|This hike occurred on June 4, 2013|
4500 Durham Rd., Guilford, CT – Parking: There is a parking lot here for the Mattabesett trail. It could fit 8-10 cars comfortably. We did a through hike from here.
1000 New Haven Rd., Durham, CT – Parking: On New Haven Rd., there are a few side-of-the-road parking spots near where the blue trail enters the woods. There are 3 different spots, each of which could hold 2-3 cars.
Length/Distance: According to the CT Walk book, the hike should have been approximately 3.8 miles. According to my GPS tracking program, our route (parts 1 & 2) was 5.88 miles. Part of this discrepancy was due to poor trail markings. The trail markings were unclear at a junction and we went the wrong way and needed to retrace our steps. This added at least a mile to our hike.
Summary: From the parking lot at 4500 Durham Rd., we headed up the Blue trail. The initial assent was very steep and the trail continued to rise for the first mile or so. Much of the trail was covered in unsteady shale that was a challenge to walk.
There were numerous lookout points with beautiful views.
The trail lead to a cliff.
Meyer Huber Pond was very visible from the cliff side.
The countryside was gorgeous.
A bit after the look-out points, the trail climbed over some rocks. My dog almost needed to be picked up on this trail section. Had we been going in the other direction, we would have needed to assist the dog.
After this, the trail leveled off for quite a while. There were some beautiful meadows.
We also found that some of the shale appeared to be some type of iron ore.
After the meadows, the trail went through a few dips and mild climbs. There was a decent sized stream that the trail crossed.
Soon after this, we saw a sign for the Lone Pine Trail. It appeared that the Lone Pine Trail merged onto the Blue trail at that point.
Based on trail markings, we continued straight. We then came to a very flooded area of the trail.
We walked around it and the trail started going downward very sharply.
However, at the bottom of the hill, the trail split three ways and we realized we hadn’t seen a blue blaze in a while. We retraced our steps, all the way back to the Lone Pine Trail sign. At that point, we realized what the problem was. This was the blue blaze that was supposed to indicate the trail went to the right.
The bottom blaze had been damaged so it was not clear at all that the trail turned. And as you can see from the pictures, the not-blue trail was very wide and also appeared to have blue blazes, not 50 feet beyond the above tree.
Clearly, this trail turn needs to be better marked. From here, the road was not very far, perhaps half a mile.
Summary: While the initial climb was intense, the view was very rewarding. This section of trail was a challenge for us and would not be an optimal trail for beginners or those with younger children. Be wary of blue blazes on this trail because they aren’t always actual Blue trail markers.