Richard H. Goodwin Trail, Part 1

Posted By on December 11, 2016

Richard H. Goodwin Trail, Part 1

6.9 miles; East Haddam, Salem, Lyme, and East Lyme, CT

The Richard H. Goodwin Trail, not to be confused with the James L. Goodwin Conservation Area, is a newly-opened 14-mile multi-town trail in eastern Connecticut. It pretty amazingly spends very little time on roads—it seems to just go from conservation area to wildlife management area to town park to state forest, and so on. My friend Stacy and I decided to give it a go and do half of the 14 miles as a car spot on this chilly (it was 13 degrees first thing in the morning!) December day. Stacy brought our usual hiking companion, Dallas the Dog, along with her new puppy, Gillian.

Bridge Across the Eight Mile River

Bridge Across the Eight Mile River

This hike started at the Boot Rock portion of the Chapel Farm Preserve in East Haddam along Route 82 not far from Devil’s Hopyard State Park. It very quickly crossed the Eight Mile River on this newly-constructed, very sturdy bridge.

Good Blazes

Good Blazes

The Goodwin Trail is marked pretty well with yellow diamond blazes with a big green G in the center. At least, it is in most places… as you can see from the track at the end of this post, we made a couple of wrong turns, but that is par for the course for us. We corrected pretty quickly.

Mysterious Tunnel?

Mysterious Tunnel?

Fairly early on in the hike we came across this mysterious tunnel entrance. It really wasn’t a tunnel, it ended not 10 feet from the entrance, but it was pretty interesting, nonetheless. Not sure what it was supposed to be. Possibly a root cellar?

Another River Crossing

Another River Crossing

This trail crossed the Eight Mile River in a couple of places… The second crossing was in the Eight Mile River Wildlife Area, which straddles the line between East Haddam and Lyme.

Granite Marker

Granite Marker

From the Eight Mile River Wildlife Area, the trail crosses into land owned by the Salem Land Trust, and from there into conservation property owned by the Salem Valley Corporation. Somewhere in these two preserves we came across this granite marker. There were no inscriptions on it, so we weren’t sure what it was supposed to be marking.

Signage

Signage

Judging from this signage, I’d have to say the Salem Land Trust does an excellent job of marking their trails. We thought that the granite post we saw earlier might be the “Tri Town Marker” of the sign, but upon further map study I’d say that wasn’t it. Another mystery.

The Snout

The Snout

From the Salem Valley Corporation’s land, we crossed a road and entered Hartman Park in Lyme. I’d hiked here once before, a LONG time ago (March 2012), but I remembered this rock…

The Snout

The Snout

Yup. Same rock.

Track. Click for details.

Track. Click for details.

Here is our track. As always, click the image for details. Our car was parked at the trail’s approximate mid-point in the Nehantic State Forest in East Lyme, which the bulk of the remainder of this trail traverses. This was a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to get to Part 2 of the trail. You can find out more about hiking the Richard H. Goodwin Trail (not to be confused with the James L. Goodwin Conservation Area) at the Lyme Land Trust’s website, which includes a trail map. Also, I highly recommend this article by Peter Marteka in the Hartford Courant. He does a much better job of describing this trail than I did, although the link to a map that he provides at the end is already dead. Trailheads: 41.435542, -72.340213 (start); 41.437882, -72.263079 (mid-point).

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