March 30, 2009

Colchester Hiking

Hiking is one of my favorite pastimes. I have hiked all over New England and New York State. My favorite spots here are the Airline Trail, Babcock State Forest, Day Pond and Devils Hopyard.
The Airline Trail is a former train track converted into a hiking trail. The state and Colchester has really done a great job on this conversion. As a railroad conversion the trail has a shallow grade and is wide enough for 4 people to stand side by side. Streams and rivers are crossed by bridges affording great view points. The trail is topped with crushed stone making it ideal for bicycles and strollers. Access with good parking areas can be found on Route 149 a mile south of Route 2 or on Old Hartford Road next to Corvettes and Classics. There is another good connection with parking just beyond Route 85 Lumber in Amston/Hebron
Babcock Pond Wildlife Management Area is another place I like to spend time at. It is a 1500 Acre area with several ponds and streams. There are no marked trails, but the park has many old roads through the park. Most of the roads can be found on a topographical map of the area. This area has lots of varying terrain and you can walk a long time and not retrace any of your steps. Caution, some of the trails fade out to nothing and it is easy to get confused as to which road you’re on. I would only recommend this park to experienced hikers with a topographic map and compass. Also be aware that hunting is allowed in this forest. Main hunting seasons are (turkey) May and (turkey and deer) October/November. Parking is available at the end of Starr Rd, off of Route 149.
Day Pond is a State Park located in Colchester off of Route 149. In addition to swimming and fishing it offers great hiking. A map of the park including the trails can be found at the following web site: http://www.ct.gov/Dep/cwp/view.asp?a=2716&q=325088#forest.
The trails are marked with colored blazes and are pretty easy to follow. There are many roads, power lines and unmarked trails there as well, so double check the intersections carefully. Like Babcock Pond, public hunting is allowed in the area. If you’re hiking during hunting season, wear fluorescent clothing.
Devils Hopyard is located in Salem, CT. A map for the area can be printed out from the same web site listed above: http://www.ct.gov/Dep/cwp/view.asp?a=2716&q=325088#forest. This park has a camping area, trout stream, a waterfall and many hiking trails. Trails are very well marked and well kept. Some of the trails along the stream include jumping from rock to rock. There are many trails in the forest and the park includes chemical toilets and a nice picnic area.

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