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Aspetuck Trail- Old Connecticut | Average Hiker

Aspetuck Trail sign near trail junction with road

The Aspetuck Trail is a 6.9-mile blue blaze trail located in the Aspetuck River Valley in Fairfield County, Connecticut. The trail meanders through the Centennial Watershed State Forest before joining Huntington State Park.

If you would like to hike longer distances, the Aspetuck connects with the 11.8 mile Saugatuck Trail, and a series of trails in Huntington State Park.

I hiked the entire trail out and back, completing approximately 14 miles of hiking. The terrain was varied, and the trail itself was well maintained. Sections of the trail were quite worn, and on the weekends this is probably a very popular trail.

Summary

  • Location – Centennial Watershed State Forest
  • Trail – 6.9 mile one way trail
  • Parking – 41.27989,-73.34064 – There is no parking at the northern terminus, and parking at the southern terminus is on the busy Blackrock Turnpike, which is where I parked.
  • Getting to the Trail – Once you park, walk out to the Blackrock Turnpike and take a left. The trailhead is on the right about a tenth of a mile down the road. It is clearly marked.
  • Highlights – Old stone walls, creeks, wide wooded trails, nice ridge views, old connecticut homes, tonka truck tree.

Resources

  • Connecticut Walk Book – 20th Edition by the Connecticut Forest & Park Association – American Legion and Peoples State Forest Trail – Pages 35-37.
  • Gaiagps – GPA App used to create trail, determine driving directions and parking, and send track to iphone

Difficulty

Easy to Moderate– This is a nice trail for beginner hikers. There is a lot of easy trail with a few small climbs. The creeks all have bridges, and there are multiple trailheads to access the trail.

Terrain – The terrain was wooded with some mild rocky sections. There were quite a few leaves covering the trail so some of the hills were a little slippery. Down in the watershed, the trails were quite flat and packed down.

Clothing

Temperatures ranged from 33 – 48 degrees, so it was a little chilly when I started, but I warmed up quickly.

  • Socks – Mid-weight Darn Tough hiking socks. My feet stayed warm and never got wet.
  • Pants – Generic light-weight hiking pants
  • Top – Mid-weight Smartwool base layer, Kora Xenolith Sweater, Feathered Friends EOS Hooded Puffy Jacket (Review). I took off my jacket after a couple of hours.
  • Hat & Gloves – I did not need a hat. My hands started out cold, but I just put them in my pockets and they were fine.
  • Northface DaypackThis article describes what I carry in a daypack.
  • Shoes – Speedgoat 4’s (Review). These worked well in this terrain. They are very comfortable on roads and hard packed trail.
  • Hiking Poles – Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Poles (Review) – This is my second set. Unfortunately, I left my first set in a town along the Northville-Placid Trail.

The Hike

This was close to home and it only took me about 30 minutes to reach the parking area. There was plenty of room to park – probably room for about 10 cars. I felt like my car was safe because the Blackrock Turnpike is very busy and in a residential neighborhood.

Ridge views on the Aspetuck Trail

The disadvantage of the Blackrock Turnpike is the traffic. There is not a good shoulder to walk down the road, so I ended up cutting through the woods to the trail where I came across a small cemetery down in the woods. Gravestones were from the late 1700s and early 1800s and it did not look like they had been visited in years. I wonder if anyone even remembers they are there.

Crossing a wide creek after the cemetery, I climbed up to the trail and headed left. The trail was not difficult to find since I was paralleling the road and could see the blue Aspetuck Trail sign out on the road.

One of the coolest parts of the trail was the first mile. I passed two old foundations next to a creek with a small waterfall. There may have been a home there long ago. The trail traveled through the hardwood forest with scattered Spruce and Hemlock, and a series of old stone walls cut across the hills in several directions.

First Mile of the Aspetuck Trail

I dropped down through a small, frosty meadow before reaching Rock House Road, taking a right and walking about 100 yards down the road to a small parking area and trailhead on the left side of the road.

Leaving Rock House Road, the trail traveled along Aspetuck River where I saw an old stone Dam. This section of trail was nice and this and Poverty Hollow Road were probably the most used parts of the trail. Poverty Hollow Road had parking at the end and this flat mile of trail was where I saw numerous people out walking their dogs. Note that Poverty Hollow Road may have been an old road at one point, but it is now just a wide flat wooded trail.

Poverty Hollow Road switched to asphalt just before Stepney Road, which is where I saw the very interesting “Tonka Tree.” This was a tree covered in Tonka Trucks and Christmas lights. I’m sure there is a story, and I don’t judge the creativeness of others.:-)

I walked about a hundred yards up Stepney before taking a left onto Foundry, which turned into an old lightly used gravel road. There were some neat old Connecticut homes back down the road, and probably one of the more interesting parts of the hike for me.

Old gate in front of seasonal estate

Foundry Road ended at Goodridge Road where I crossed back over to wooded trail. This section of trail the rest of the way to Huntington Park was lightly used but well-maintained and blazed. The trail was also more of a moderate hike with more hills, elevation, and rocks.

The trail crosses over Towns End Road before reaching paved Poverty Hollow Road. This road has the best parking on the trail. There is probably room for 20 cars and it is on a quiet side street. There is also a relatively clean port-a-toilet.

After crossing the road I climbed up to the next ridge and then dropped down about a half-mile to Huntington State park and the end of the trail before turning around and heading back to the car.

Final Thoughts

The Aspetuck Trail is a relatively easy trail. I enjoyed the varied terrain and interesting homes and “sculpture” along the way.

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