Posts Tagged ‘ Boulders ’

Grills Preserve – Westerly

  • Grills Preserve (Westerly)
  • Bowling Lane, Westerly, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°23’58.98″N, 71°45’32.65″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 29, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.5 miles
  • Fairly easy with some significant elevation in areas.

                                                                            

 

There are actually three separate “Grills” properties here on the Hopkinton-Westerly border. There is the Grills Preserve in Westerly, Grills Preserve in Hopkinton (also known as the Route 91 trailhead or Grills/How-Davey), and the Grills Sanctuary also in Hopkinton. This hike, the Grills Preserve in Westerly is the most known of the three. There is a vast network of trails here and for this hike you will see all of the highlights. Starting from the parking area at Bowling Lane, make your way to the informational kiosk. From here follow the orange and blue blazed trail to the right of the kiosk for about two tenths of a mile. this section is quite level. At the trail intersection turn right and you will follow the blue blazes for quite a while. The trail winds down to the shore of the Pawcatuck River after crossing a small bridge. You will then be flanked by water on both sides with the river to the right and an oxbow to the left which was formed from the river relocating over time. You will soon cross over Kedincker Island and another bridge. Ahead on the right you will find a towering cairn. The top of this eight foot tall structure marks the height of the rivers crest during the Spring 2010 flood. The trail to the right just beyond the cairn is the connector to the Grills Sanctuary in Hopkinton via the Polly Coon Bridge. The metal arch was built in 2013. Take a wander across the bridge to view the original bridge abutments and you will also find another flood marker. Make your way back across the bridge and take a right back onto the blue blazed trail. At the next trail intersection turn right continuing to follow the blue blazes. The trail starts to climb steadily uphill. Look for the yellow blazed River Loop Trail on the right. Following the yellow blazes you will slowly descend back down hill passing a stone wall before reaching the intersection with the white blazed trail. Continue ahead following the yellow blazes. You will soon pass another stone wall and a large cairn. The yellow trail continues ahead offering peaks of the river as it winds through areas of scattered mountain laurel. Soon the trail comes to the Pawcatuck River once again before it turns to the left into the western reaches of the Preserve. It then turns to the east and winds to a clearing at the next trail intersection. Turn right here and follow the white blazes. To your left is a hill covered in thickets and dense shrub with an occasional towering tree, to your right is densely wooded. Soon the trail takes an abrupt right into the Larkin Farm Homestead. You will find the remains of a structure here that was built in 1655. From this point continue along the white blazed trail. It starts a long climb uphill, steady at first. When you reach the next trail intersection turn left onto the red blazed trail. There is a sign here for “Big Hill”. The climb becomes steeper now. Near the top of the hill turn right following the red blazed trail and another “Big Hill” sign. As the wood line clears you will soon see outcrops of bedrock. Make note of the narrow trail to the right of the bedrock. But for now take a moment here to relax and take in the sights. From here you getting sweeping views to the south and east. You have two options here. You can retrace your steps down the red blazed trail you came up or you can go down the narrower unmarked trail to the right of the bedrock. If you choose the narrower trail note that it is substantially steeper. Whatever one you choose you will turn left at the bottom of the hill and follow the white blazes once again. Along this stretch you will have Big Hill towering above you to the left and will catch your first glimpses of the railroad tracks to the right. Soon the white blazes turn to the right onto a narrower trail. Continue ahead following an old cart path. You may notice a young pine grove on the right along the way. Look closely and you will also notice that the older trees have been charred. It is obvious there was a fire here once and nature has already begun to reclaim the land. At the end of the cart path turn left onto another cart path. Soon you will come to a trail intersection. Turn right here onto the blue blazed trail and cross over a boardwalk. Just ahead on the left is a cemetery. The most prominent grave here is that of Clarke Hiscox, a soldier of the Revolutionary War. The oldest grave here dates to 1777, that of Stephen Saunders. Returning to blue blazed trail you will find that the trail is covered in pine needles. At the next intersection turn right onto the white blazed trail, then left onto a cart path. You will notice that a stream has cut across the cart path. There is a pedestrian bridge here to make the crossing easier. Soon you will turn right onto the orange blazed trail. The trail winds passing a large vernal pool and then climbs steadily up to Big Rock. Its actually quite impressive as it sits upon the top of the hill dwarfing several other large boulders scattered around. The orange trail approaches the railroad tracks again and sharply turns to the left. Here to the right is the red blazed trail that dead ends at a hunters blind. Continuing along the orange blazed trail start looking for a narrow trail to the left marked only by a single rock. The trail is not marked and is quite narrow. The significance of this short trail is its history. It crosses over what was once Douglas Park. This park, built in 1920, was a field that hosted soccer and baseball games, complete with grandstands for 300 people. The local Bradford baseball team won the league championship in 1940. By the 1960’s the field was no longer in use. Nature took it back over the years as the entire field is now a very distinctive pine grove. At the end of the unmarked trail turn right following first the light blue blazed trail and then veering left onto the orange blazed trail that leads you back to the parking area. Hunting is allowed here, be sure to wear orange when hiking here.

 

 

Map can be found at: Grills Preserve (Westerly).

 

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Polly Coon Bridge Crossing The Pawcatuck River

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The View From Big Hill

Mud Bottom Brook – West Greenwich

  • Mud Bottom Brook – Big River Management Area
  • New London Turnpike, West Greenwich, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°37’4.38″N, 71°35’46.70″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 16, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.5 miles
  • Moderate, navigation can be difficult.

 

 

First and foremost, I would advise not to attempt this hike without a map, GPS tracking, good sense of direction, or all of the above. I personally have ventured into Big River enough times to feel comfortable enough to wander its many, many, many trails. To say Big River has a vast network of trails is a gross understatement. For this hike I took a wrong turn along the way and found myself on a trail that was not on the Great Swamp Press map and found myself relying on GPS tracking and my internal compass to make my way back to a main trail. (My guest did a great job at remaining calm!!) With that being said, I am going to attempt to recall my route, but please don’t rely on this post alone if you attempt this hike. From the parking area at the end of New London Turnpike by the Wincheck Gun Club we passed the gate and followed the pine tree flanked dirt road for about four tenths of a mile. Turning left the trail then winds downhill to its end. Here we turned right onto a trail called Sweet Sawmill Road. This trail climbs slightly uphill passing some stone walls on the right. At the next intersection we turned left and followed that trail just under a half mile to its end. The trail widens at its end, stay to the right here. The trail then declines slightly into the valley that Mud Bottom Brook runs through. Along the way, after a heavy rain, you may encounter some large puddles along this trail. At the next intersection stay to the right and again right a little further down the trail. This trail will lead you to the crossing at Mud Bottom Brook. There is a wobbly plank and stones here to make the crossing easy. From here we continue ahead until we came to a “T” intersection. The trail in both directions at the time of this hike was blazed blue. The blazes are amateur and not by any means the type of blazes seen at Arcadia. We turned left here and still feeling confident we were on the right track and started to follow the blue blazes. At the next intersection is where I suspect the plan went out the window. We came to the intersection realizing it was not on the map. Thinking we might have been a little further north, I suspected the trail to the left might be the second crossing of Mud Bottom Brook. We turned right here thinking it would continue along the edges of the peninsula are eventually turn south paralleling  the Carr River. It did not! (I do not actually know where the trail to left leads, that will be a hike for another day). After turning right we soon came to another intersection, again blue blazed. We turned right and followed it nearly a mile up and down hills, zigzagging back and forth to its end. This stretch was actually quite pretty. We passed stone walls, a rather large natural looking swale, and hunting stand along the way. At the intersection at the end of the trail blue blazes go to the right. Using the internal compass at this point we turned left and then almost immediately left again and then right just up ahead. The trail we were on would lead us back to the New London Turnpike trail. Turning right onto the sandy road it veers slightly to the right before curving to the left and straightening out. Ahead the sandy road splits again. Stay to the left here. This is the trail back to the parking area just under a mile away. The remainder of the walk climbs slightly uphill along the wide New London Turnpike. Be sure to wear orange here during hunting season.

 

Map can be found at: Mud Bottom Brook.

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The Crossing At Mud Bottom Brook

DeCoppett North – Richmond

  • DeCoppett North – DeCoppett State Management Area
  • Old Mountain Road, Richmond, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°32’16.02″N, 71°38’29.72″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 25, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.3 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

This hike in the northern end of DeCoppett is an out and back hike along an old cart path. Starting from the gated entry at Old Mountain Road, you are immediately greeted by two large boulders on the left. This is just a glimpse of the hike ahead. The cart path is flanked by boulders and stone walls almost all the way to Hillsdale Road. Not very far into the property and on the left is the George Beverly cemetery. The graves here date back to 1870. At the half mile and on the left there is an opening in the stone wall and a faded trail that leads to another cemetery. At the three quarter mile mark along the cart path and on the left again are the remains of a rather large foundation. At the end of the cart path turn left on the paved Hillsdale Road and follow it a few feet for a glimpse of the Beaver River. From here retrace you steps back to Old Mountain Road.

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Large Boulder Along The Trail

DeCoppett South – Richmond

  • DeCoppett South – DeCoppett State Management Area
  • Hillsdale Road, Richmond, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°30’44.97″N, 71°38’40.28″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 19, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.5 miles
  • Moderate due to navigation, difficult river crossing.

 

This hike in a lesser known State Management Area offers quite a bit. Beautiful trails, boulders, a pond, cemetery, and a nearly impossible river crossing. With that last part being said, be prepared to backtrack if the river is in fact impossible to cross as conditions change over time and can drastically be affected by recent weather. For this hike, in the southern section of the property, start from a small parking area on the west side of Hillsdale Road where Punchbowl Trail intersects. Cross the road towards the “Road Closed/Dead End” sign and follow the trail as it quickly descends downhill. Along this stretch you will observe several boundary signs before coming to the swiftly flowing Beaver River. This crossing offers a large planed log with a unique split at the far end. If you find this river crossing questionable, this hike may not be for you. Continuing ahead the trail slowly climbs uphill flanked by a stone wall on the left. Ahead, just off the trail and on the right is a cemetery. There are no visible inscriptions on the stones. This is the Phillips-Barber Cemetery with graves dating back to 1772. One of the graves is of that of Benjamin Barber who served in the American Revolution. Back on the trail, you will soon come to an intersection. Turn left here. In a few hundred feet the trail splits. Stay to the right here, the trail on your left is your “emergency exit”. The trail starts to climb uphill gently but for quite a while. After recent rains this section of trail can be quite muddy as it winds pass boulders small and large. At the top of the hill (1.1 miles from the start of the hike) take a sharp left turn. There is a small cairn here to mark the intersection. This trail starts the long,  and at times steep, descent back towards the Beaver River. Along the way you will pass through an impressive area of boulders and a trail on the left. Make note of this trail. If you can’t cross the river this trail is your “emergency exit” and will be the best way to exit as it avoids climbing the hill you just came down. When you reach the river you will notice there is no bridge. There is a row of stones here that can be used to cross when the river is low and calm. (At the time of this hike the river was swollen and rather deep after heavy rains. Crossing here was not an option. Wandering upstream a bit you will find a downed tree that crosses the river. Someone has tied a rope across the river where this tree is. Do not rely on the rope for balance. This is a difficult and dangerous crossing. You are on your own if you attempt this. After crossing follow the river downstream back to the trail.) On the other side of the river the trail becomes an area of grass. Stay to the left here, the trail turns slightly right and climbs gently uphill again passing sections of old fence and a cellar hole. There will be another trail to the right that follows an old split rail fence for a bit and up a small hill. Here is the Fielding-Vallet cemetery with noticeably modern graves as recent as 2010, that being of Hope Edwards, the last “tenant” of this property. After her death, per the wishes of Theakston de Coppett, this property was endowed to the State of Rhode Island to become a nature preserve. After checking out this cemetery, return to the last intersection and turn right. The trail soon comes out to Hillsdale Road. Turn left here and then right almost immediately and back into the woods. Along this stretch there is a short spur trail that leads to a field that is worth checking out. Continuing back on the trail you will come to a wide stream. After the last river crossing this one is a breeze. Still not easy though, as you have to jump from stone to stone. The trail then winds through pines and deciduous trees that have been ravaged by the recent gypsy moth infestations. At the next trail intersection, turn left. The trail is now covered in pine needles as you traverse your way through a pine grove. Ahead you will come to a four way intersection with a large boulder at the corner of a stone wall. You will eventually follow the trail to the left back to the parking area, but first you will want to follow the trail straight ahead of you. The trail leads to a large open field where you may catch a glimpse of hawks or turkey vultures. At the field turn right and follow the tree line for a bit to get a glimpse of Bailey Pond. From here retrace your steps back to the four way intersection where you will turn right to return to the parking area. The trails here are not blazed and there is no official map available for the property. It is highly recommended to use a GPS device here.

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The First River Crossing

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Trail Map – DeCoppett South

Herb Hadfield – Westport

  • Herb Hadfield Conservation Area
  • Cornell Road, Westport, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°33’10.87″N, 71° 6’30.31″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 21, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.7 miles
  • Fairly easy, can be muddy in areas.

 

This Westport Land Conservation Trust property offers a nearly 3 mile hike through forested wetlands, meadows, and to a swiftly moving brook. Starting at the Cornell Road trail head at the southern end of the property, stay right of the kiosk and follow the grass flanked trail to the second stone wall. Just after the wall you will come to a three way intersection. The trail to the left leads to private property and the red blazed trail ahead you will return on. Turn right here onto the yellow blazed trail. This trail will cross a small stream and some small boulders before coming to a split. You will want to turn left here and continue along the yellow blazed trail, but first continue ahead and follow the red trail to its end to see the swiftly moving and fairly wide brook. Conveniently there is a large tree down here to serve as a bench. Take a moment to relax and enjoy the sound of the trickling water cascading over some rocks. From here retrace your steps and turn right back onto the yellow trail. This trail heads north passing hollies, pines, and a stone wall. At the next intersection turn right onto the blue trail. This trail follows the eastern border of the property. There is a stone wall for a good part of this stretch on your right. There is also a couple of boardwalks with the second crossing Angeline Brook. At the end of the boardwalk turn right onto the green trail as it hugs the northeastern corner of the property. The green trail ends where the northern trail head entrance from Adamsville Road comes into the property. Continue straight here onto the red trail. It soon turns south. Passing the blue trail on the left continue ahead and you will find yourself entering a large field. Stay to the right here and follow the trail that follows the stone wall. It soon veers left across the field to the opposite tree line where it bears to the right. You will once again see the blue trail to the left by some large boulders. Continue ahead passing the rather impressive stone walls to your right and back into the woods. From here, continue straight the remainder of the hike. You will come back to the grass flanked trail you started on by the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Herb Hadfield.

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Blue Trail Crossing Angeline Brook

Allens Pond East – Dartmouth

 

Allens Pond is a Masachusetts Audubon property along Buzzards Bay. The property offers 6 to 7 miles of trails. It is a diverse and beautiful property offering several types of features from beaches to fields to woodlands. With that being said, I have decided to break the property into three separate hikes to maximize visiting all of the trails without having an overwhelming hike distance. For the first hike, I started at the easterly trailhead along Allen Neck Road and followed the mowed path to a stone wall and gate. This is the beginning of the Woodland Loop. Continuing straight ahead I followed the path over some boardwalks that went over several small streams. The loop passes a few ledges and glacial outcrops as well. The trail soon comes to a dirt road. You may catch a glimpse of the cows in the field in front of you. Turn right here onto the road and immediately turn left after the stone wall and again immediately right onto the Boulder Trail. This will put you on a small loop path that will bring you by two massive boulders. At the next intersection turn right. You will soon come to another intersection. Here continue straight. The trail winds through thick shrubs and you will come to another significant boulder before coming to the end of the trail. Turn right now onto the Grassland Trail. It will descend slightly downhill before coming to a farm road. Turn left here and follow the road to the large open field. Stay to the left and follow the perimeter of the field. You will see a sign for the Quansett Trail. On your left here is a path that leads to a loop trail that follows the perimeter of a field. It will add a half mile to your hike if you so choose to do it. For this hike continue straight along the Quansett Trail. Look for a post on the left by a narrow trail. When you find it follow the narrow path to a scenic viewing area. From here you can view the salt marsh and Buzzards Bay beyond. From here retrace your steps back along the narrow path, turn right onto the Quansett Trail, continue around the field, following the Grassland Trail back to the Boulder Loop. Instead of turning left where you came in, continue straight briefly before taking the next left. Follow this trail back to farm road by the cows. Be sure to check out the stone wall on your right along the way as you are very likely to find frolicking chipmunks. Also look for a vernal pool on your left along this stretch. After turning right onto the farm road, pass the trail on the left (the one you came in on) and then veer to the left onto the next trail. This will lead you back into the woods and over another boardwalk before ending at the stonewall and gate by the entrance trail. Turn right here to get to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Allens Pond East.

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Woodland Loop Return by the Farm Road

Patricia Sprague Forest – Charlestown

  • Patricia Sprague Forest Preserve
  • Railroad Avenue, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°27’4.63″N, 71°39’21.18″W
  • Last Time Hiked: February 2, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.4 miles
  • Fairly easy, some elevation.

 

For a relatively short, but stunningly beautiful hike just off of Route 112 in Charlestown, the Patricia Sprague Forest offers quite a bit. Starting from a small parking area along Railroad Avenue, follow the blue blazed, pine needle covered trail into the property first passing a stone wall and glacial boulders before coming to a split. For this hike stay to the right following the blue blazes northeasterly along the properties southern border. Ahead, just off the trail and on the right, is an old fire pit that overlooks the valley below. Continuing along the blue blazed trail you will catch glimpses of the Pawcatuck River down below on the right. The trail then descends rapidly into a valley, then climbs back uphill, over a ridge-line and finally into an open field. At the field stay to the right following the fields perimeter on a beaten path that traverses the northern reaches of the property. You will pass through a very young pine grove along this stretch as well. The trail leaves the field for the last time as it bears right into the tall pines and along the properties western border. Ahead you will pass through an old orchard before coming to the entrance trail. Stay to the right here and retrace your steps by the stone wall and back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Patricia Sprague Forest.

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Stone Walls and Tall Trees

Deadman’s Temperance – Fall River

  • Deadman’s Temperance
  • Indian Town Road, Fall River, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°42’31.81″N, 71° 3’54.38″W
  • Last Time Hiked: January 26, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.0 miles
  • Moderate due to navigation, some slight elevation.

This hike in the Watuppa Reservation can be a bit tricky if you are not paying attention to your surroundings at trail intersections, otherwise, it is a fairly easy and rather peaceful stroll along trails less used. Starting from the parking area along Indian Town Road near the intersection of Yellow Hill Road you will want to look for the trail head with the sign for the “Brightman Trail to Watuppa Reservation” (Due note there are two other trail heads here that you will ignore). Once you are on the narrow trail you will find yourself winding under a canopy of tall oaks and pines. This trail ends at the much wider Indian Turn Trail and there is a “KP9” trail marker here. Be sure to be aware of your surroundings here as you will be looking for this turn on the way back. Turn right and follow the much wider trail for about two tenths of a mile to a very wide open four way intersection (KP8). Along the way look for the gnomes! Turn right here and almost immediately veer to the right (KP16) onto the Hidden Trail. You will follow this trail to the next intersection (KP21). The original plan here was to continue straight along the aptly named Hidden Trail but that is almost impossible as the trail narrows substantially and all but vanishes. Unfortunately, that leads to a little bit of road walking, but it is a quiet road nonetheless. So here at KP21 turn right onto the Temperance Trail and follow it easterly until the next intersection (KP22). Veer left here onto Abrams Path passing a gate just before Yellow Hill Road. Turn left here and follow the paved road to the next gate (G109) on the left. This is Deadman’s Trail. It is wide and winds westerly and downhill passing towering pines and beech trees that hold their dead sun glistened leaves well into winter. There are a few boulders scattered among the forest floor. Another trail comes in from the right (KP19), continue ahead and downhill to the next intersection (KP18). Stay to the left here and almost immediately you will want to turn left again (KP17). You are now back on the narrower Temperance Trail. It climbs uphill slightly before coming to the Hidden Trail once again (KP21). From here you will turn right retracing your steps back to the parking area, turning left at KP16, left at KP8, and finally left at KP9.

Map can be found at: Deadman’s Temperance.

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Along Deadman’s Trail

Beaudoin Conservation Area – Coventry

  • Beaudoin Conservation Area
  • Ledge Road, Coventry, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°41’56.06″N, 71°39’21.08″W
  • Last Time Hiked: December 22, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.8 miles
  • Moderate, some stream crossings and rocky footing in areas.

 

A lesser known, but truly spectacular, trail system lies in western Coventry just between Route 117 and the Washington Secondary Bike Path. Starting at a parking area with a kiosk along Ledge Road follow the blue blazed trail as it gently descends into the heavily wooded property. This trail is only about a quarter mile long before it comes to the yellow blazed trail. For this hike stay to the left and follow the yellow trail southerly. The trail here is wide and winds downhill even further passing oak, pine, and beech trees. Off in the woods you can see the glacial remains of several boulders. As the yellow trail approaches the Washington Secondary Bike Path keep an eye out for a pair of stone walls on the right. They run parallel as if there was an old lane here. After the second wall and on the right is the beginning of the white blazed trail. You will want to turn here, but first follow the yellow blazed trail to its terminus at the bike path, cross the bike path to another short trail that leads to some ruins. Here along the Quidnick Brook is a large cellar hole of a mill and the remnants of a dam. After exploring the ruins make your way back to the white trail (now on your left). For next three quarters of a mile you will follow the white blazed trail as it winds up and down small hills, over and through streams, and through small boulder fields. This trail is much narrower and has many twists and turns but is very well blazed. Keep an eye out for the blazes especially by stream crossings. The narrow trail soon comes to a cart path at the western most end of the property. If you were to turn left you would come to the bike path once again. However, turn right and continue to follow the white blazes to the yellow trail. At the yellow trail you will want to turn right onto the much narrower trail. (Ahead, the yellow trail follows the cart path to a parking area at Williams Crossing Road). After turning right the trail winds again up and down several small hills and through another boulder field as you head east across the property. The trail comes to another cart path and the yellow blazes take you to the left here. Soon you will reach the blue blazed trail once again where you retrace your steps back to the parking area at Ledge Road.

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One of Several Stone Walls

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Map of Beaudoin Conservation Area

Cross Town Trail – Groton

  • Groton Cross Town Trail
  • Depot Road, Groton, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°20’8.29″N, 72° 1’58.54″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 2, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 6.0 miles
  • Moderate with some hills and rugged areas. Navigation can be difficult in areas.

 

The town of Groton offers a trail that connects several properties while it traverses quite literally cross town. The trail, six miles in total one way, starts at Bluff Point State Park, winds through Haley Farm State Park, meanders through the Mortimer Wright Preserve and Merritt Family Forest before coming to a half mile of road walking, climbs through Beebe Pond Park and Moore Woodlands, and finally to Town’s End Preserve. Starting at the parking area for Bluff Point, the trail starts to the left by the composting toilets. Follow the main path ahead through areas of ledge, pass a gate and you will soon be parallel to the Amtrak tracks. To the right are some spectacular views of the upper reaches of Mumford Cove. The trail then veers slightly to the right and uphill. At the top of the hill turn left at the wooden steps and left again to cross the bridge. After crossing the bridge you have entered Haley Farm State Park. Just ahead is a gate to the right. Take the turn here, pass the gate and follow this trail. Following this trail will lead you to the main parking area for Haley Farm. Along the way you pass several small boulders and old farm stone walls before the trail turns into a stone dust path. A massive, and quite impressive stone wall will be to your left before coming to the open field just before the parking area. The trail continues to the left (north side of the parking area), however, though not technically part of the Cross Town Trail, it is well worth checking out while here. At the composting toilet is an opening at the wall. Follow the trail here and straight at the next intersection. The trail then turns to the left and back southerly. This small additional stretch is grass mowed through a field with an abundance of birds and thickets of berries and sumac. At the next intersection, continue pass the grass mowed trail to the left, pass the wood post with remains of a gate, and turn right following the trail slightly uphill flanked by a stone wall on the right. At the end of the stone wall there is a narrow trail on the right. Take this trail and follow it first through a cedar grove before passing a few stone walls. There is a trail split ahead just as a catch a glimpse of a pond. Stay to the right here and continue to follow the trail over a few boardwalks and pass Gibson Pond before exiting the State Park at Groton Long Point Road. It does not seem that blazes for the Cross Town Trail were allowed on State Property. At the time of this hike orange dots were observed at several points along the way. They were helpful, however it is very advisable to use GPS (particularly through State lands) in the event you may need to backtrack. Good news! The remainder of the trail is blazed blue through all of the remaining properties and there are trail maps at all the major intersections. Just be sure to keep an eye from blaze to blaze to assure you are on the right trail. Continuing ahead across Groton Long Point Road and slightly to the right you will come to the first blue blaze at Mortimer Wright Preserve. The trail winds up and down hill for the next couple miles passing beech groves, several stone walls, “frog crossings”, an esker and moraine, and streams as it passes the Wright Preserve and Merritt Family Forest. This stretch is absolutely beautiful and is well populated by deer, songbirds, and squirrels. The next half mile is road walking, crossing Fishtown Road, turning onto and following to the end of Rhonda Drive, right onto Farmstead Avenue, then right onto Judson Avenue. After Somersett Drive (on the left) start looking for the trailhead at Beebe Pond Park on the right. Follow the blue blazed trail once again through Beebe Pond Park and Moore Woodlands. This stretch can be a little rugged with rocky and root bound trails, so it is advisable to watch your step while walking and stop to take in the scenery. On the way out of the Beebe Pond Park is a massive stone wall to the right. It looks as it might have been part of a mill or dam. The trail then comes out to 850 Noank Road. This is a good spot for a second vehicle if you are going to car spot this hike. The Cross Town Trail then continues by turning left and following Noank Road for a couple hundred feet and the turning right at the gated Town Ends Preserve. The trail then ends about a tenth of mile into the preserve at Beebe Cove.

 

Map can be found at: Cross Town Trail.

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Mumford Cove at Bluff Point.

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Autumn at Merritt Family Forest