Hockanum River Watershed Association
Hockanum River Trail
East Hartford, Manchester, Vernon, Ellington
HOCKANUM: From the Native American word “Hocquaun”, meaning a hook-shaped or crooked river.
I love the Hockanum Trail. There are no mountains or even hills. There are barely any rocks. The trail takes hikers along, over, and under highways numerous times. It straddles obviously polluted rivulets. It takes hikers to landfills, multiple sewage treatment plants, CL&P substations… it touches the backlots of junkyards, an adult superstore, a dozen apartment buildings, tire shops, and abandoned warehouses. Certain areas are “cruising” areas for men out for anonymous and quick gratification. It crosses a railroad trestle. And courses through a homeless camp. There was a trailhead at a strip club (Kahoots in East Hartford) before it was a Dunkin.
And yet, I truly love this trail. I love that it exists where it does. This is nature pushing on urban development, rather than the far less interesting – and more prevalent – development encroaching on nature. No one likes hiking the Shenipsit Trail from Glastonbury to Manchester, weaving between new McMansions – the result of suburbia moving into where it “shouldn’t” be.
Somehow, in some weird way, the Hockanum Trail provides a unique, interesting, and genuinely amazing experience because, I think, the development existed first. The amount of trail work and maintenance that goes into the Hockanum Trail is astounding. Really and truly astounding.
I’m not sure how many people have red-lined and/or thru-hiked the Hock, but I have. And now I’ve written about the experience. So please, come with me on my Hockanum Adventure… a trail where the descriptions on the HRWA website contain things like: “Portion of this trail is closed because of falling bricks from the deteriorating mill.”
I’ve tried to write-up the trail sections as a narrative generally from south to north even though I didn’t always hike them that way. Also, these are very picture-heavy pages… because, well, you’ll see.
- Meadow Hill
Hillside & Olde Roberts Trails
Chipper Drive Trail
Bonus: Middle School Trail