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Shenipsit Trail - Central Section
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mini location map2022-08-08
10 by photographer avatarGrangerGuy
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Shenipsit Trail - Central SectionTolland, CT
Tolland, CT
Hiking6.20 Miles 784 AEG
Hiking6.20 Miles   3 Hrs   45 Mns   1.91 mph
784 ft AEG      30 Mns Break10 LBS Pack
Linked   none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Today I completed the third and northernmost leg of the central section of the Shenipsit Trail. I hiked from approximately Interstate 84 south to Interstate 284, Vernon to Bolton. My wife dropped my off at the paved parking lot at Walker Reservoir East on Reservoir Road in Vernon. Walking west from the parking lot, at the curve in the road, the trail ducks off to the north.

The trail follows counterclockwise around Walker Reservoir West, which is choked with water lilies. It could be prettier. And the trail is right along the I-84 fence line. It could be quieter. There are lots of roots in this section, so pick up your feet.

There are a couple of bridges constructed by laying boards on aluminum ladder sections. Since ladders aren’t designed to carry much weight in this direction, one of them has buckled. They are cute, though.

Things start looking up after crossing Baker Road. The trail descends into a ravine that has water in it, and is sheltered by oaks, birches, and hemlocks. The sounds of the freeway fade away. Just before a bridge across the Tankerhoosen River, the trail takes a sharp right and follows the river through the Belding Wildlife Management Area. Throughout this area there are many interpretive signs. At the old mill pond, there is a picnic area, nearly lost in tall grass. Cross the spillway of the old millpond; this is the lowest point of the trek, and leave Tankerhoosen River. At Valley Falls Road, the trail leaves the Belding Area and enters Valley Falls Park, where there is plenty of parking, but they may charge for parking at times.

Follow along Valley Falls Pond, crossing Railroad Brook at the spillway. After a short hike along the pond, the trail suddenly climbs the bank, up to a couple of benches with really nice views, and a great spot to stop for lunch. A little farther up, the trail intersects and follows the Hop River State Park Trail, a rails-to-trails project. The Shenipsit is coincident with the Hop River Trail almost all the way to Bolton Notch Pond. It is all uphill, but very gentle.

Just before the pond, the Shenipsit leaves the Hop River Trail, crossing Railroad Brook one last time, and climbing up to views over the waterlily-choked pond. It passes through Bolton’s Freja Park, and finishes up at the Bolton Park-and-Ride, a good place for a pickup.

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