Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

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Smithtown

David Weld Sanctuary

 

 

If you’re looking for a pleasant little hike (about ½ mile) or a longer one (if you explore all the trails here) visit the David Weld Sanctuary in Nissequogue.  It has woods, a meadow (with lots of bunnies), nice trails, and a great destination: a beach on the L.I. Sound!

From the parking area, walk around the gate onto a wide cut grass path.  After 100 feet, there is an informational kiosk on the right, and there are usually free maps available.  Pass a trail opening to the left.  Note the green Nature Conservancy square plastic, arrow blazes that direct you along the trails.  This trail visits a field and runs north through a modest woods.  From this trail, turn right (east) to follow the edge of a swamp.  The trail to the west enters private property, giving exclusive, gated access to the beach.  The swamp trail leads back to the main “beach” path.  This main path takes the hiker on a half-mile walk through the woods to the Long Island Sound.

If you stayed on the main grass path, you would next pass two trail openings on the right side of the trail.  These are the openings to a crescent-shaped trail that takes a quick excursion to a huge glacial erratic, and then returns after a short distance to the main path.  If you wish just to visit the shore from the parking area, pass a kiosk on your right, a trail opening to the left, and two openings to the right.  The second trail opening to the right is marked with a stone plaque with the names Mollie and David Weld on it. When you enter the woods, you’ll notice how suddenly the sun is blocked by a dense canopy high overhead. Pass the opening to the swamp trail on your left, then travel around the edge of the swamp, turning left.  If you continue walking straight ahead instead of following the edge of the swamp, you will head east on a mile-long trail that visits two kettle holes and a grove of beech trees.  The woodland swamp looks like an algae covered pond, however the deep green creates a dramatic backdrop for the tree trunks and limbs, and the water is an attraction for birds and other animals.  There are giant oak, hickory, black birch, red maple, and tulip trees.  I surprised a muskrat here once while he was feasting on the flowers of a tulip tree.  

Soon, heading northwest you reach a bluff looking out over the Long Island Sound, not far from the mouth of the Nissequogue River.  Here a right turn will take you along the bluffs, but if you want to visit the beach, turn left and follow the trail a short distance parallel to the shoreline to a trail opening looking out at a large glacial erratic, a short distance off shore.

If this all sounds very confusing take heart, the free map created by Larry Paul available at the kiosk for the Nature Conservancy will keep you from getting lost in this 124-acre preserve. http://www.eserc.stonybrook.edu/brentwood/1998/weld/weldmap.html  For more information about great hikes on Long Island, visit www.litlc.org

Directions to The David Weld Sanctuary:  Heading north on Route 111 (Hauppauge Road) as it crosses Route 25 (Middle Country Road) it splits into 25A eastbound (North Country Road) and River Road (Nissequogue River Road).  Bear to the left  (Not 25A) following the road marked River Road, north.  Enter the village of Nissequogue.  Follow a winding road with views of the Nissequogue River to your left.  After 3.4 miles turn left onto Moriches Road.  After one mile, bear to the left onto Boney Short Beach Road.  Another 0.2 mile brings you to the entrance for the Nature Conservancy’s David Weld Sanctuary parking lot on the right.  The opening to the parking area is almost obscured by foliage.  The parking area has a capacity for 8 cars if people are considerate in how they park.  If you plan to meet several friends with cars there, it would be courteous to continue north past the Sanctuary parking area and leave your cars at the Short Beach parking area.  From there you can shuttle back to the Sanctuary, or walk north from the parking lot to the shore, and then walk 0.3 miles east along the shore to the trail opening.  The trail opening faces a large off-shore glacial erratic.

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Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

Ken Kindler
Open Space & Trails Advocate
Post Office Box 1466
Sayville NY 11782
ken@litlc.org
Phone:(631) 563-4354

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