The Avery Preserve is located on Avery Hill Road to the North of its intersection with Route 214. There is a small, rocky, parking area on the East side of Avery Hill Road, opposite the entrance to the West side of Avery Preserve. The trail for the East side of the preserve begins in the rear left corner of the parking area. You can download and print a guide to hiking trails, including a map of the West Avery Preserve from Ledyard Parks & Rec., located at the bottom of their activities page.
East Avery Preserve
This portion has one loop trail and off of that a short side trail from which you can access Avery Hill Road and connect to West Avery Preserve or return to the parking lot. This portion of the preserve is primarily wetland and today was definitely wet and soggy. The trails here are not blazed and the loop trail fades out after you pass over a small unnamed brook that feeds into Billings-Avery brook.
While difficult and wet in the spring this is still worth exploring. There are lots of signs of deer throughout the wetlands and there is also a significant stand of giant rhododendron (mountain laurel) here. Restoring the former loop trail and blazing both it and the spur trail would make this a pleasant short hike when the rhododendron are in bloom. There is a usable bench far enough along the trail that it should serve as a good spot to watch wildlife and spend time birding here. The spur trail leads to a stream side glen ideal for a cool summer picnic and break from hiking.
West Avery Preserve
West Avery Preserve is the more developed, better maintained, and used portion of this preserve. An Eagle Scout project just upgraded two bog bridges on the orange trail. Trails here are numerous, open, and well blazed. Many of the intersections have map boards like the one at the entrance that clearly indicate your location and trail options.
The orange blazed trail, just to your right after entering the West preserve, has the most elevation change although none of the trails here climb any great distance. This is primarily a perimeter trail that circles out to the farthest reaches of this section and returns to the entrance.
White and yellow blazed trails provide shorter loops within and in conjunction with the orange trail.
The central hub of all the trails is an old, now mostly silted in, mill pond, dam, and sluice race. This is another spot to take a break in the hike and enjoy lunch, birding or the cooling chatter of Billings-Avery brook’s run downhill.
Both tracts encompass just under 100 acres and provide, depending on how many of the trails you use, or loops you make, approximately 5 kilometers of hiking with some nice changes between wetland and upland vegetation and wildlife.