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Nipmuck : Yale Forest

Nipmuck Trail : Yale Forest

Connecticut Blue Blaze Trail

in Ashford, CT

Parking: Small pull-off near 253-77 Boston Hollow Rd Ashford, CT

Trail Map


Boston Hollow Rd is an unpaved road through the Boston Hollow ravine.  From the pull-off the trail swiftly ascends the western ridge of the ravine.  The trail then heads off the ridge and soon reaches a rocky overlook with a view southwest.

The trail then winds through the forest and ledges in a hilly hike until reaching Barlow Mill Rd.  A loop hike can be done here by hiking back on Barlow Mill towards Boston Hollow and back to the pull-off.  The approximate distance is around 4 miles.

From Barlow Mill Rd the trail continues north to Bigelow Hollow State Park.

Previous Section – Nipmuck : Iron Mine Valley

Next Section – Bigelow Hollow State Park

History:

Boston Hollow is one of the most well-preserved ravine faults in eastern Connecticut.  Boston Hollow Rd is a portion of the Center Turnpike, constructed in 1827.


Links:

The information shown here is for general reference purposes only. exploreCT.org gives no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or reliability of this data. Parking in all areas, whether designated here or not, is at your own risk. exploreCT.org is not responsible for any damage or loss to vehicles or contents.
Last updated July 15, 2019
Nipmuck : Pixie Falls

Nipmuck Trail : Iron Mine Valley Section

Connecticut Blue-Blaze Trail

in Ashford, CT

Parking: Small pull-off near 32 Iron Mine Lane, Ashford, CT 

Trail Map


This section of the Nipmuck is a relatively easy stretch with highlights in Pixie Falls and Ladies Room Rock.

The trail starts just off the portion of Iron Mine Lane close to Rt. 89. It follows an old woods road until veering off through a stone wall about 1/3rd of a mile down the trail.  It passes an old foundation along the way.  Crossing over a seasonal stream then heads a bit uphill to a hilly ridge that continues until the red-blazed spur for Pixie Falls.  You can generally hear the falls as you approach and a sign high up on a tree notes the spur trail.  A short walk brings you to Boston Hollow Brook and the chain of tiny cascades known as Pixie Falls.

Back on the blue-blazed trail you cross an angled bridge over the brook and begin heading uphill towards Ladies Room Rock.   A painted rock acts as a sign in the middle of the trail and points in the direction of the large erratic just off the trail.  The origin of the name isn’t exactly clear, but the reason seems to be well accepted, that this large boulder provides some privacy for ladies as needed.

From here the Nipmuck winds through a rocky section until it meets with the northern terminus of the Natchaug Trail and then on to Eastford Rd.  The next section doesn’t offer any standout features but takes gentle hills through patches of mountain laurel until reaching the next major section at Boston Hollow.

History:

This area is known as Iron Mine Valley for the bog iron pulled from here during the Revolutionary War era.


Links:

Peter Marteka – A Magical Waterfall And A River Of Hope In The Wilds Of Ashford (2015)

Steve at CTMQ – Pixie Falls and Ladies Room Rock

The information shown here is for general reference purposes only. exploreCT.org gives no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or reliability of this data. Parking in all areas, whether designated here or not, is at your own risk. exploreCT.org is not responsible for any damage or loss to vehicles or contents.
Last updated July 4, 2019
Doris Chamberlain Nature Preserve

Doris E. Chamberlain Nature Preserve

Andover Town Park

69 acres in Andover, CT

Parking: Medium sized dirt lot near 95 Hebron Rd Andover, CT or the rear of the Andover Elementary School or from the Hop River Trail nearest parking at the lot on Monument Ln, Andover, CT

Trail Map


I started from the dirt lot of Hebron Rd/Rt 316.  The trail navigates around a marshy pond and was a bit overgrown during my late-June visit.  At around 1/3 of a mile the trail reaches the back of the Elementary School and becomes much better traveled from there.

The main trail is the yellow blazed Percy Cook Trail which provides a meandering connection to the Hop River Trail.  It is an easy half-mile to the covered bridge over Rt 316.

There are several mountain bike trails that criss-cross the main trail.  I followed nearly all of them and they wind back and forth on themselves in the typical fashion.  I don’t have the technical jargon to accurately describe them but they’re pretty straightforward without any of the log and rock features I’ve seen on other trails.  Mud on the trail showed that only one bike had been through recently.

History:

It’s unclear when this property was established but best guess is the early 2000s.  The preserve is named from Doris E. Chamberlain who was principal of Andover Elementary School from 1946 to 1971.


Links:

The information shown here is for general reference purposes only. exploreCT.org gives no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or reliability of this data. Parking in all areas, whether designated here or not, is at your own risk. exploreCT.org is not responsible for any damage or loss to vehicles or contents.
Last updated July 3, 2019
Selden Creek Preserve

Selden Creek Preserve

Nature Conservancy and Lyme Land Trust Property

394 acres in Lyme, CT

Parking: Shoulder parking near 116 Mitchell Hill Road, Lyme, CT or small lot north of 345 Joshuatown Rd
Lyme, CT

Trail Map


On a bright late-spring day, I headed down the Ravine Trail starting off Mitchell Hill Rd.  The trail is a narrow gulley shaded by pines between private properties.  The trail turns at a marshy beaver pond and starts uphill.  This short climb is bordered by a faint stream coming down the rocks.  At the top of the hill you enter the ravine.  Rock walls on either side direct your course through a fairly wide fern covered climb.  While the trail maps lists this as challenging terrain it certainly leans more moderate.  The ravine gradually narrows and I grabbed the orange connector to the Blue/White trail.  The trail map also lists a blue trail to an overlook which I must have missed.  It was a quick walk either way to Joshuatown Rd.

Crossing the road leads to the Nature Conservancy section of the property.  A small parking area in front of a small field notes the start of the trail.  A kiosk and sign are set off into the woods.  Walking in on the Selden White trail seems to be well traveled and I noticed the large of amount of fallen trees.  The area must have gotten hit by rough weather a few years ago.  The trail comes close to the summit of Observatory Hill but the trail winds between hills.  I knew I was heading to a pair of overlooks and expected a short climb, instead you descend toward the river valley.  First stop was the Selden Blue overlook a narrow trail the heads quite a ways downhill to a short stone cliff with peaceful albeit lackluster views.

Second stop was the white trail’s overlook which is dedicated to Carolie Evans for her work conserving Connecticut’s land.  This overlook is much nicer with a rocky outcrop and wider views of Selden Creek, the marsh, and Selden Neck State Park.  Pines shade the area and a bench provides good seating although I chose the rocks closer to the edge.

From here I made my way back along the Selden Blue trail, crossed back over Joshuatown Rd, and took the orange connector to the purple trail.  The crossing over Whalebone Creek was dry though I’d guess this section of the purple trail is much wetter in early spring.  The trail meandered nicely back to the car for a total hike of 4.5 miles.

History:


Links:

The Nature Conservancy  – Selden Creek Preserve

Peter Marteka – Take A Hike Along Ravine Trail, Visit Selden Creek Preserve

Kristen Stodolski – The Ravine Trail a Popular Hike

The information shown here is for general reference purposes only. exploreCT.org gives no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or reliability of this data. Parking in all areas, whether designated here or not, is at your own risk. exploreCT.org is not responsible for any damage or loss to vehicles or contents.
Last updated May 26, 2019
Seven Falls

Seven Falls

in Middletown and Haddam, CT

Parking: Shoulder parking near 1 Saybrook Rd, Higganum, CT

Trail Map


While this is a state-owned property Seven Falls can’t be called a state park. That implies something else, it’s much closer to “scenic reserve” status and is actually termed a “picnic area”.

Just off the road is the good-sized picnic area next to Bible Rock Brook.  The area looks like it floods pretty often which steals some of its scenic beauty.  Despite recent rains and a rushing brook, the falls were underwhelming too.  A creative counting of the drops does add up to seven though none are more than a couple of feet.  In aggregate it’s still a peaceful spot.

The trails start on the other side of the bridge along Rt 154 and fork as they head into the woods.  The blue blaze Mattabesett heads off to the right and the yellow Seven Falls Loop to the left.  This section of the Mattabesett is surprisingly great.  It has been rerouted recently due to an expansion of the utility corridor but the trail selection is well done.  From the shaded section along the brook, the CFPA could have taken a direct shot just to get across the powerlines as quickly as possible.  Instead, they worked interesting rock features and ledges to navigate through the corridor.  It is well marked and has a scramble or two.  Beyond the powerlines, you reenter the woods and wind through more ledges and mountain laurel.  After about a mile the trail splits to the yellow-blazed Seven Falls Loop.  I continued a bit further along the Mattabesett crossing Freeman Rd and Rt 410 with not much to note before turning around.

The return trip on the yellow blaze is much wetter.  There are several interesting water features that could be added to the seven falls.  There are also a couple of marshy sections before returning to the utility corridor.

There are also a number of climbing and bouldering opportunities that can be explored at the link below

History:


Links:

New England Waterfalls – Seven Falls

Mountain Project – Seven Falls Bouldering Climbing

The information shown here is for general reference purposes only. exploreCT.org gives no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or reliability of this data. Parking in all areas, whether designated here or not, is at your own risk. exploreCT.org is not responsible for any damage or loss to vehicles or contents.
Last updated May 6, 2019