In my Hidden Gems of Fairfield County, I will be showing places in and around the County that people, including myself, always seem to forget exist or forget why they are even around.
In today’s installment of Hidden Gems, I want to talk about Alley Park. Specifically named the Charles Alley Nature Park. Alley Park is located on Old Logan Road just off of Route 33 East right outside of Lancaster.
The park sits on 300 acres and boasts a good size parking lot, several miles of hiking trails, a couple of ponds and a nature center.
Coming in from the parking lot, it looks like you’re going to be hiking a paved trail but that is just the drive back to the nature center. Once you get to Lake Loretta just inside the park, you can either continue straight back to the nature center or take a left and walk around the lake.
There are several trails including Alley Trail which is a couple of miles around the outer edge of the park. You can reach these trails from the paved driveway and they take you a variety of places in the park. The trails are very well marked and there are plenty of maps available along the way to mark where you are and where each trail goes. We visited most recently in the fall with all of the leaves on the ground and had no trouble following the trails.
If you continue back the paved road toward the nature center, there is a lovely little shelter house to sit and enjoy nature or even have a family get together. I’m not totally for sure but to use these shelter areas, I believe you just need to contact Lancaster Parks and Recreation and reserve it. There is also a larger shelter house at the entrance to the park by the parking lot. As you continue back the paved road, you will encounter a restored covered bridge and then finally the Goslin Nature Center. You can rent the Nature Center for your events like a business event, fundraiser or a wedding.
The views in this park are amazing. At one point on one of the trails, you will come over a hill and reach Twin Lakes. It is actually just one lake but there is a jut of land that extends out into the lake from both sides.
With the lovely and unexpected spring weather we have had recently, I encourage you to visit this park on the outskirts of Lancaster and explore the many trails. If you take a look at the Lancaster Parks and Recreation website, there is an event calendar and you can take a look at everything this park has to offer. Much to my surprise, I see that this park has an event for the public at least once a month. This includes their annual pumpkin hike and visit with Santa as well as the moon light hiking tours and Pioneer Days in the summer.