Off the Beaten Path: Scovill Trails

Set in the 75-acre Hubbard Brook Preserve, there are 3 options for hiking the Scovill Trails. The Northern Loop is a unique opportunity to emerge from woodland trails onto a sandy beach of the Connecticut River. The Southern Loop has remnants of a mill site and beaver pond. The Quarry View High Trail takes you through what was once a quarry in the nineteenth century, and offers beautiful views from a rocky ledge. All three trails combined offer about 2.8 miles of walking. Hike one, two, or all three!

Hike Overview

Total length: Northern Loop 1.1 miles; Southern Loop 0.7 miles. Quarry View High Trail 1.0 miles out and back.
Difficulty: Loops are easy; Quarry View is easy to moderate
Elevation change:  Northern Loop 100 feet; Southern Loop 80 feet; Quarry View 170 feet
Trail: Blue-blazes for all
Reference: Connecticut Walk Book, pages 312-315

GPS link to trailhead on River Road in Middletown, CT

Directions:
Take Route 9 to exit 10 for Aircraft Road. At the end of the ramp, continue straight onto Aircraft Road for 1.9 miles to the unmarked, gravel River Road on the right. Turn right and continue for 0.7 miles. Trailhead parking is on the left.

Source: Connecticut Walk Book, map 20-SL-01
Source: Connecticut Walk Book, map 20-SL-01

Northern Loop

On the left (north) side of the parking area you will find the trail head for the Northern Loop where we begin this hike.

Keep to the left of the kiosk to start this clockwise loop.

Follow the blue blazes, avoiding turns onto any unmarked cross trails. Enjoy a stream crossing, mountain laurel and views of a pond and wetlands.

You will reach a railroad crossing. Noting the blue blazes, turn right. Remember, if the top blaze if offset to the right, turn right. If it’s offset to the left, turn left.

Keep an eye out for blazes on the left of the tracks. You’ll make a left turn here.

And soon reach a beach!

After enjoying the beach and maybe a picnic or swim, you’ll look for the trail reentering the woods near a fire pit. Head up the steps to continue the loop.

Turn left when you hit the railroad tracks. There isn’t a visible blaze here.

As you walk along the tracks, keep an eye out for blazes on the right, then turn right to continue through the woods.

You will reach an intersection where a dirt road crosses the path. The blaze may be obscured by leaves (which is the case pictured here). The blaze indicates a right turn onto the dirt road to take you back to the kiosk where you started. Alternatively, if you stay straight, you will connect to the Southern Loop. Don’t worry if you miss this turn; you can take the next right and also end up in the parking lot. If you’re staying straight to tack on the Southern Loop, follow along below.

Southern Loop

To hike the Southern Loop after completing the Northern loop, stay straight at the above intersection. This unblazed connector trail will dead end at a T junction. Turning right would take you to the parking lot. Turn left to walk the Southern Loop. After you make the left, you will start seeing blue blazes again.

If you are starting the Southern Loop from the parking lot, the trailhead is on the righthand (south) side of the parking area, with no visible blaze until you’re a few hundred feet down the trail.

Once on the blue-blazed southern loop you will come to this intersection at 0.1 miles. The blazes indicate that you can turn either left or right to make the loop. Your choice! This trail is easy to follow.

An interesting feature on this loop is the abandoned beaver pond. You will notice signs of past beaver activity, including dams and teeth markings on trees.

Quarry View High Trail

Follow the trail’s blue blazes through beautiful woodlands and remnants of the quarry.

The trail ends with an open view towards the Connecticut River. Back track to your car to complete the hike.

Interested in discovering your own off the beaten path hikes? The Connecticut Walk Book and interactive trail map at ctwoodlands.org are excellent resources.  Continue to follow The Rockfall Foundation’s blog for more guided suggestions.  Check the website for your town’s land trust as well. For Middlesex Land Trust Properties, visit their Preserves & Maps webpage. Continue to follow The Rockfall Foundation’s blog for more guided suggestions.

 

Coronavirus & Tick Safety

  • When social distancing is in effect, give other hikers six feet of space. Do not touch other’s dogs and keep your own dogs on a leash. When stepping off trail to make room, be mindful of any flora underfoot and step on rocks where possible.
  • To prevent overcrowding and facilitate social distancing, hike during less popular times such as early mornings and weekdays. Even hiking in a rain jacket during light rain can be a rewarding experience.
  • Follow the Leave No Trace principles which have been updated for COVID-19. The document at the link offers important considerations, such as being prepared to use the bathroom outdoors and carrying out your own trash.
  • Ticks are active March to November, including deer ticks. Wear long clothing, tuck pants into socks, wear a repellant on your skin and pretreat your hiking clothes with permethrin. Shower afterwards and launder clothing. Click here for information on identification of different ticks.

 

Contributed by Amanda Kenyon.

Did you try this hike? Please leave us a comment below!

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