Tunxis : Southern Terminus / Tory Den
Connecticut Blue Blaze Trail
in Plymouth and Burlington, CT
Parking: Small pull-off for 4 cars near 290-400 E Plymouth Rd, Terryville, CT
The southern terminus of the Tunxis Trail is currently nothing special, which is actually typical if you look at the Nipmuck, Shenipsit, or Quinebaug Trails. The Trail starts at the southern end of Old Marsh Pond, also known as Bristol Reservoir #7. There isn’t any parking so you’ll have to hike the extra .8 miles south to see it. You’ll pass through some nice pine forest and get a nice view of the reservoir, but it’s hardly worth it.
From the initial parking along East Plymouth Rd the trail follows an old woods road north towards Tory Den. The trail splits with the yellow-dot trail that leads to Miles of Ledges at around .75 miles. When I hiked this loop I did it clockwise past Tory Den to Greer Rd and then looped back through the ledges.
Less than a mile in we already hit Tory Den, a pile of boulders with a rich history. The trail passes by the front entrance to the den and it is easy enough to crouch inside. The space is about 30 feet long to the back exit and a small area in the middle that has a height of about 5’8″. The “cave” apparently used to be a bit larger, but a collapse narrowed it.
The trail then climbs up and down hills as it heads north. There are several odd spots where the blazed trail briefly detours from the worn path over rock outcrops. They certainly make the trail more interesting, but I’d guess most hikers skip them. At 1.8 miles there is a connector with a rocky descent to Greer Rd. I took this in order to complete the four-mile loop through Miles of Ledges.
Tory Den was a hidden place deep in the woods during the American Revolution where loyalists could hide to avoid persecution from the pro-independence group Sons of Liberty. See the links below for further reading.
Edgar Pond – The Tories of Chippeny Hill (1909)
Steve at CTMQ – Tory Den
Peter Marteka – ‘Tory Den’ is Rich with History (2009)
Peter Marteka – A Storied Tory Place in Burlington (2008)
Jesse Leavenworth – Revolutionary War Hideout Still Visible (1996)