QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: 500 acres
- Trail Mileage: 2.6 miles in network
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: easy
- Sights: wetlands, woods, streams
A few well-signed trails encourage people to walk off the campus of Togus hospital and explore the wetlands and forest around the medical center. Some of the trails bring you to VA cemeteries. All of the trails are easy, and many of them are as wide as ATV tracks. In fact, a few seem popular with four-wheelers and so can be pretty muddy.
The trails depart from different spots around the hospital campus. They all have worn wooden signs with trail names and distances on them. My favorite is the .3-mile Beaver Dam trail, which runs along a brook (or perhaps it was originally a canal?) to a small fish pond. It is very clearly a footpath and not an ATV track. The wider and more road-like Greeley Brook, .4 miles, and Foggy Bottom trail, .2 miles, take you through a pretty marsh. Greeley Brook trail can be very wet at times.
The .2-mile Shady Lane and slightly longer Chestnut Ridge trails, on the west side of the campus, seem less used and more neglected. Shady Lane heads steeply uphill to one of the VA cemeteries. The sign for Chestnut Ridge says it’s .7 miles, but we couldn’t find the full extent of it. I think the trail originally went to the water tower.
None of the trails are blazed, but they are mostly easy to follow, with the exception of Bog Brook trail, which wends through a forest and connects to Foggy Bottom and can be hard to see at times.
Directions: From Route 17 (Eastern Ave.), turn onto Togus Road. In 535 feet or so, you’ll see the trail sign for Beaver Dam Trail on your right. In another 150 feet or so, you’ll see the trail sign for Bog Trail on your left. Continue driving down Togus Road, and you’ll come to an intersection. Veer left and you’ll see, at .4 miles from the intersection with Eastern Ave., a trail sign for Greeley Brook Trail. If you keep driving a bit farther down the drive, you’ll come to an overflow parking lot on your left. You can park here, and you’ll see the trail sign for Foggy Bottom Trail at the northeast corner of the lot. Meanwhile, Shady Lane and Chestnut Ridge trails are on the other side of the hospital, the west side, kind of tucked behind a parking lot that looks like it is reserved for utility vehicles and official medical vehicles.