Schindler/Schmidt Conservation Area
123 acres in Tolland, CT
Parking: Shoulder parking near 344 Sugar Hill Road Tolland, CT
Trail Map Trails: 3.8 miles Rating: ★★☆☆☆
The Schindler/Schmidt Conservation Area has 3.8 miles of trails. The longest trail is the . A 1.4 mile ridge trail that is part of Sugar Hill.
I started off by hiking the 1.8 mile yellow-blazed outer loop which begins just after the boardwalk next to the parking area. It makes it way to the top of a rocky formation and splits into the loop. Many of the trails appear to be old roads through the property so much if it is fairly easy walking. I soon reached the side trail that heads towards Scenic Rock.
Had I read the info on my own page I would have remembered that the town notes, “…please be aware that the “Scenic Rock” is located on private property. At this point, visitors may not trespass. We thank you for your cooperation.” The rock itself is on private property, you’ll know this because the trail follows the boundary blazes and line of No Trespassing signs. At the end is a good sized rock with a long curved section broken off. It’s mildly interesting, but not quite worth the walk or the apparently contentious relationship with the adjacent landowner.
Back on the yellow trail I continued towards the backside of the loop. Rounding a bend you come within sight of two massive stone covered hills and reach the red blazed trail marked ‘steep’ on the map. Based on the rocky hills, the impressive exit trail, and the named ‘Ridges Trail’ I was afraid I was missing all the best hiking so I abandoned the red trail and hiked up the steep rocky face.
Unfortunately, (at least for me) the Ridges Trail winds its way between the ridges instead of climbing along their spines so all the interesting rock formations are either off to your left or right. Once I reconnected with the yellow trail I hiked a bit up the unexplored side with nothing to note and soon turned around.
The backside of the loop can connect to Kendall Mountain where a short road walk brings you to Palmer Kendall Mountain.
From the town’s site,
“The property contains a number of valuable resources. There is a mature interior Oak-Hickory upland forest that has not been logged in over 90 years. There are also many hemlock and chestnut trees. It is a critical part of a biologically diverse forest. There are two unique bogs: one an open bog and the other a scrub/shrub bog. The latter provides an opportunity to view sundews and pitcher plants in their natural habitat. The dense forest with bogs, caves, and rocky outcrops is suitable for amphibians, hawks, woodcocks, foxes, bobcats, and bears. There is numerous evidence of bears, fisher cats and nesting owls.
Established as a conservation area in 2007, the town’s site notes, “Cranberries were cultivated in the bog area in the 1800s.”
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