Exploring trails at Tarrywile Park is always an adventure and an education. The trails may take you through vast open fields with spectacular views, or past natural patches of blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries, or over rugged, rocky terrain. As you hike through the woods, a turn in the path may bring an encounter with a whitetail buck, chipmunk, rabbit, partridge, pheasant, or a red fox crossing your way. You may also meet other travelers on foot or even on horseback.
As you continue your exploration of the park, you may be greeted by a fisherman casting into the glistening waters of Parks Pond for pumpkinseed, bullheads, panfish or kingfish. The lake is also home to frogs and various snakes as well as mallard and wood ducks, geese, and even magnificent swans. No doubt there will be a bird watcher observing the many native birds, such as pileated woodpeckers, hawks, turkeys, or vultures, that also make Tarrywile their home.
Along its trails, Tarrywile Park also possesses some of nature’s finest landscaping. There are majestic old trees, hillsides of mountain laurel, pine forests, and fields of wildflowers. In the eastern limits of the park, you will discover minerals such as quartz and feldspar, or metamorphic rocks such as marble and limestone.
Each hiking trail is color coded and blazed throughout the Park. The White Trail starts up by the greenhouse or can be accessed in the Parks Pond area. The trail takes you around the pond and is perfect for a short hike with few hills. It is not meant for strollers since it mainly consists of dirt paths with roots and rocks to step over. The Blue Trail comes off of the White Trail and leads you further into the Park for hikers who are a little more advanced. You can go for a longer and more challenging hike by following the Blue Trail to the end where it comes out by Parks Pond and the hayfields, or you can catch the Green Trail for a shorter and less challenging hike. The Yellow Trail is an offshoot of the Blue Trail and is for the experienced hiker. It takes you up a steep incline to Mootry Point then down and around Tarrywile Lake to come out by the Pond and hayfields. The Orange trail is located on the other side of the main Park area and is often used by the neighboring horse farm. In years past it was used as a ski slope which gives you an indication of the type of hike you will find there.
The trails are open to the public year round (weather permitting) and free of charge. Trail conditions vary depending on seasonal conditions and natural occurrences. Since the trails are intended for passive recreational use only, hiking or riding the trails is at the user’s own risk. Please also remember to do a tick check when you get home! Tarrywile Park is available for field trips or for use as an outdoor classroom. Please call the office at (203) 744-3130, for additional information.
The Historic Gardens at Tarrywile
Once known as Cedar Grove, the grounds exhibit the eclecticism common at the time of their origin, the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century: an English park-like lawn, ornamental trees, large bordered flower beds and a Japanese garden, which also reflect the original owner’s interests and travels.
Today, a variety of magnificent trees, now fully mature, are the greatest asset of the property: copper beech, ginkgo, pine, false cypress, and Japanese maple are but a few. Mock orange trees, hydrangeas, and lilacs frame the foundation of the house as they did in earlier years.
The flower beds, always a focal point on the plateau across from the portico, were restored by the Women’s Club of Danbury/New Fairfield, Inc. from 1990 – 1992. The Albert W. and Helen C. Meserve Memorial Foundation provided the funding. Originally installed by Mrs. C.D. Parks according to a design by Mr. Joseph Fearn, an English-trained gardener in the tradition of Miss Gertrude Jekyll, the series of compartments which led to a grape arbor, contained over one dozen species of perennials and family favorites including China asters, roses, dahlias, peonies, phlox, and iris. In the 1930s Mrs. Parks edged the compartments with low boxwoods, following the Williamsburg influence.
Ivy, myrtle, and forsythia form a backdrop to the gardens on the edge of the woods.
With confirmed sightings of a bear in Tarrywile Park, we wish to take a moment to post the Connecticut DEEP recommendations regarding Bear encounters while hiking.
BEARS SEEN WHEN HIKING
Bears normally leave an area once they have sensed a human. If you see a bear, enjoy it from a distance. Aggression by bears towards humans is exceptionally rare.
DO make your presence known by making noise while hiking. Hike in groups. If you see a bear, make enough noise and wave your arms so the bear is aware of your presence.
DO keep dogs on a leash and under control. A roaming dog might be perceived as a threat to a bear or its cubs.
DO back away slowly if you surprise a bear nearby.
DON’T approach or try to get closer to a bear to get a photo or video.
DON’T run or climb a tree. If possible, wait in a vehicle or building until the bear leaves the area.
DO be offensive if the bear approaches you. Make more noise, wave your arms, and throw objects at the bear. Black bears rarely attack humans. If you are attacked, do not play dead. Fight back with anything available.
Please visit the following page for a more in-depth article concerning bears.