Hurd State Park

Posted By on October 18, 2017

Hurd State Park

4.35 miles; East Hampton, CT

So I finished the Bay Circuit Trail. This left me in kind of a funk, and I was just looking through my “Hikes I’d Like to Do” list, and noticed this park. Looked interesting, and it was. But a word of warning: the official map is pretty much useless. Mountain bikers have taken the park over and blazed their own trails. You will find many more blaze colors than the ones on the map. Still, it was a pretty interesting hike, and the weather was ideal.

The River Walk Trail

The River Walk Trail

After parking out on Route 151 in East Hampton, where there is a large dirt parking area, I headed down the white-blazed trail to visit the red-blazed River Walk, the river in question being the Connecticut River. The trail plunges rather steeply down to the shore. Now, when I hike in Connecticut, the first thing I do after I’ve decided on a destination is to google the trail in conjunction with the name “Markteka.” Because Hartford Courant Nature columnist Peter Marteka has undoubtedly been there first and can tell you the features not to miss. He talked about both the River Walk and an intriguing-sounding stone jetty. Here’s Peter’s description:

The jetty is a lot of fun to walk along as you dodge huge piles of flotsam and giant trunks of trees that have floated downstream and gotten stranded. On one side of the jetty is the river; on the other, a small tidal cove. The views up and down the river are tremendous and any block makes a great place to picnic or just sit and watch the river flow past.

The Jetty

The Jetty

This feature was a little more “interesting” to negotiate than Peter’s description made it seem. The quarried blocks are fairly narrow and tilted every which way. And the flotsam became more and more difficult to negotiate as I went along, until at one point I just gave up and turned around. Still, it was a pretty cool spot. I kind of got the impression that this “jetty” was actually a built up river embankment, and the land behind the embankment eroded away to make the cove.

Channel Buoy #69

Channel Buoy #69

At one point on my jetty walk I came across a large chain coming from the river side of the blocks, and following the chain, saw this green channel buoy on the other side. Geez, that must have been some kind of flood that washed a chained channel buoy over the jetty…

Maiden Hair Fern

Maiden Hair Fern

This is such a lovely plant, and I’m always kind of surprised to find it growing wild. I won’t tell you what I’ve paid for it over the years to add to various gardens of mine.

Split Rock Vista

Split Rock Vista

At the end of the River Walk is the inevitable climb back up to the heights of this beautiful state park, and the views were worth the climb. Now I got to see the Connecticut River from a distance.

River View

River View

There were several boats cruising upriver while I watched, and the wakes sparkling in the sun were gorgeous. This is a great park and I highly recommend a visit if you ever get the chance. I wouldn’t mind coming back for another visit myself, as there were several trails I didn’t really have time to explore.

You can read more about Hurd State Park, and view a (partially useless) trail map, at the CT DEEP website. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this hike and to download the GPS track.

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