Westwoods Trails

Posted By on August 20, 2014

Westwoods Trails

5 miles, 2 mph; guilford, ct

this is a big trail system, and when i say big, i mean it’s 39 miles worth of trails on 1,200 acres of land. it runs through part of the cockaponsett state forest in guilford, and through land trust properties in guilford and branford. i barely brushed the surface. it was unexpectedly punishing, with a tortured landscape of huge boulders and steep ridges and ravines. i was quite beat by the end of the hike.

the trail

the trail

i took the white dot trail from the trail head at sam hill road, which starts out quietly enough following the railroad tracks for a spell. the trail map for this trail system is incredibly comprehensive, and it shows many spur trails that are blazed with rectangles, instead of the dots on the main trails. i tried a few of the spur trails, but they proved to be exhausting; going up and over and through boulders and small cliffs. after that, i stayed on the main trails for the most part, which seemed to be tamer.

lost lake

lost lake

the white trail hugs the shore of lost lake, and it’s a very pretty little lake with egrets and herons galore.

stream crossing

stream crossing

the cardinal flowers were in bloom at the stream crossings, at least where there was actually water. typically for this part of new england, most of the streams are dry right now.

leaves, already

leaves, already

the birch trees are all giving up their leaves already, even though it’s only august. must be drought stress, but it looks distressingly like the beginning of the end of summer.

iconic tree and boulder

iconic tree and boulder

this is such a cool image it ought to be the icon for the whole trail system. it looks like the tree grew out of a big stone egg.

signage

signage

decent signage in places, but i have to say again that the blazing was superlative all through here. there are really a lot of trails, between the main trails, the spur trails, and a bunch of crossover trails, and they’re all clearly mapped and blazed. it’s really impressive.  i have added this hike to the hikefinder, but the trail map i link to is one that is put out by the guilford land trust, with my route added. i highly recommend that you go to the guilford land trust website, where you can also find this map, along with very comprehensive descriptions of the trails. it’s an excellent website.

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