Lombardi Ridge Preserve & Bobcat Woods
90 acres in Bolton, CT
Parking: Shoulder parking past 106 School Rd Bolton, CT
Trail Map Trails: 3.4 miles Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Lombardi Ridge is down an old wood road between High Ridge Farm subdivision and Andover Sportman’s Club (so you’ll likely hear some target shooting). The road also serves as someone’s driveway so park off to the side just a bit past the sign. There has also been some recent work (Fall 2021 to pack and grade a gravel road all the way down to the preserve so you could drive all the way in, but there isn’t really parking at the end.
I took the first right following the remains of Wood Road along the backside of the subdivision. The trail soon forks off the old road to follow a shallow brook. I crossed the first of a handful of mossy bridges and entered a half mile stretch of very wet trail. The bridges help but it seems this stretch stays pretty wet seasonally. The backside of this orange blazed loop turns at some marshy lowlands and gently climbs back uphill among some hemlocks.
You’ll recross that old wood road and spur trail to Rock Hollow. While marked blue on the trail map it is actually blazed white/orange. This lollipop loop was definitely my favorite park of this hike it traverses some quick hills and gullys to climb atop a series of rocky outcrops. The trail then descends a split to climb through some boulders and under an overhang in this romantically named rocky hollow.
Finishing the spur and back on the orange trail a rocky hill where the trail map notes a view to the west. Even at sunset in winter with the leaves off the trees there wasn’t much to see, in fact there was a much better view just down the trail at the horseshoe turn off to the east out and over the Hop River Valley.
In fact from the stone bench and memorial marker you’ll get a halfway decent view east (at least in the winter). The stone memorial is a carved boulder which states,” This land was donated to the Bolton Land Trust in 2003 by Rita Lombardi in loving memory of her husband Frank”.
The stone bench has a small plaque inscribed with “My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” donated by the four churches of Bolton in 2011. From here you can either take the orange loop quickly back to the trailhead or extend your hike into (Bolton’s newest property as of 2020) Bobcat Woods.
The yellow blazed loop is about 1.4 miles and passes pretty uneventfully through the forest. However, the trail does pass near Dow’s Rock though you’d never pay it any mind if the trail map didn’t call attention to it. Unfortunately it’s on private property, but see the history section below for its significance.
Preserved in 2003. The preserve was donated to the Bolton Land Trust by Rita Lombardi in honor of her husband Frank. It was the first property owned by trust.
Dow’s Rock – Named for Lorenzo Dow who was born in Coventry in 1777. Dow was a divisive fiery preacher who held a camp meeting in Bolton in May 1805. His journal from one of the first days reads:[May] 30th. The camp ground was in the township of Bolton on Andover parish line; to which led a lead-off road ending on this spot of ground unoccupied. This appeared providential, as we could repair to the spot of woods on the hill, neighbourhood was thick settled, and bigoted federal presbyterians much prejudiced against the methodists. The people were unwilling that we should get water from their brooks or wells, but held the meeting in ridicule and contempt, thinking, whom should I get to encamp on the ground. However, a report having prevailed that the Indians in their times had a spring on this hill to which they resorted, caused a man to go in search of it, and after some difficulty he struck upon a fountain beneath a rock, which afforded us a sufficient supply.
Apparently this meeting was attended by 6-9,000 Methodists as part of the “Second Great Awakening” and was the first of its kind in New England.
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Last updated December 20th, 2021
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