Explore To Do - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

To Do Map
5 days ago

Hancock Brook Trail is open. Trail does not cross river over abandoned bridge but proceeds North along the side of the quarry area. Trail runs North about 1.5 miles following Hancock Brook. It then swings to the left and makes the return trip South on top of the ridge. One of my favorite trails especially when there has been a recent rain.

IT IS NOT MODERATE. UNLESS YOU LIKE TO ROCK CLIMB. The view is great, the waterfall is beautiful but the trail is hard. I’m not new to hiking but am not an expert. They should get more than one type of person to rate the trails, because whoever rated this one has a very weird definition of “moderate”.

Nice scenic loop. I went during high tide which made it a little wet in a few spots. Definitely nice in the off season, plenty of parking and not many people.

I grew up in Watertown and heard about this trail growing up, but never took the time to hike it. It’s a little rocky in about 15% of the trail, but the great view at the top and the amazing rock formations that create the natural cave make it all worth while. I just got out of the hospital after having a 3rd stent put in my heart. Spending time at the top reflecting how grateful I am and we all should be living in this country, with places like this in our backyard, is something everyone should do more often.
Here is a link that tells the story of the leather man that lived in this cave in the mid 1800’s.

3/31/2018 Great little day trip,dog friendly trail. Lots of great pics. Definitely have to check out the railroad tunnel and suspension bridge.

Some awesome views of lake.

Very cool trail with some nice views along the way. Parking is limited if you park on Route 6. Definitely want to go again

1 month ago

Lots of History fun to Explore. My wife and I were there on a Sunny Day a few days after a March Snow Storm. Every thing looked picturesque.

1 month ago

Nice hike, didn’t take long to complete. Will definitely go back with the dog.

Short trail. Good for a quick jog as a treadmill substitution. Go after a heavy rain.

I’m not writing a review I’m just saying why can’t I find the mine?!? Tried to go look for some garnet today was walking along the water not sure what I was looking for, took a slip and fall and sprained my ankle. That’s what I get for going off the beaten path right after all the snow melted.... guess I’ll be waiting til summer. Ouch

2 months ago

The trailhead is on the other side of the quarry. You have to actually cut across the quarry to reach it and ignore the rotten bridge everyone keeps mentioning. The trail is fairly simple going beside a small stream, across from which is a train track. Once you get to “the end”, looking ahead you will see a scrap yard or something through the trees into the distance. That’s not the end of the trail of course as it loops by going up the cliff face to the left of that “end”. It’s a bit of a difficult climb at points and can be strenuous, so make sure you have plenty of water and are part mountain goat. The views from the top of the various cliffs are nice during the warmer months. The trail eventually ends where it began and you have to cross the quarry field again.

Great hike with the wife, son and dog. It was January so the trail had some pretty icy spots. Five star family hike any other season.

Nice trail. Says it's a loop. But when you get to the top the red trail markers stop. I followed the blue for a while but know that's part of the Quinnipiac trail. Down trail is not marked at all and is very steep. Good workout either way!

Nice hike with kids. My 4, 5 and 7 year old had no problem. Be careful near cliffs, also does have a decent incline. Great for dogs too. Pretty solid for families. Little parking.

4 months ago

Excellent hike for all ages.

Very nice steep. But not the best view except the waterfall.

If you like waterfalls, you will love this hike! Albeit small falls. This hike makes you want to come back for more exploring. Following the colored trails is easier with a map. There's a gun club nearby, but you only hear it on parts of the hike.

We walked this trail today and had a lovely time but here is what we needed to know. The first parking lot is about a half mile away from the trail head. This first section of unpaved road runs RIGHT alongside (within a few feet) an ACTIVE train track which made me nervous and we did see a train. Much better to drive down the rocky rutted path to the round parking lot at the actual trail head. The first part of the loop trail runs along the river with STEEP drops; it is really lovely but challenging at places. Unfortunately someone was shooting a gun in the distance for much of the time we were walking so not truly peaceful. Look out for the pink hanging ribbons which mark a few spots that are a little tricky but overall very well marked.

nice trail careful with fall leaves and rocks

You can take the Orange Trail starting at the rocky turn-around lot closer to Cold Spring (*not* the guard-railed gravel lot at the end of Spruce Brook, nearer the train tracks). The beginning of the trail is primarily tennis and golf ball sized round rocks, so use care not to turn an ankle. Fairly steep trail overall. Purple trail to the flag pole comes up on your left, and some kind person Sharpied an arrow on the Orange Trail marker to show you the way. Expansive view of the valley along Route 8, with snippets of the railroad tracks and river below.

6 months ago

Great hike but definitely not 3.6. Blue blaze trail is 4.4 miles if do the red trail it will be 6.5 miles. I don’t know why people are saying you scramble rocks because there is no rock scrambling. Straight up hill for about .5 miles but not too difficult! Great ruins of the old mine. Stay to your left when you start the trail unless you want to do uphill on your way back.

Looks like this trail is longer accessible. The starting bridge is out.

Nice quiet trail. I brought my three kids ages 3-8 and it got a little hairy with some rocks/ cliffs/ and a nice little incline, but they did well.

Saw some moonjellies, snails and jellyfish on the beach. Great walk, not nearly as many people as the summer - made for a great day!

6 months ago

Wow! The first half is more of a hike, with a good scrabble up a steep rocky incline, and the back half took us through a flat woodland road. The historic points of interest were great. Please don't drop anything down the mines, let the earth trolls sleep! :)

6 months ago

Gorgeous trail, well marked, reasonably challenging in places. If you're directionally challenged, be sure to bring a printed map and compass, as there is no service and you'll want to explore trail offshoots. The transition at the end of the loop is disorienting! We found this trail relatively free of bugs with one application of spray in the early afternoon, but the yellow trail was intolerable on the way out at 6pm.

Beautiful trail! Perfect for a short hike. Some more challenging parts but mostly smooth sailing!

Link above is a CT DEEP map. If you park on Cold Spring Road, the final few minutes is an unpaved, rutted road. An alternative would be to hike in from parking at Old Litchfield Tpke & Pines Bridge. Spruce Creek had minimal flow in Sept 2017. Blue trail is a bit narrow and precarious in spots. This would be an excellent hike after snow melt or a rainy week. The western park of the State Forest near the reservoirs are wide trails with minimal elevation changes. We saw frogs, fish,m and crayfish near the reservoirs. The purple trail overlook is the flag that you can see from Route 8.

This route uses parts of the State Forest trail system: blue, white, green, violet, yellow, and blue (again). They're not noted on AllTrails, so it would be good to get the trail maps from ct.gov/deep before heading out. Route had a bit too much "road" type trail for my taste.

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