Much to the chagrin of my family, I love to hike on the weekends and if possible it has to be somewhere that I haven’t been before. All I want is somewhere that is moderately challenging, gives you some good inclines and gets the heart rate going. The obvious bonus is that you usually will get a nice view, which my camera appreciates greatly.
The Mattabesset trail in the Bluff Head/Northwoods section was no exception. Jim over at hikethegiant.blogspot.com mentioned doing a 9.5 mile loop. I knew over nine miles was not going to go over well with the family, so I took a look at the map and decided I could probably cut this in half by taking the road back to the parking area. This wasn’t the best idea, since the traffic is pretty speedy along this road, but we made it safely. In retrospect, I would have just gone in 2.5 miles or so and cut back along the same trail. Click here to download the trail map from the Guilford Land Trust website.
The parking lot was easy to find. I was able to use Google maps street view determine that 4411 Durham Rd, Guilford, CT is approximately where you need to be to find the parking lot. Just put that address into your GPS and slow down as you approach.
To start we headed to the back of the parking lot and followed the Blue trail. The hike began with a great climb up a steep incline. The footholds were solid and secure as I used the roots and stones along the path to place my steps. This walk is not a walk for small kids as you can see when looking at this sign…
After a little over .36 miles logged we had already had worked up a good sweat and enjoyed a great view to the east…
There were a few more overlooks as we moved onwards. The trail got a little too crazy at one point there was about a 10 foot rock to scale. This is not something all of us were willing to do so we went around to the left and cut back to the blue trail on the other side.
The descent was fairly uneventful. The trail is well marked and easy to follow. The forest has taken a beating this winter and there are a ton of downed trees. I’ve noticed this a lot on the trails in the state, especially on the western side of any hill I happen to be walking over. We finally reached the base of the path that leads you past some horses and signs that are urging you to stay on the path.
Below is a snapshot of my GPS log with some annotations. Thanks for reading.
Trail Map Location (as of 4/3/2011): http://guilfordlandtrust.org/wordpress/maps/northwoodsmap.pdf