Bigelow Hollow State Park

I set out on a nice autumn day to do some backpacking at Bigelow Hollow State Park.  The park adjoins Nipmuck State Forest so most of the signage covers both.  It is a nice property in northern Connecticut – 9,000 acres according to the official website.  Most of the locals call it Bigelow Hollow even though the larger portion is actually Nipmuck State Forest.  I was able to get in close to 10 miles with a couple loops and it was great to get out for such an extended period of time.  The trails were generally well maintained and I had a great time.

I started out at the Bigelow Pond Trailhead which is the P on the north end of Bigelow Pond on the trail map.  I walked north on the Ridge Trail – it’s orange / green on the map but marked orange / blue on the map key.  The trailhead is located across the road from the parking lot, near the trail map board.  It was a gorgeous day and with the foliage out, the forest was fantastic.  The trail has some elevation but is generally flat as it winds its way through the trees and the mountain laurel.  The Ridge Trail proceeds generally north until you hit Breakneck Hill Road and turn east toward the Nipmuck Trail.  I decided to take the Nipmuck Trail along the east side of Breakneck Pond.  I wanted to get in a little extra mileage / time in the woods so I hiked south on the Nipmuck Trail and caught the East Ridge Trail going back north.  I then came back south down the Nipmuck Trail and closed the loop out back at the parking lot.  The northern junction of the Nipmuck and East Ridge trails is right at the state line between Massachusetts and Connecticut.  It is marked with a concrete pillar.  The trails extend into Mass but the state forest doesn’t.  I don’t know which property you’re actually in at the north end of Breakneck Pond.

I passed a couple shelters along the way.  They were pretty standard three walled structures, with a fire pit, and grill.  You have to call for reservations but I don’t think you’d have much competition as I passed a grand total of three people the entire hike.  The park probably has busy days but the day I went was quiet.  Breakneck Pond was gorgeous and the trail follows the edge so you get a lot of wonderful views of the water.  There was a lot of beaver activity as you get with most ponds in the area.  I walked through a spider web on the East Ridge trail – was great to have a rather large eight-legged friend end up on the brim of my cap.  It crawled into the edge of my vision and scared the heck out of me.  He also wouldn’t hold still when I tried to take his picture!

I quote enjoyed this hike.  It was wonderful to be out in the woods as the leaves were falling and the solitude is always welcome.  It’s so wonderful to have so many hiking trails so close to home.  I love getting out into the woods!


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