Crystal Ridge Trail
48 acres in Ellington, CT
- Shoulder parking near 1 Crystal Ridge Dr, Ellington, CT
- Cul-de-sac parking near 158 Old Sandy Beach Rd, Ellington, CT
Trail Map Trails: 1.5 miles Rating: ★★☆☆☆
The Crystal Ridge Trail is Ellington’s newest trail as of 2023 and features a features a fairly simple double loop that is easy to start with brook views and a couple steep climbs at the back. As of my first hike here in late November 2023 there isn’t real parking or a trailhead kiosk so you have to know where to look to start.
The trail starts as a wide forest road heading off among the pines on orange blazed trail. The trail crosses a utility corridor and begins to follow the bank above Aborn Brook. Confusing blazing here does suggest briefly leaving the forest road, but you likely miss it and notice it on the way back.
As the trail turns south it splits with the white Quartz Trail heading east and the orange Crystal Ridge Trail heading uphill. Both loop to the same spot, but the white trail offers a longer but slightly easier climb of the ridge. On the Quartz trail here is also an option to cross Aborn Brook on a well built bridge to head to the Old Sandy Beach Road parking, there is also bench with a view of this area.
Turning south and uphill on the Quartz Trail works its way around the curve of the ridge, while well blazed the fairly steep climb appears rarely traveled. At the top of the ridge you’ll see the other two entrances to the orange Crystal Ridge Trail’s “lollipop loop” within about 100′ of each other.
Either offers another steep descent back to the trail junction and parking options.
This property was preserved in 2005 when it was given to the town by the Crystal Ridge Estates, likely as a set aside open space requirement. The trail here was developed over the course of 2022-23 with a bridge and trail extension built by Eagle Scout Zach McTighe.
I’m curious about the longer term history of the property, sitting just south of Crystal Lake, it seems like prime property. Easily available property records going go back to the early 90s and on the ground evidence makes it look like a playground for offroad vehicles. I hope to turn up more in a more extensive search.
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Last updated November 27th, 2023
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