you'll see East Flat Hill Rd. on your left-hand side (there's a small market and church here). Take the left and three-tenths (0.3) of a mile up this road is Bent of the River on the left-hand side. The address is 185 East Flat Hill Road. Park in the main dirt lot near the horse farm. You must walk up to the Barn (visitor center and museum) from there. Only park at the Barn if you have handicap parking. The phone number for Bent of the River is (203) 264-5098 if you have any questions about the center or activities that are on-going.
Printable version of the Bent of the River page
If you have any trail updates to share or have feedback/questions please click here to send email or call 203.788.7665