Shenipsit Trail Intro

The Shenipsit Trail is located in Central Connecticut and mostly follows the ridgeline east of the Connecticut River. It runs for 46 miles in a north-south direction. There are about 25 miles of regional Shenipsit Trails as well. The southern trailhead is in the Cobalt section of East Hampton near Great Hill and goes north to Stafford, just past Soapstone Mountain’s summit 3 miles south of the Massachusetts border.

Great Hill Overlook at the East Hampton/Portland line

The trail runs primarily through the Shenipsit and Meshomasic State Forests, but also utilizes other public and private land holdings. The Shenipsit Trail shares its pathway with the Airline State Park Bike Trail for about two miles between Bolton Notch and Valley Falls Park. The Shenipsit Trail is managed by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, as all these blue-blazed CT400(825) trails are.

But scouring the Internet, one finds far more sites dedicated to mountain biking the Shenipsit than to hiking it. Here’s an example: “… It would be a better resource to be managed by the Connecticut North East Mountain Biking Association (NAMBLA). Even though the blue-blazed trails are for foot traffic only, this trail is a pure mountain bikers route from start to finish. The most popular riding area is around Case Mountain, but there are plenty of other riders along the remainder of the trail. Beware of the southern section of trail from the Gadpouch Road crossing to Route 2, it is heavily used by ATV’s.”

Pitch pines in Belding Wildlife Management Area in Vernon

“Even though?” Or there’s this site where one rider writes, “It can get populated on the weekends with hikers.” Imagine that.

My experiences with bikers on these trails has always respectful (mental note to change this sentence if/when that changes) and I’ve generally not really seen too many on the blue-blazed trails. We’ll see how it goes.

The central region of the Shenipsit connects and includes trail systems in Gay City State Park in Hebron, Case Mountain Park in Manchester, and Valley Falls Park in Vernon. The Risley Pond Loop Trail in Vernon/Bolton is also included as well. Points of interest along the Shenipsit include views of Great Hill Pond, views of the Connecticut River, views of Hartford from Case Mountain Park, the Belding Wildlife Management Area in Vernon, and incredible panoramas from the Soapstone Mountain fire tower.

Get started with Section 1, East Hampton-Glastonbury or the Shenipsit Regional Trails.

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  1. says

    As I think you know, I hike the section between the powerlines in Glastonbury and the intersection with Birch Mtn. Rd. in Manchester a lot. I’m looking forward to hearing your take on that area.

    For an interesting experience my son had at the Birch Mtn. Rd. trailhead see my new thread on Rock on Top TRs.

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