New England Trail, Mattabesett – Section 1 | Average Hiker
Mattabesett Trail – Section 1
This New England Trail Report is for Mattabesett Section One, a nice section of trail that includes a little bit of everything. The main thing to keep in mind on this section is that you need to pay attention. Not only are there A LOT of side trails and intersections, but you will be sharing it with bikes and horses.
Most of the mountain biking trails intersect the Mattabesett in the first couple of miles, and then fade away as the trail becomes more challenging. If you pay attention to the blazes then staying on the Mattabesett is pretty straight forward. With maps or a gps, you are golden.
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Section 1 Quick Shot
Region: Middletown Connecticut
Start – Trail Head & Coordinates: River Road – 42.715702,-72.255514
End: Trail Head & Coordinates: Bear Hill Road – 41.532457,-72.597970
Additional Planning Information: Planning Page
Mattabesett Section One – Signage & Markers
Section One of the Mattabesett is well maintained, with plenty of blazing and markers. Signage is light, but it is not really needed for the clearly blazed trail. I think there were only two times where I had to use my “Where Would I Go if I Were a Trail” methodology.
The two sections requiring a little light “route finding” were simply the lack of blazing on a couple of rocky sections, and at the first Asylum Reservoir. Climbing down to the first reservoir there is a sharp switch back. Judging by the trail continuing to the top of the ridge, I am definitely not the only person that misses this turn. It could probably use a double blaze.
Section One offers a good bit of variety, and with the exception of a few minor obstacles, I would consider it easy to moderate hiking. You will need to pay attention as you hike, so you don't get “misplaced” or run over, but I don't consider this an issue due to light traffic on the trail.
Sharing the Path
There is a lot of easy strolling along this section of trail, but there is also a lot of water right now. Now is probably the best time to hike, before the mosquitoes and black flies begin making an appearance. Fall is probably also beautiful along this section.
The easy strolls do take you across some water features, and some are better maintained than others. Take your time or you might might get a muddy foot, but that is probably about the worst that will happen.
Mattabesett Likes Rocks
The Mattabesett Trail likes rocks. If there is a rock out cropping, there is a good chance you will climb over it. If you can't find a blaze, climb to the top of the rocks. It is probably going to be there. Fortunately, humans being human, it appears every rock that has the trail going over it also has a bypass trail that goes around it.
There is a cave within the first couple of miles that kids will probably enjoy, and then of course the Mattabesett climbs up and over it. This section reminds me a lot of the Appalachian Trail in New York.
Mattabesett Section One – Features & Views
This section of trail has some nice features and views. This includes the Cave and both Asylum Reservoirs. If you would like a nice short hike for a picnic, etc., then you can hike into Asylum Reservoir Number Two from Brooks Road.
Mattabesett Section One – Summary
The first section of the Mattabesett is a great start to this trail, and I'm excited to see what comes next. There are views, water, rock climbing and nicely graded, wooded strolls. You will be sharing the trail, but I saw very few people out there on a weekday morning.
The only look out for me would be bugs. There was a lot of standing water due to recent rains. This does not mean it dries up and goes away though. Many of the pools are in shaded areas, which provides a great little swampy oasis to lay eggs for baby bugs. That said, it will still be a nice hike in the summer. Just make sure you bring your bug spray!