Breakneck Pond Loop Trail

MODERATE 61 reviews

Breakneck Pond Loop Trail is a 6.8 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Stafford Springs, Connecticut that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

6.8 miles
429 feet

dogs on leash

kid friendly




mountain biking

paddle sports

trail running







4 months ago

very well marked. this is my goto trail.

4 months ago

Not much elevation gain but don’t be fooled. This trail is very rugged in parts. The western side is more interesting and has a number of campgrounds you can explore. At the north end and on the east side you can hear the traffic from 84.

4 months ago

Great hike! Definitely will do it again.

7 months ago

I followed this trail almost exact, except I kept to the park maps Blue Blazed Nipmuck Trail instead of breaking off onto the Ridge Trail. There were some hills and rocky parts, and I've been pretty lazy during this summer (too hot!), but I was able to complete the whole trail while carrying my 1-year old on me and a backpack. I also had my dog with me and she LOVED the trail and swimming in the pond. I'm planning on bringing my husband back with me to camp since there are a lot of camping spots along the trail as well. We saw several frogs, toads, birds, mushrooms, flowers, and the southern half of Breakneck Pond was covered in lilies in bloom, thousands of them! The only down side was the bugs, bring bug spray and spray yourself REALLY well EVERYWHERE! I think this has been my favorite hike in CT thus far, I hope to find more like it.

9 months ago

Love the park, love the trails, hate the bugs!

10 months ago

Nice half-day loop. Has a good balance of flat walking and uphill hiking. Well maintained though its easy to windup off the trail and on one of the access roads. Overall a great place to go when you want to stay local.

11 months ago

My favorite place and its in my backyard

Monday, January 02, 2017

Great winter hike!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Hot but good hike.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

I started on the Ridge Trail but due to the heat I cut across some four wheeler paths (where the first sign with arrows is) and went down to do the Breakneck Pond loop. Did 7.2 miles total. Definitely a great hike and will do it again when the weather cools down. Sweat, hills and bugs are a bad combination lol

Saturday, April 30, 2016

I hiked at Bigelow today (4/30/16) and made an approx. 10 mile loop. I parked at the lot at the north end of Bigelow Pond across from the 2nd Kiosk. I crossed the street and entered the white blaze path right behind the kiosk. A short way in the Blue/Orange Ridge Trail started and I took this trail. I followed it all the way to the northern tip of Breakneck Pond, then hiked down the west side of Breakneck using the blue/orange blazes (park of the loop trail that looks like it's blue on the maps). Once I got to the south end of Breakneck Pond I hiked south up the dirt/wood Breakneck Hill Rd, then the Lower Breakneck Hill Rd, and then the Mountain Rd to Park Rd and then the short White blazed section back to the the starting area. The map which can easily be found online will help this description make sense.

The Ridge Trail is great. Some awesome views. The trail along Breakneck Pond is also excellent. I have to say I put on a few pounds over the winter and might be a little de-conditioned but this hike kicked my arse (in a good way). Some challenging areas with great views, very remote, and just a great hike. An added plus was that although the bugs are starting to emerge, I didn't need to use any spray at all today and gnats were not an issue. Awesome day.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Very quiet trail when done early in the day.

Monday, March 14, 2016

This trail was awesome! It was hard then easy the trail follows all around the lake and with deep woods and valleys!! Fantastic!!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Great fall hike. Did the roughly five mile trail - had some interesting elevation changes without being challenging.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

I hiked the blue blazed trail up and around Breakneck Pond. GPS said 6.53 miles for the hike. It was a wonderful hike, but not for the novice hiker.Some spots are muddy while others are very rocky. some of the trail is very narrow and on a steep incline which falls right to the water.
From the entry on Rt 171 i Parked in the lot on the right with a trail Kiosk at the front of it. I think it was the first lot on the right, though it might be the second. At the back of the lot is a green gate leading onto a wide dirt path. Just a little down is a small sign on the right with an arrow saying "to Nipmuck Trail" this is the beginning of the blue blazed trail. I didn't find the trail hard to follow and only had to stop twice to look for the blazes. These two spots were at the top and bottom of the pond where there is a diverging of many trails. It should be noted that the trail down the west side of the lake is a blue/red blaze, instead of just the blue that it is marked on the map I got from the CT state park and forest web site. There are many campsites around the lake (many more than are noted on the map) and these sites make for great break spots as they all have excellent views of the water. It is 1.45 miles to the south shore of the pond, 3.63 miles around the pond, then another 1.45 back to the parking lot.
I went on a Wednesday afternoon in July, and aside from seeing a few cars entering and exiting the park, I didn't see another soul the entire time. It was a beautiful and peaceful hike. A few pearls of wisdom. 1. Bug spray is a MUST! I was wearing a 90% deet and still got a few bites. The poor dog just about got eaten alive by horseflies. 2. This park is a pay-to-play on holidays and weekends. I don't know what the fee is, but be prepared if you're going on the weekend.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

My husband and I went here today for the first time. I'm surprised at how well the (blue) trail was marked, given the brutal winter we just had. It's beautiful there right now- bigelow pond is 25% open water. It's a great place for a picnic- there are fire pits and gorgeous scenery. We lucked out and didn't have to pay to park- I'm assuming that is only during the summer? We will definitely be back!

Saturday, May 03, 2014

I just went the other day and got lost on the blue orange blue trail. I'm 22 but I've been going here my whole life. The trail is called ridge trail. The trail is beautiful but the trail ends in the middle of the woods but keeps going onto another trail. Don't go on this trail if there is only a couple hours of sun left. I plan on going on this trail again and keep going to bigelow. Hope this helped some what. Also the trails aren't marked very well so keep your eyes pealed

Sunday, December 01, 2013

We hiked the blue/white trail partially. Starting at the trail head bared right until we got to the yellow markings which is an unpaved access road. Headed north until running into the blue/white trail on the left. Overall the trail markings were kinda sparse but the hike was challenging with good elevation changes, rocks, ruts/roots. We wore orange and yellow since it was hunting season.
No bugs in November!

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

It's a nice quiet park plenty of picnic areas big hikeing trails some are challenging a nice place to sit an eat an relax

Sunday, July 14, 2013

This park could be renamed to mosquito state park or little Puerto Rico state park.

paddle sports
Friday, February 08, 2013

had my sons birthday party and had a blast swimming canoeing and hiking

Monday, January 21, 2013

You can explore all over, take a swim, grill or have a picnic. This park is beautiful

Sunday, July 08, 2012

The Bigelow Hollow State Park offers a variety of trails that will fit just about any skill level. There is the small, yellow-blazed trail circling Bigelow Pond. There is a medium-sized trail taking you to Mashapaug Lake (blue/white bar). Finally, if you want a real challenge, you can take on the trail system taking you around Breakneck Pond. For my hike, I chose the Breakneck Pond option.

As you can see from the map (link included), you can choose from a number of routes to Breakneck Pond. I took the Ridge Trail out. Be prepared to do some serious climbing . . . and to be completely awestruck by the views, and the wetland. (Note: the 4.3 mile length cited on the map doesn't take into account the climbing you will do. In real miles, the distance is more like something about 6-7 miles.) If you like to get some rock climbing in, this will be a treat.

For myself, on getting to the end of the Ridge Trail , I crossed the stream, went past the old swimming hole, and picked up the blue/white dot Breakneck Pond trail. After a short distance, it becomes the straight blue-blazed Nipmuck Trail. Don't miss the Mass/Conn state marker monument. The Nipmuck Trail takes you right alongside the pond. (Beaver activity in evidence!) Finally, you can take the white-blazed trail to the parking lot.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Just completed a 5 mile hike. It was beautiful this time of year with ice and a little snow dotting the landscape.

Visiting in the Winter is a good idea. Not many people.

In the summer its a lot more busy they are a local favorite for boating and swimming.

paddle sports
Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Whitewater kayaked on the lake. It was a beautiful october afternoon. The lake is fairly large, calm waters.

mountain biking
Friday, October 07, 2011

I mountain bike there atleast twice a week and I tend to stay out of the mashapaug and bigelow areas because the crowd of people is not good. On a nice sunny day it is impossible to ride the mashapaug trails because there will be people every 10 feet. They do not treat the park either. I know this because I live 5 minutes from there and see all the people from sturbridge /southbridge get drunk and smash bottles eveywere. If u stay outta mashapaug u are ok. The best hiking and biking is in breakneck hands down. I can do a 35 mile bike ride and see Maybe one person. The pond is beautiful and some huge 6-10 pound largemouth are pulled outta there almost every time we go.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

This was one of my first long hikes with my 3 children (at the time 6, 7 & 8). We all had our day packs and followed the Blue/Orange trail form the 3rd parking area into the park. About 1.5 miles i we turned right onto a forest park road taking the 2nd right at about .25 mile. we followed this forest road for about .25 mile and turned left onto the blue blaze Nipmuck Trail. There is a camp site here where we stopped to whittle sticks for awhile. We followed the Nipmuck into Massachusetts rounding the northern edge of Breakneck Pond returning SSW along the ponds edge. There is a lean to on the Nipmuck that is not marked on the state park map. At the southern end of the pond we turned right (WNW)onto the White Blaze trail. we completed the hike back to the truck.
This was a fun challenge for the children. We stopped several times for snack, lunch and water, along with a few whittling stops. We came across some beaver dams and several different foot prints and scat. Needless to say once they were in the truck for the ride home they where fast asleep. I would not attempt this hike with children of this age that have not day hiked regular. It is a full day of hiking with a slow to moderate speed based on the children. There are several other looping trails which are shorter and just as enjoyable. There are also several Geo-Caches in the park. There is a park entrance fee depending on the time of the year you visit, particularly in the summer.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Have been here a couple of times in the past few years. Have gone with my friend who also enjoys hiking. We both enjoy this place. This place is for all types of hikers. It has some demanding climbs, some narrow trails crossing some small streams in a few places . Watch you footing as you complete them. You can do this hike from either side of the pond; each trail/hike varies depending on the hiker. It has rewarding views of the pond from either side. Take some pictures. It is worth going to if you enjoy the woods, quiet, enjoy being one with nature, this park is worth checking out.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Very pretty trail nice and easy loop with only a few somewhat challenging elevation gains. The loop is said to be 6.4 miles however all the signs at the park say it is a 5 mile loop and the elevation gain is definitely more than 100 feet in some areas. Overall a very pretty and peaceful hike that should take roughly 3 hours at a casual pace with a few breaks between.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

This state park is clean, spacious, and great place to picnic, go hiking, walking, walk the dog(s), go boating (canoeing,kayaking,bass boats, sailboats), or fishing. The entrance to the park is on Route 171. To access Route 171, you can either get there via Route 190 East, or by Route 198 North.

I prefer remote fishing spots - places that aren't heavily fished. One of my favorites is Breakneck Pond which is north of Bigelow Hollow Pond, but it's east of Mashapaug Lake. You will have to stop & pick up a Trail Map to see what I'm talking about. Breakneck Pond is THE definition of remote. A footpath is provided which is mostly flat until you get to the "main" trailhead, then it becomes a Jeep trail with lots of rocks, stones, and huge boulders. If you have a canoe, or kayak, you can trailer it in by hand and launch it at the very end of the pond. Bring some tall boots, because the "launch" area is extremely muddy and deep. Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Chain Pickerel, Walleye, Sunfish, Crappie, and some Bluegill are present in this pond.

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