Visit the McLean Game Refuge

Since our beginning in 1932, we have welcomed visitors to the McLean Game Refuge to come and passively recreate within our forests and meadows. Senator McLean said he hoped the Game Refuge would be “a place where some of the things God made may be seen by those who love them as I love them and may find in them the peace of mind and body that I have found.” We honor his wishes today by offering over twenty miles of hiking trails and forest roads to accommodate the 20,000 visitations to our forests each year.

In order to maintain the integrity of our conservation work, the Trustees have established some rules by which visitors must abide while here at the Game Refuge (see full list of rules below). These rules are primarily designed to reduce visitors’ impact on the plants and animals that we exist to protect. However, they are also intended to reduce the chance that one visitor’s recreation might negatively affect the recreation of another visitor. Please respect these rules while visiting and report unauthorized behavior to our Forest Office (860-653-7869). Visitors who cannot follow our rules will be required to leave the Game Refuge.

Game Refuge Hours:
sunrise to sunset

Trail Map of the Game Refuge
Paper maps are available for purchase at the McLean Gift Shop (75 Great Pond Road, Simsbury).
Check the
 News page on our website or our Instagram feed for notices or unplanned closures.

Rules for Visiting the McLean Game Refuge

The McLean Game Refuge is a wildlife sanctuary owned and operated by the Trustees of McLean. Visitors are welcome but must closely follow our rules so that we can effectively protect the plants and animals that call the Game Refuge home. Like many of our peers in conservation, we ask you take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints.

*On June 1, 2022, three miles of trails will be closed to dogs. See changes to dog-walking in bolded red text below.

Hours: sunrise to sunset, every day
Open to Public for Passive Recreation

    Permitted Activity:

    • Walking/hiking
    • Trail Running
    • Walking leashed dogs, except on Firetown Trail, Knollside Trail, South Trail, and Spur Trail
    • Snow Shoeing
    • Cross Country Skiing
    • Photography
    • Scavenger Hunt

    Prohibited Activity:

    • Use of Motorized Vehicles
    • Use of Drones and other Remote Controlled Aircraft
    • Geocaching and Letterboxing
    • Bicycling
    • Boating
    • Fishing
    • Use of Remote Dog Leashes
    • Walking Any Pets Other Than Dogs
    • Walking dogs on Firetown Trail, Knollside Trail, South Trail, and Spur Trail

    • Hiking off Trail
    • Hunting
    • Making fires (outside of picnic grove)
    • Smoking (outside of parking lots)
    • Camping
    • Foraging Mushrooms
    • Picking plants
    • Collecting Firewood
    • Removing Rocks

    Dogs at the Game Refuge:

    • As of June 1, 2022 dogs are no longer permitted on Firetown Trail, Knollside Trail, South Trail, and Spur Trail. Click HERE to read why the Trustees of McLean have made this change to dog-walking.
    • Dogs must be leashed at all times without exception
    • Remote-controlled leashes are not acceptable alternatives to physical leashes
    • Dogs must be under control at all times
    • Dog waste must be collected and removed from the Game Refuge


    Horse Riding at the Game Refuge:

      • Horse riding is permitted only on yellow-blazed trails
      • Horse riding season extends from April 15 to November 30
      • Horse waste must be removed from trails

      Groups and Events:

        Groups larger than 10 people must check in with the Forest Office before beginning their hike

        All school groups must call ahead to schedule their visit with the Forest Office.

        View Photos

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