Explore the best trails near Durham with detailed reviews, photos, trail maps, and driving directions curated by hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
We started the trail from the smaller trail head on Durham Road, across from a small farm. There are quite a few intersecting trails in this area so it can get confusing. The trail passes along 3 town lines. There are a large number of maps strewn throughout but the information may be hard to follow, as the maps typically list a random color and name that doesn't correspond with the trail blaze color or the trail signs. I believe we followed the blue/red blaze to blue blaze only, across the Mica Ledges, down to the Pyramid, then across Dead Pot Road, we started then following the "main" yellow blaze trail which is confusing in that a smaller yellow blaze trail continually intersects it. We then joined back to Blue Blazes past the charcoal area, and took a left towards the tenting area, following the blue/red blazes, and then veered right to follow the blue blazes to the road, where we walked the road for the final length.
The Pyramid was a nice highlight, it was quite huge and not hard to scale. The Mica Ledges continue for a few nice outlooks, 2 or so of the outlooks, look over a new development on farmland, and 1 or 2 aren't high enough to overlook the trees yet. They are nice and easy to walk across though and feature a lot of wild flowers. There are a huge amount of caterpillars on the trees this year though, I'm not sure if they're harmful to the vegetation, but they were on EVERYTHING. When you are more towards the Guilford/Madison side of the trail, there are a large number of signs detailing vegetation and the trail, which are informative.
All in all, I was hoping the trails would be better marked. They aren't nearly as wide as the nearby Bluff Head Trail. There are also about 5 differing maps. The first at the small area we parked was once quite nice but very faded now. There were nice ones on the Madison Guilford side, but they don't quite match the trail blazes and there are so many intersecting that it's confusing. On the farther side towards the Pyramid Rock, there are biking trail maps strewn throughout, which are very detailed but harder to interpret.
The paths we followed equaled 9.7 miles by the end of the night, which took us about 3 hours included stopping at the ledges, and pyramids, and trying to find our way. If you're hoping to hike in this area, I would strongly recommend the Bluff Head Trail first, as it was better maintained, and excellent views from the Trap rock vistas
went here for first time with my wife ... nice trail w nice ups and downs and very clean and not trashed... rare these days...even better is that it's close to home! The only real gripe we had was the view of tilcons operation ripping down the other mountain...expect to see a LOT of fallen trees from recent storms ... definitely looks like a great place to camp... we will be back for sure !
1/1/16 - After an extremely enjoyable hike with friends, we were chatting afterwards by our vehicles, when we observe an unattended dog on a rock for approximately 10 minutes. Eventually three cyclists emerge from the main trail with this dog following. The dog immediately runs over to us, we asked the owner to control her as we have dogs, unfortunately she does not listen and the owner must take her away by the collar. Approximately 15-20 minutes later the dog is back at our vehicles and we repeat our request to her owner to leash her and remind him that there is a leash requirement. It is frustrating and irritating the people like this are encountered.
Along the Mattabasset trail up towards the Mica Ledges you'll pass a massive boulder that's been nicknamed the 'Pyramid' which is a nice highlight. There are several nice views from the ledges themselves. The trail is well-maintained and nicely marked.
Completed a stretch from route 77 to route 68. 9.47 miles. just before route 68 is Cattails shelter. Wish I had planned ahead to stay ovenight. It is well kept and very dry even in the rain. et even supply firewood. This hike was beautiful with frequent vistas some pretty steep climbs followed by rolling flat across ridge lines. One of the prettiest areas along the New England Trail which includes the Mattabesset Trail.
I hiked the main trail around the pond a week prior to taking the mountain bike. From the parking lot, I took the red marked trail on the right side. This trail is very technical in some areas. I wouldn't recommend it to a new biker, but for an experienced rider this trail offers plenty of challenges. I found the trail very rocky with lots of large boulders and cliff-like rock to ride along. Some really nice views in the woods. This time of year(August) the streams and mud are non-existent. You can certainly see where the streams would normally flow. I imagine spring and fall would be wetter. Overall I only ride 5.4 miles on the right side of the pond. It looks like the other side offers even more extensive trails, so I will def return for more. Update to follow!
Hiking south from Rt 68 you will soon come to the "Cat tails Shelter" just off the trail. This would be an awesome place to spend the night as it has two shelters, seating, a fire-pit and bottles of fresh water in the summer courtesy of the caretaker. The hike gains elevation in sections until you come to the top of the ridge with views to the west and south. Blue Trails?/Hills? Gun range is below and you will hear frequent shooting. The trail continues to the notch where there is a road and then up, across, and down to Rt 17.
I hiked this trail with friends from rte 68 in Wallingford to rte 66 in Middlefield by Guida's dairy. There isn't much for parking along rte 68, so I recommend only parking one car there. The hike is about 7 or 8 miles up and down several hills. There are a lot of loose, sharp rocks which might hinder some. The final stretch of the trails runs along the cliffs with gorgeous vistas. A moderate hike with nice views, make sure to pack well as there are no outlets on this trail.
Andrew D. on Bear Rock Trail
I parked on Harvey road (very nice area and woodsy, kinda nice to see in CT). Started off going on the trail, just following blue markers on trees. Although the trails are clearly maintained, you really don't know where you are going, there are no signs to bear rock whatsoever. I kept hiking for a ways, just sorta exploring the area until I came onto what must have been Bear rock. It was huge, and had a cave like structure, which really stood out to the surrounding area. There are no scenic viewpoints, it isn't like a summit or anything. However you cross different types of environment and it is a very nice, remote area. I encountered one hiker in my two hour hike. I couldn't even hear a pin drop in some areas of hiking. Lots of wildlife too. I saw some deer run across the trail, and saw tracks of what must have been coyote or fox or something. Wouldn't be surprised if there was a lot more animals. Hunting is permitted so be careful.
I got kinda lost at one point, as there weren't any signs or anything. Basically just blue markers on trees the whole way and you had to know the area (which I don't). What I ended up doing was I hiked 3 miles until I came onto a road. I took my GPS out and found the road I was parked on, and just walked along side roads from there until I got to my car as it was getting dark. The trail itself is moderate, pretty easy in sections but a few small climbs. I wandered off the trail sometimes to go exploring, it is a very quiet area so it makes it enjoyable. The hardest part for me was walking on the roads haha, as there was a lot of uphill walking and nothing to keep you interested, just houses and cars. What I recommend is to study the trail online before you go, and have a really thought out plan before you go. Very nice area to walk through if you have some time to kill.