Hell Hollow Loop

Posted By on August 30, 2019

Hell Hollow Loop

7.5 miles; Voluntown and Sterling, CT

Mileage hike. Um, perhaps I should explain that… See, I’ve been on Weight Watchers for lo, these many months (since the last week of March). And I’ve found that you can get a lot more flexibility in your weekly points allowance when you do a minimum of one really long hike, like I’ve been doing for a while now. So I guess “Mileage Hike” translates to “More Food Hike.”

Anyways, today’s More Food Hike was on parts of two CFPA blue-blazed trails, the Pachaug and the Quinnebaug, and also included the yellow-blazed Pachaug-Quinnebaug Connector Trail.

Pink Ghost Pipes, Monotropa uniflora

Pink Indian Pipes, Monotropa uniflora

I’ve only ever seen white Indian Pipes, and also I didn’t remember that they had a second flush in late summer, so these were a double-surprise. Pretty!



The aforementioned yellow-blazed Pachaug-Quinnebaug Connector Trail is badly overgrown and a real mess to hike. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a CFPA trail in such bad shape before. I mean, I knew about how poor the Quinnebaug is to hike on, and kind of expected that. But this was a big surprise.

Didn't Disappoint

Didn’t Disappoint

And here is the Quinnebaug “Trail,” or in this case, brook. It was its usual rock-strewn mess.

White Wood Aster, Eurybia divaricata

White Wood Aster, Eurybia divaricata

There were large swathes of White Wood Aster in places, a plant that makes me happy and sad at the same time. Happy because it’s so lovely, and sad because it means the end of summer.

Phillips Pond

Phillips Pond Picnic Area

The Phillips Pond Picnic Area is the southern end of the Hell Hollow Loop. And the hiking from here back to the parking area by Hell Hollow Pond was very nice (for a change).

Orange Striped Oakworm, Anisota senatoria

Orange Striped Oakworm, Anisota senatoria

I say the hiking was nice, but there were these guys just EVERYWHERE. I mean, after a while (and this sounds horrible of me, but) I stopped trying to avoid stepping on them. There were places on the trail where their frass was just covering the ground. They eat oaks, and while this might be bad for the oaks at some other time of year, by now the leaves are just about to turn anyway, and the feeding doesn’t really do any major damage. And they become such pretty moths! Well, those that don’t get squished by hikers do.

You can find out more about these trails and get a trail map of this part of the Pachaug State Forest from this CT DEEP website. As always, click the image above for details about this hike and to download the gps track.


One Response to “Hell Hollow Loop”

  1. Padraic W Hagan says:

    This is one of my favorite hikes of all time, not least cause I grew up in very nearby in Moosup, and we used to Bou Scout camp off of Flat Rock Rd. It’s also a great length hike, and a fun loop with a lot of variety. A real shame to hear the connector has gotten so overrun.

    Truthfully though, the Quinebaug has always been that rough, at least since the mid 90s when I started hiking it.

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