April 17, 2016 – Killingworth, Connecticut
Difficulty: easy – moderate
Length: approximately 4 miles
Route type: circuit
This was my birthday and as such I wanted to do an enjoyable hike topped off with good food and drink. I chose a place that had a little bit of everything.
Chatfield Hollow State Park has approximately 20 miles of hiking trails that originate within the park and extend into an adjacent section of Cockaponset State Forest. This includes the Chatfield Trail, a part of the Blue-Blazed hiking trail network. Hiking is rugged at times with many rock outcroppings and roots. In addition, the 825-foot Paul F. Wildermann Boardwalk allows visitors a means to cross an inland swamp without disturbing it. This scenic park also has fishing, fresh water swimming, and picnicking. A waterwheel, a covered bridge, and caves add to the beauty of this park.
Upon arrival I was surprised that the park was not crowded. It was a beautiful day and I expected most people to be out enjoying the weather. It was just before noon and it was time to get our hike on.
We gathered our gear and off we went. First stop was the green blazed Chimney Trail. We parked right near the trail head and that was where the caves were. It is rather short at only .25 miles long, but very scenic. We got to the caves quite quickly and took some photographs.
The caves were pretty nice, but the ensuing rock scramble was even better. We had to use our hands and feet to climb up the rest of the trail.
The green Chimney Trail was a loop, so we ended up right where we started. We saw an old water spigot that actually worked. I had to give it a try. With a little effort I got the water to flow.
There were picnic tables all over the place, so we decided to take a breather and hydrate. After taking another look at the trail map we were off again. We followed the signs to the Paul F. Wildermann Boardwalk which was just around the bend. It is very well designed and aesthetically pleasing.
After crossing the swamp on the boardwalk, we proceeded down the Paved Park Road looking for the purple Covered Bridge Trail. We had to cross back over and did it over the stone dam which featured a waterfall.
There was an interesting looking bird in Schreeder Pond which I believe was a Great cormorant. It was off in the distance, but I was able to capture it with my zoom lens.
After crossing the dam it wasn’t long and we veered into the woods on the purple trail. This trail mostly paralleled the brook and at times became a woods walk. It was dotted with roots and rocks so we had to watch our step as we hiked the hilly terrain. In about a 1/2 a mile we reached the covered bridge.
After crossing the covered bridge and taking several photographs, we found a picnic table with a grill alongside the brook with a great view of the bridge. That was the spot I wanted so I left my hiking partners to guard the table while I went to get the vehicle. I had wanted to hike back in the woods, but hunger called. I walked the paved park road back to where we parked and retrieved the vehicle. After that it was time to grill, eat and drink. Another successful and rewarding hike.