Fifty Foot Cliff Preserve
102 acres in Mansfield, CT
Trail Map Trails: 1.4 miles Rating: ★★★☆☆
Fifty Foot Preserve is trailed almost entirely by the blue-blaze Nipmuck Trail passing through the property for a total of 1.41 miles. The preserve is the home to the junction between the east and west branches of the Nipmuck at the gas pipeline corridor north of the overlook. Most hikers approach the overlook from behind the Mansfield Historical Society for a short gradual downhill hike on an old logging road. Those looking for more of a challenge can hike up to the overlook from Chaffeeville Road which provides a steep and rugged climb.
The destination here is Fifty Foot Cliff, which provides one of the best views in the area. The overlook is southeast over the Fenton River Valley, Mansfield Hollow, and beyond. The cliff is also the site of the Ishmael Rosas memorial, a stone bench erected in his memory.
Below the overlook is a long 100′ stretch of rock with several established routes that are a strong mix of trad and top rope climbing though I’ve seen several people bouldering as well. To reach the face a side trail near the overlook drops down and around. There is also a faint trail off the Nipmuck as it climbs up to the overlook not too long after the crosses the unnamed stream.
The property was purchased in 1998 by the Town of Mansfield from local real estate agent Peter Rich. The name Fifty Foot predates its purchase and was chosen more for poetic alliteration than for topographic accuracy, as the cliff is actually at least 100 feet high.
The cliff is composed of the Eastford Phase of Canterbury Gneiss. Canterbury gneiss is a plutonic rock which means an igneous rock that solidified from a melt at great depth (as opposed to volcanic). Those here are roughly 413 million years old.
Peter Marteka – Echoes Of The Past In Mansfield (2011)
Hartford Courant – Buying Fifty Foot Topic For Hearing (1998)
Mountain Project – 50 Footer
Robert Perzel – A Climbing Guide To The Monks
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Last updated June 7th, 2020
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