Wildlands & Woodlands Website

Highstead works to inspire curiosity and build knowledge about plants and wooded landscapes in order to enhance life, preserve nature, and advance sound stewardship practices.

Visiting Highstead

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Highstead Trail

Highstead is a nonprofit organization that manages its 100-plus acres and associated trail system to achieve multiple objectives, including: an inspirational  model for forest conservation and stewardship consistent with the New England Wildlands and Woodlands vision; an active site for ecological research and monitoring; a protected nature preserve in a rapidly developing part of the world; an educational arboretum with native plant collections; and a place of quiet reflection and active curiosity for our supporters.

  • Visiting hours for supporters are 8:30 am - 4:00 pm Monday through Friday.
  • Other visitors are welcome by appointment: Please call: 203-938-8809.
  • Groups: ¬†Please call ahead to inquire about a guided tour.
  • Highstead is NOT open on the weekends and the gate closes promptly at 4 pm on weekdays. We have a small staff so calling ahead is generally advised.

Visitors should sign in at the Barn, where they may pick up an interpretive trail map, supporter forms, and other background information on Highstead programs.

Detailed Directions

View a photo tour of the Highstead property.

Highstead Trails

Dr. Saxon

Trail walk

Ranging in elevation from 607 feet to a high of 758 feet, more than two miles of trails traverse forest, wetland, ledge, and meadow at Highstead. Special features include native plant collections, deer management demonstrations, ecological research sites, and a three-acre man-made pond. Informational signage, plant labels, and self-guided walking tours provide opportunities for Highstead supporters and friends to acquaint themselves with Highstead's flora, landscape history, ecological research, and conservation projects.

Self-guided tours

Highstead Interpretive Trail Guide: This guide will introduce you to a southwestern Connecticut landscape shaped by natural and human forces and many of the scientific techniques and ecological practices we employ to understand and enhance it.

The Native Tree and Shrub Walk: The Native Tree and Shrub Walk is an hour and a half tour and a wonderful way to acquaint one's self with the flora and topography found at Highstead.

The Laurel Collection: In addition to the natural growth of mountain laurel on the property, three of the seven laurel species are represented in Highstead's collection. June will find the laurel at peak bloom, with over seventy cultivars to admire. Highstead offers an annual Open House and Trails Day with tours and lectures.

Visiting Highstead

For the protection of the fragile plant environment, please note:

  • No dogs, bicycles, or play equipment
  • Stay on the paths and boardwalks
  • Please refrain from picking plants and flowers
  • No smoking

Highstead supporters will have the opportunity to experience:

  • one hundred-plus acres of diverse woodland, meadow, pond, and swamp habitat;
  • more than two miles of trails that traverse Highstead's undulating topography, diverse natural communities, ecological research sites, and native plant collections;
  • the timber-frame "barn" headquarters where Highstead offers educational materials and supporter programs including conservation lecture, art exhibits, and a small ecological and horticultural library for onsite use.