UCONN CAMPUS TRAILS;

DENDROLOGY 101 LETTERBOX:

STORRS, CONNECTICUT

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:   February 02, 2024

Length:             Campus Tour Loop (Roundtrip tour through campus to & from the Visitors Center); 4  miles.

                            Discovery Drive Bikeway; 1.4 miles.

                            Hunting Lodge/Birch Road Bikeway; 1.7 miles.

                            Route 44 Bikeway; 0.8 miles.

                            Off Campus Bikeway; 4.3 mile Long Loop or 1.8 mile Short Loop.

                            Separatist Road Bikeway; 1.5 miles. Loop; 3.1 miles.

                            Horsebarn Hill Loop; 1.7 miles.

                            Celeron Trail; 0.7 miles.

Difficulty:         Easy. Paved trails & sidewalks throughout the campus.

                            Moderate; Discovery Drive Bikeway & Horsebarn Hill Loop. Some hill climbs involved.

Directions:

From I-84, take exit 68. Head south down Route 195 to Storrs, CT and the UConn Campus. As you head down the hill into the campus, you’ll pass by the Towers Dorms on your right (my old dorm), then the yellow Dairy Barn on your left. After passing by the greenhouses of the Agricultural Biotechnology Buildings on your left, take the next left and proceed down Horsebarn Hill Exd, taking another left at the White Building. This brings you to the Dairy Bar parking lot. To get to the Lodewick Visitor Center, continue down Route 195 until you come to North Eagleville Rd and take a right. Follow North Eagleville Rd to the intersection of Hillside Rd. The Lodewick Visitor Center is located here and the North Parking Garage is too your left. See; Visitor Center and Campus Parking .

Note; Parking is limited on campus during the weekday and requires a parking pass. However, after 5pm and on weekends and holidays parking is free. There is a parking garage near the Lodewick Visitor Center. All the buildings on campus are easily identified by blue signs in front of them with their names. The campus Map is displayed on blue sign boards throughout the campus.

Dendrology is the scientific study of trees. As a Forestry and Wildlife major at the University of Connecticut, I had to learn how to identify trees and shrubs from their leaves, buds, bark and even their smell. This allowed me to be able to identify trees in the middle of winter. As the years have progressed however, I find myself having a harder time identifying the tree species. So, in order to refresh my memory, what better way than to devise a Letterbox that identifies trees along the route to the Letterbox. If you have kids, they’ll love to learn the tree names. I’ve also devised the clues to reach the Letterbox, as a tour of the campus and its buildings. UConn also offers a self-guided tour of the campus’s unusual trees. For an on-line Map visit; UCONN TREE GUIDE .

Note: The campus is continuously adding new buildings, so detours may spring up every now and then. I’ll try to update these clues as often as possible when new buildings arise or old ones are torn down. This includes the trees. 

GO HUSKIES!

 CAMPUS TOUR LOOP:

Starting from the Lodewick Visitor Center; Located on the corner of North Eagleville Rd & Hillside Rd.

Note; Two more Bike Routes start from here: The Discovery Drive Bikeway & Off Campus Bikeway. See Below.  

Cross Hillside Rd and travel East along North Eagleville Rd in front of the Gant Science Complex to your right and Northwest Halls to your left. Pass by the Biology/Physics building to your right (great views from its top floor which also contains a greenhouse) and North Campus Halls across N Eagleville Rd. Travel past the Torrey Life Sciences Building, which is across from the cemetery and turn right, South, down the road. This will bring you to the Pharmacy/Biology Building, with its massive green (copper) exterior, on your right. The Engineering & Science Building straight ahead and to your left is my favorite building on Campus, the Chemistry Building. This building has won many architectural awards. Follow the road to the back of the Chemistry Building and head right. Turn left between the Engineering & Science Building and the Chemistry Building, then left, North, around to the front of the Chemistry Building where it overlooks Swan Lake. Continue back out to N Eagleville Rd and turn right, East, passing by the small Planetarium overlooking the lake. Just past the Planetarium, up a small knoll sits a large Scots Pine tree (# 5428). Continue along the lake to the junction of Glenbrook Rd and North Eagleville Rd. You'll find the first of several blue historical signs ("Lakes & Stone") located throughout campus, that were erected to commemorate UConn's 125th Anniversary, next to a Japanese Larch tree (# 5423). Turn left and cross North Eagleville Rd where you'll spot some stone steps leading up to a Mountain Laurel grove at 0.6 miles. At the bottom of the stairs to your right is an American Holly (# 6633). At the top of the steps you’ll see a "Little Stone House".  In 1937, the Connecticut Grange built this stone house that "now" contains stones from all 50 states. Enter the Stone House and from its back archway you'll see several large boulders. Walk to an Eastern White Pine tree next to a large boulder on its left and two split rocks on its right. Go to the north side of the left split rock and under its ledge, behind a flat rock is the Dendrology 101 Letterbox. Return to North Eagleville Rd and head East to Route 195. Use the cross-light over Route 195 and head left, past the Ratcliffe Hicks Building. Cross Manter Rd and travel North along Route 195 to a brick lined path on your right. This path takes you East past the Bio Science Complex greenhouses and Agricultural Biotechnology Laboratory & Landscaping Services buildings on your left before coming to the DAIRY BAR at 0.9 miles. Along with a Map Board, picnic tables are located here to enjoy the best ice cream in CT. You'll also find another blue historical sign ("A Familiar Vista") here. Pass by an informational sign and come to the front of the *Dairy Bar entrance parking lot.

Note; The Horsebarn Hill Loop starts from here. See Below for directions.

From the *Dairy Bar entrance entrance head right, South, along the entrance road out to Manter Rd. On your right, next to the White Building, you'll find an American Sycamore tree (tag # 5240). 

Note; Heading left takes you along a dirt road to the top of Horsebarn Hill.

Turn right to the front of the White Building, then left down a wide sidewalk, passing by a Crab Apple tree (circle tag # 5109) on your left. Continue South between the Young Building (College of Agriculture) on your left and the Ratcliffe Hicks Building on your right to the open mall. After passing by the front steps of the College of Agriculture turn right, West, in front of Hicks Hall where you'll pass by a Dawn Redwood tree (# 5020) and a couple of European Birch trees (# 5022/5026) on your left before coming to Route 195. Use the cross-light over Route 195, then head up the sidewalk, to the left of the UConn sign. On your left will be another blue historical sign ("First Step-Fallen Friend"). Bear right when the sidewalk splits and travel to the top of the hill.  Turn left, South and pass by the flagpoles, admiring the lawns as they sweep down towards Route 195. Continue straight past Beach Hall to the East corner and turn right along the back side and spot the Presidents Garden to your left. It is opposite Gully Hall, which houses the offices of the University President and Chancellor. After checking out the Presidents Garden take a left out of the garden and pass by a group of Japanese Maple trees (# 5328-36) on your right. Continuing straight past a parking lot on your right, look left to spot a lone Black Pine tree (# 5560) in the middle of the quad. Also, to your right across the parking lot is a massive European/Copper Beech tree (# 5564). Continue Past Manchester Hall on your left and arrive at Mirror Lake. Take the sidewalk right, around the Western Side of the lake, along Mansfield Rd. You’ll pass a large White Willow tree (# 5644) along the left side. Continue to the Southern End of the lake out to Route 195, then turn right and cross over Mansfield Rd to the Music Building. Head right back along Mansfield Rd and spot the tall green obelisk on your left. Behind it is the Von Der Mehden Recital Hall. Turn left through the courtyard (between the Music Building & Von Der Mehden) and you'll come to the Music Library (circular, green glass building) at 1.8 miles. Then bear right, West, out to Parking Lot 1 past the Art Building out to Maple Lane (across which is the Parking S Lot) and head right to the traffic circle and the South Campus Residence Halls. Travel left, West, behind Wilson Hall & Rosebrooks Hall, then turn right, North and pass between Rosebrooks Hall & Rome Commons (Dining Hall located here) to the common quad where you'll find tables with umbrellas. Follow the double wide North-South Campus Walkway out to Gilbert Rd. 

Note; In 2024, the construction of a new South Campus Residential Hall is in full swing at this site, so a detour may be necessary out to Gilbert Rd. Slated to be complete by Fall 2024.

Cross Gilbert Rd and spot another blue historical sign ("University Life"). Travel through an open wooded area with Adirondack chairs spread throughout and come to a brick circle in the middle of the walkway. Next to a blue "UConn Emergency Phone" (located throughout campus) is a Sweet Gum tree (# 6786), my favorite Fall tree. Continue straight over Whitney Rd at and past the Dodd Research Center, up to your left, which houses the University’s archives and special collections. 

Note; Take a quick left up the sidewalk to the front plaza of Dodd and check out the 12 ton granite book. The Homer Babbidge Library is right next door. The Bookworms Café is located just off the South Plaza inside the Library's South entrance.

Continue North down the walkway between the Library and Bousfield Psychology Building and past Oak Hall to Fairfield Way and the East-West Campus Walkway. Turn right, then another quick right, South, between the backsides of Oak Hall and the Hawley Armory. Then turn left and travel around the front of Hawley Armory North back to Fairfield Way. Head right, East, past Koons Hall on your left to the Mansfield Rd traffic circle. Spot the long line of Norway Spruce trees across Mansfield Rd. Turn left, North, down Mansfield Way. This is a large sidewalk, but is also used by the University’s busses, so stay alert. Pass by Gully Hall & Beech Hall on your right followed by the Wilbur Cross Building on your left. This used to be the campus library and its golden-domed cupola is a focal point on campus. On your right is another blue historical sign ("The Great Lawn") and a Veterans Memorial next to the green. In front of you to the right is the CLAS Building (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) at 2.6 miles. Turn left, West and travel between Wilbur Cross and Storrs Hall, which is the oldest brick building on campus. Head left, South, behind the back of Wilbur Cross. Another blue historical sigh here ("Built to Last"). Take your first right and then another right, North, to the stone patio of the Benton Museum of Art. Shaded with benches, sculptures and a water fountain. This was the original entrance for the Museum, but is now its backside. Directly between the Museum and Wilbur Cross is a large White Oak tree (# 6615). Exit the patio and you'll see Wood Hall straight ahead. Turn left, West and travel around the museum to the front entrance.

Note; The Benton Museum of Art has a gift shop and cafe inside. 

Now travel right, West, past the Sundial Plaza to the Student Union Mall. Travel right, along the Northern Side of the mall, past the Castleman School of Engineering Building along your right. Turn left, South, past the Student Union. You may grab a bite to eat here. Also, just inside the Student Union, up past the patio you'll find the old building exterior preserved from when they extended the building outward during a building expansion. Next, travel back along the Southern Side of the mall past Laurel Hall. Notice the rain garden used to capture excess water from the gutters, This building also has a "green" roof, which you can spot from the upper floors of the Homer Babbidge Library. Turn right, South and travel between this building and the Rowe Center for Undergraduate Education Building to Fairfield Way (East-West Campus Walkway). This will bring you to the North entrance of the Homer Babbidge Library at 3.1 miles. Notice the Oak leaf brick design in the walkway. Turn right along the walkway past the School of Engineering's Information Technology Building on your left, then turn left between this building and the Business Building. This will bring you to a large courtyard with a sculpture that kind of resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa next to some granite steps that descend into the earth. The UConn Recreation Center, with its 56' climbing wall is straight ahead. Turn right, West, past the Recreation Center and travel out to Hillside Rd where you can cross over to the **B&N Bookstore at 3.3 miles.

Note; Separatist Road Bikeway route starts from here. See; Below for directions.

Cross over Jim Calhoun Way and continue straight, West, past the dome of the Gampel Pavilion, home of the national champion men’s and women’s basketball teams. You can usually take a quick tour inside. Travel right, North, along Hillside Rd, which is now closed to traffic. Pass by the Husky Dog statue, which is outside Gampel Pavilion's North entrance. Next comes the Greer Field House and directly across the street is the Student Union. There are eateries located within, as well as a movie theatre. See; STUDENT UNION FOOD COURT . When you reach the end of the Field House at the junction of Glenbrook Rd, head left, West, along the side of the Field House. This will bring you to the track and field oval. Bear right and you'll come to the Alumni House on the right, which houses the HUSKY HERITAGE SPORTS MUSEUM . Up to your left is the Werth Residence Tower (Stem housing with solar panels). Continue out the entrance to Alumni Drive and travel right, North, down the hill. You’ll pass the UConn Foundation on your right.

Note; Nice paths with gardens travel around the UConn Foundation

You come to the N Hillside Rd traffic circle. Up to the right is JORGENSEN AUDITORIUM . Straight ahead is the North parking garage. Turn left and travel past the painted "Rock", another blue historical sign here ("The Rock") and turn left, West, up to the Science 1 Stem Building. Here you'll find a scenic "water garden" that resembles a creek you might spot out West. Informational signs. Return to N Hillside Rd and head left, North, down to the Lodewick Visitor Center for about a 4  mile Loop.     

HORSEBARN HILL LOOP:

Starting from the parking lot in front of the *Dairy Bar entrance; Travel to the Northeast corner of the large parking lot next to the pasture. This will bring you to Old Farm Ln. Travel North along this access road between Horsebarn Hill on your right and the wetlands and pasture on your left. Wide open sweeping views. A slight hill climb up to Horsebarn Hill Rd at 0.4 miles. 

Note; Just before Horsebarn Hill Rd is a parking lot on your right. This hiking path leads up to the top of  Horsebarn Hill and exits near the Jones Building, which is near the Dairy Bar.

Note; Before you continue right, East, along Horsebarn Hill Rd take a quick detour left, West, up a short, steep hill. This brings you past the Kellogg Dairy Center (where you can see the cows being milked, get a drink of cold water or use the restrooms), the historic UConn Poultry Houses that used to dominate this area and finally to the iconic, red Jacobson Barn at 0.25 miles.

Continuing right, East, along Horsebarn Hill Rd enjoy the great views before traveling down a long steep hill. CAUTION, steep curve ahead. The road levels out and turns Southwest along the backside of Horsebarn Hill. You'll pass by Cattle Resources Unit, Livestock Units and Horse Unit. You may check out the animals at all these units. Around the next corner is the Horsebarn Hill Arena followed by the Horse Stables at 1.2 miles. This is the most popular barn on campus, where you can pet the horses. Continue past the parking areas on your right and the famous Horsebarn Hill Sledding Area on your left before coming to the parking lot for the Young Building (College of Agriculture) on your right. Head right, North, through this parking lot past a gazebo & picnic tables on the right and a row of Gingko trees (# 5077-81) along the median on your left. Continue out the rear entrance and up to Horsebarn Hill Exd. Turn right, then left at the White Building. This brings you back to the *Dairy Bar parking lot after a 1.7 mile Loop.

SEPARATIST ROAD BIKEWAY LOOP:

Starting from the **B&N Bookstore; Travel Southwest between the B&N Bookstore and Gampel Pavilion along Jim Calhoun Way. Head past the South parking garage on your left and the Werth Basketball Center (this was the site of the former Memorial Football Stadium) up to Alumni Rd on your right. Here you'll pick up a wide sidewalk alongside Jim Calhoun Way. Pass by the massive Burton Football Training Center on your left, then travel between the Burrell Baseball & Softball Fields & Morrone Soccer Stadium before passing the Freitas Ice Forum & Toscano Family Ice Forum as the road turns West. Pass by the Hilltop Apartment Complex before coming to Separatist Road at 0.7 miles

Note; The Separatist Road Bikeway travels both North & South along Separatist Rd. Heading right, North, the trail only travels 0.3 miles and currently ends at Hunting Lodge Rd. 

Heading left, South, the hilly, curvy Separatist Road Bikeway follows alongside Separatist Rd bringing you to South Eagleville Rd at 1.2 miles. Use the cross-walk over South Eagleville Rd and travel left, East, on-road (wide shoulder). You head up a slight hill, cross Maple Rd and come to the paved South Eagleville Road Path after only 0.25 miles. The South Eagleville Road Path continues Northeast, passing by crosswalks over to Westwood & Eastwood Roads at 1.7 miles. 

Note; You can take a shortcut back to the **B&N Bookstore up either of these roads. 

Just before reaching Route 195 take the next cross-walk left, over S Eagleville Rd, then straight past the Mansfield Community Center. At the rear of the building turn right along a brick paved trail past the backside of the Mansfield Town Hall. When the brick trail splits bear left out to Route 195. Head left, North, along the double-wide sidewalk next to Route 195, past EO Smith High School

Note; Across Route 195 is MANSFIELD DOWNTOWN .

Come to Bolton Rd and head left, West, on-road (low traffic/sidewalk available) past the Fine Arts Complex & Nafe Katter Theatre. Pass by Parking Lot S and come to an entrance on your right. Follow up to a sidewalk and turn left between the parking lot circle and the front of the Phillips Communication Sciences Building. Travel past this building, then head right between the Human Development & Family Relations Building which takes you back out to Bolton Rd. Head right, North, along Bolton Rd and take your next right past the Graduate Storrs Hotel (where you can grab a bite to eat) on the right and the Alumni Residence Halls to your left. Follow this access road North, past the South Campus Residence Halls out to Gilbert Rd. Turn left, traveling past the West Campus Residence Halls out to Hillside Rd. Head right past McMahon Hall on your left and the UConn Student Recreation Center and you'll come to the **B&N Bookstore after a 3.1 mile Loop.

OFF CAMPUS BIKEWAY:

[Discovery Drive Bikeway-Celeron Trail-Hunting Lodge/Birch Road Bikeway-Route 44 Bikeway]

Starting from the Lodewick Visitor Center; Cross North Eagleville Rd to Discovery Drive. Here you'll find both the paved Discovery Drive Bikeway and a BIKE LANE. Head North up along Discovery Drive. About ¼ mile up on your left will be the turn-off for the Celeron Trail next to the blue security phone. Follow this trail West, which is paved, but in a bit of rough shape as it takes you behind the UConn Motor Pool. Hold your nose as you pass by the sewage treatment plant. Here, you enter the woods and emerge after 0.8 miles at the Celeron Square Apartment complex. Pass through this complex to the main complex road and turn left. This will bring you to the Hunting Lodge/Birch Road Bikeway.

From here you have two options:

Option A; Turn left, South, along the paved Hunting Lodge/Birch Road Bikeway and a cross-walk gets takes you across Hunting Lodge Rd in front of the Carriage House Apartments. The trail then travels Southeast alongside Hunting Lodge Rd and out to North Eagleville Rd at 1.5 miles. 

Note; A paved path heading right, Southwest, along North Eagleville Rd brings you to the Northwood Apartments after 0.4 miles and ends.

Turn left, East and follow the paved path along N Eagleville Rd passing by the UConn Police & Fire Dept. before returning to the Lodewick Visitor Center for a 1.8 mile Loop.

Option B; Turn right, Northwest and the paved Hunting Lodge/Birch Road Bikeway takes you alongside Hunting Lodge Rd. The trail is in much better shape here. At 1.2 miles a parking lot for the Hillside Environment Park is on your right. Hiking trails located here. After reaching the intersection with Birch Rd after 1 ½ miles, the trail turns right, North and continues out to Route 44. Here the Route 44 Bikeway heads right, East, alongside Route 44. You'll pass by the entrance for the Discovery Drive Bikeway on your right at 2.3 miles before coming to CVS at the Four-Corners intersection of Routes 44 & 195 where the trail ends after 2.6 miles

Note; You can return to the Lodewick Visitor Center by retracing your route West, back to the entrance for the Discovery Drive Bikeway at 2.9 miles. See; Below. Follow the Discovery Drive Bikeway South back to the Lodewick Visitor Center after a 4.3 mile Loop.

DISCOVERY DRIVE BIKEWAY:

Starting from the Lodewick Visitor Center; Cross North Eagleville Rd to Discovery Drive. Here you'll find both the paved Discovery Drive Bikeway and a BIKE LANE. Head North up along Discovery Drive past the Central Warehouse. About a ¼ mile up on your left will be the turn-off for the Celeron Trail next to the blue security phone. 

Note; The paved Celeron Trail travels West to the Celeron Square Apartment complex and out to the Hunting Lodge/Birch Road Bikeway after 0.7 miles. See; Off Campus Bikeway Below.

Continue North past the tennis courts on your left and you'll reach the turn-off for the Charter Oak Apartments at 0.6 miles. Continue straight, passing by the Innovation Partnership Building. After crossing over 3 culverts the trail intersects the Route 44 Bikeway after 1.4 miles.

QUICK TREE IDENTIFIERS:

CRAB APPLE: Medium sized tree with a short trunk and stout, spreading branches. Stout, short twigs with leaves in close and tight. Dark brown bark, broken into irregular flaky plates.

EUROPEAN BEECH: Similar to American Beech, except the leaves are copper or deep purple in color. Ornamental. Also called Copper Beech.

EUROPEAN BIRCH: An ornamental tree similar to the more common White Birch (or Paper Birch) that has white, peeling bark. Leaves are triangular shaped with pointy tips.

GINGKO: Is the sole surviving species of a group of Gymnosperms that flourished 65 million years ago, the time when dinosaurs existed. This tree can have a lifespan as long as 1,000 years. Their uniquely fan-shaped leaves start out green but morph into a golden fall foliage.

SWEET GUM: The star shaped, dark green leaves turn a spectacular fall color, often a combination of green, yellow, orange, red and purple foliage, but sometimes solid crimson, burgundy or scarlet. Often mistaken for a maple leaf.

SHAGBARK HICKORY: Tall tree with a straight trunk distinguished by its bark, which is broken into long, loose, flattened plates with the ends curving away from the trunk giving a shaggy appearance.

AMERICAN HOLLY: A shrubby looking tree with a pyramid-shaped crown. Dark green, stiff, leathery leaves are evergreen, with sharp pointy ends. Bright red fruits.

JAPANESE LARCH: This evergreen drops its needles in the fall, which distinguishes it from other conifers. Small, slender, spreading branches with clustered needles

JAPANESE MAPLE: An ornamental tree with fine, reddish, star shaped leaves. Shrubby.

WHITE OAK: Thick, light gray bark with shallow to deep fissures. Deep, rounded, lobed leaves.

BLACK PINE: Long, sharp pointed needles, 2 per bundle. Brown to dark gray bark becomes deeply furrowed. Tall and straight, forming a uniform pyramid.

EASTERN WHITE PINE: The only five-needle pine (needles bundled in groups of 5) native to eastern North America. 

SCOTS PINE: The distinctive bark is orange in color and fissured. The needles are bundled in twos.

DAWN REDWOOD: Dawn redwood is considered a "living fossil" because it dates from prehistoric times. It is one of only a few deciduous conifers, meaning it drops its needles in the fall. The soft needle-like leaves look like evergreens, but are bright green in the spring and brilliant orange/red in the fall. The bark is red- brown, fissured and exfoliating in long strips.

NORWAY SPRUCE: Evergreen needles, stiff, 1/2 to 1 inch long, shiny deep green. A medium to large tree with conical form capable of reaching over 120 feet tall, with horizontal to upward sweeping branches that often droop branchlets. "Tree looks like it's raining branches". 

AMERICAN SYCAMORE: Large trees with a broad open crown. On older trees the bark separates into large, thin scales that resemble a jigsaw puzzle, exposing the lighter colored inner bark.

WHITE WILLOW: Long slender branches sweeping the ground. Moist sites. Smooth, yellowish-green branches with bright green, slender leaves. Similar to Weeping Willow.

UMBRELLA PINE: Evergreen tree with 6 inch long needles, borne in pairs. As the tree matures it becomes dome-shaped.

HH

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LETTERBOX LAST VERIFIED ON

NOVEMBER 26, 2022

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