Mamacoke Island

This was one of a group of three deer that were grazing on the marsh.
This was one of a group of three deer that were grazing on the marsh. Karin Crompton/The Day

Mamacoke Island

Town: Waterford

Directions: Traveling I-95 north, take exit 82A (Frontage Road, New London); at end of exit, turn left on Briggs Street; After about a third of a mile, take a slight right onto Mohegan Avenue; Mohegan Ave. turns into Route 32; Follow Rt. 32 for 8/10 of a mile, then turn right at the light onto Benham Ave.

Traveling I-95 south, take Exit 84E for Route 32 north; Merge onto Rt. 32 north and travel about 1.3 miles until taking a right at the light onto Benham Avenue.

Where to Park: A small, unmarked parking area with space for several cars is on your left, facing a field, after crossing the railroad tracks.

Description: Mamacoke Island is a 40-acre island with a trail that is surprisingly diverse, challenging and untouched. The trail around the island travels up and down hills, through sand flats, and rewards the hiker with some phenomenal views of the Thames River and surrounding area. Total hike is about 2 hours. Long pants are suggested because of areas of thick brush and prickers.

Regulations: No running allowed. The island is a sensitive property kept as a natural area to discourage heavy usage.

Amenities: None.

Natural Features: Hardwood forest, two small coves, an abundance of birds including ducks, geese, ospreys, swans and herons.

Fees: Free.

Things to note: Good hiking shoes are recommended as the trail includes rocky areas, hills, roots and a variety of terrain. The trail also includes minimal markings. And bring a camera - there are a number of scenic spots along the way.

Owned by: Connecticut College Arboretum

More information: Arboretum: http://arboretum.conncoll.edu

Also, The Connecticut Audubon Society describes some of the area and its wildlife at http://ct.audubon.org/IBA_MI.html

Passing a cove on the way to the island trail.
Passing a cove on the way to the island trail. Karin Crompton/The Day
A young deer grazes in the field just off of Benham Avenue.
A young deer grazes in the field just off of Benham Avenue. Karin Crompton/The Day
The small parking area off Benham Avenue faces this field, which also has a trail that leads to the island.
The small parking area off Benham Avenue faces this field, which also has a trail that leads to the island. Karin Crompton/The Day
A section of the trail near the sand flats.
A section of the trail near the sand flats. Karin Crompton/The Day
A summertime view of the path that leads away from the parking area.
A summertime view of the path that leads away from the parking area. Karin Crompton/The Day
A summer sunset by the sand flats area of the trail.
A summer sunset by the sand flats area of the trail. Karin Crompton/The Day
The trail from the meadow briefly enters a small patch of woods.
The trail from the meadow briefly enters a small patch of woods. Karin Crompton/The Day
If heavy brush isn’t enough incentive to hike in long pants, this sign is another reminder.
If heavy brush isn’t enough incentive to hike in long pants, this sign is another reminder. Karin Crompton/The Day
A railroad crossing is part of the walk toward the island.
A railroad crossing is part of the walk toward the island. Karin Crompton/The Day
The trail through the field and to the island. This is the view heading back towards the field and to the parking area.
The trail through the field and to the island. This is the view heading back towards the field and to the parking area. Karin Crompton/The Day

View Mamacoke Island in a larger map
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