178 acres in Somers, CT
Parking: Medium sized lot near 70 Camp Rd, Somers, CT
Trail Map Trails: 3.1 miles Rating: ★★★☆☆
Camp Aya-Po is a fantastic spot preserved by the Town of Somers for all to enjoy. There are over 3 miles of trails that can be combined for longer hikes and are open to horses and mountain bikes. Hurds Lake has fishing, boating, and a small beach for swimming. There is a small pavilion, a large open field, and the remains of the old camp buildings.
The two main hiking highlights here are the views around Hurds Lake and the climb up Perkins Mtn.
- Lakeside Trail – Blue – 1 mile
- The lake views can be seen from the 1 mile blue trail which wraps around the edge of the pond and returns on the road to the parking area. This is a good strolling trail and was nice among the fall foliage. There are benches and bridges with views of the pond throughout though sections of the northern stretch can be very wet, rocky, and rooty.
- Lower Trail – Yellow – 0.6 miles
- The first stretch combines with the blue trail along the water offering a view or two before peeling off at about 0.25 miles into the woods. The trail is ever so slightly uphill until reaching a gate at Stafford Rd. Turning left at the gate connects steeply up to the red trail.
- Perkins Mtn. Trail – Red – 1 mile
- From the parking area the trail heads uphill into pines passing the chimney and foundations of the camp buildings. Climbing the mountain is steady but not steep (unless coming from the yellow lower trail then its a fairly steep 0.25 mile climb). The summit of the mountain is a small clearing with a large fire pit and an arrangement of stones in a peace sign. There isn’t much for views, but you can get a sense of the views through the trees especially when the leaves are off the trees. Accounts from the camp say that Sunday services were held here and the trees were cleared at one point for a proper overlook.
- Old Shenipsit Trail – Green 0.8 miles
- I didn’t explore this section of trail, but it is a discontinued section of the Shenipsit Trail. The current terminus of the Shenipsit peters out about a mile south and I bet they hope to reconnect here one day.
Hurds Lake is about 20 acres created by a dam by Camp Road and is about 12ft at its deepest. The lake has gone by many names over the years including Hi-Pease Pond, Hurd’s Lake, Lake Aya-Po, the Girls’ Camp Pond.
Swimming, fishing, and boating are all allowed here. There is a small beach at the southeast side next to the open field. The lake isn’t large enough to be a real destination for boaters, but there’s just enough to explore for a lazy paddle.
The pond was likely created by Daniel Davis sometime around 1862 just northeast of his farm, he called the pond ‘Mountain Mirror’.
The camp founded in 1922 and operated from 1927 to 2008 by the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) with support from Samuel P. Avery Jr. The Town of Somers purchased it in 2014 for $825,000 and removed most of the buildings sometime around 2016.
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Last updated May 21st, 2023
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