Hell Hollow – Voluntown/Plainfield
- Hell Hollow – Pachaug State Forest
- Hell Hollow Road, Voluntown, CT
- Trailhead: 41°38’14.19″N, 71°52’9.77″W
- Last Time Hiked: October 13, 2014
- Approximate distance hiked: 7.6 miles
- Moderate due to distance and some rocky footing.
For such a sinister name, Hell Hollow is quite a beautiful place, especially this time of year in Southern New England. Many of the trees here are approaching peak foliage. The splashes of reds, oranges, and yellows make for a nice backdrop of the two ponds along this hike. I joined a fellow hiker/blogger for this hike. We started from a parking area on Hell Hollow Road at the pond. We then headed east along the road about 1/10 of a mile then turned left onto the blue blazed Pachaug Trail. We followed this trail until we reached an intersection with the blue going to the right and yellow to the left. We were now in Plainfield. Here we went left onto the yellow blazed Quinebeag Crossover Trail. The trails here are covered in leaves and can be rocky in areas as they wind through areas of oaks, pines, and stream beds. Be sure to keep an eye on the blazes as the trail becomes a little difficult to follow at times due to ground cover. We did come across a coyote here, unfortunately for this animal, it was just the remains. This section of trail soon ends at Flat Rock Road. We turned left, still following the yellow blazes, and followed the road to a split. Here we stayed to the left and followed the short section of what was left of the yellow blazes. We then found ourselves at the next intersection. This was the Quinebeag Trail. If we were to turn right the trail would lead us to Lockes Meadow Pond. We continued straight (now a blue blazed Quinebeag Trail) still following the aptly named Flat Rock Road. We soon came to areas of ledge that the road traversed over. To the left is a small overlook. At the time of the hike there were to many leaves on the trees, but I was told the view is decent in the winter months. We then continued turning left off of Flat Rock Road following the blue blazes. If you reached the paved road, you have missed the turn. From here we followed the Quinebeag southerly a little over a mile passing a cellar hole at the trail intersection about halfway through this section. The footing is a little tough here as the trail is very rocky in areas. We soon found ourselves back at Hell Hollow Road. (You can turn left here and follow the road back to the car if you want to cut the hike in half.) Here we turned right following the road a bit before turning left into the woods again continuing to follow the blue blazed Quinebeag. The trail then makes a small horseshoe before coming to the next turn. This turn was not easy to find as the trail blazes are quite faint here. A couple hundred feet before the road the Quinebeag turns to the left. It is a very narrow trail along this stretch but still better than walking the road. Fear not though if you can not find it, just follow the road. They run parallel and both come to a picnic area a little over a mile away. After some slight backtracking, we found the trail and carefully proceeded being sure to keep an eye on the blazes. The trail is quite nice meandering at times through a grove of young pines. We did have to cross a rocky area that appears to normally be a difficult stream crossing. We soon came to the picnic area. Here we stopped for a quick break. The picnic area overlooks Phillips Pond which is quite smaller than Hell Hollow Pond. From here we then made our way onto the road crossing the small stream, then left through the parking lot and onto the blue/red blazed Phillips Pond Trail. Soon we were turning left onto the blue blazed Pachaug Trail once again for the final stretch of the hike. Again we were in areas of pine groves. Some of the ground cover included wintergreen, partridge berries, and a variety of mushrooms. At the end of the trail we turned left onto the road and followed it to Hell Hollow Pond where the cars were parked. This area is open to hunting. Orange should be worn during hunting season. Futhermore, sections of Hell Hollow Road are closed from December to March.
Trail map can be found at: Hell Hollow.