NEPAUG RESERVOIR TRAILS;

 NORTH LETTERBOX:

CANTON, CONNECTICUT

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Planted:               September 24, 2003               

Length:                North Trail; 1 mile 

                             North Trail to Letterbox; 0.6 miles

                              South Trail; 1.9 miles

                              Collinsville on-road loop; 3 miles

Difficulty:            North Trail. Easy. Flat, paved old road.

                              South Trail. Moderate. Old, hilly paved road (broken up in places).     

Directions:

Take exit 39 off of I-84 to Route 4 west. Follow Route 4 to the intersection of Route 179 and take Route 179 north.

For the Nepaug Reservoir South Trail; Just a short distance up Route 179 will be a left hand turn for Ford Rd. Follow Ford Rd to where it intersects with Barnes Hill Rd. This is just below the Phelps Dam. Turn left up Barnes Hill Rd and then a quick right up Clear Brook Rd to the yellow gate. Park here.

For the Nepaug Reservoir North Trail; Take Route 179 north through Collinsville and up towards Route 202. To park at the east end of the trail, turn left onto Town Bridge Rd before you reach Route 202. Follow Town Bridge Rd to its end and turn right onto Torrington Ave which brings you to a yellow gate. Park here. For the west end, continue up to Route 202 and turn left onto Route 202 west. The trailhead is less then 1 miles on your left just before the road crosses the reservoir.

The South Trail follows an old road along the southern end of the Nepaug Reservoir. The North Trail follows an old road along the northern end of the reservoir past the Nepaug Dam. The Nepaug Reservoir was constructed between 1911 and 1916 and is managed by the Metropolitan District Commission to supply water for the Hartford area. The tributary waters of the Nepaug River, Clear Brook and Phelps Brook supply the reservoir with spring-fed run-off from the bordering hills. The village of Nepaug was forced to relocate as it was in the new flood zone.

South Trail; As you head past the yellow gate, you'll be going slightly downhill to start. The trail is an old road that is broken up in spots. As you head down the road keep an eye to your right to spot some tall Larch trees. These conifers are the only type that looses their needles in the fall, the same way deciduous trees loose their leaves every fall. Just past the Larch trees will be some Norway Spruce trees. You can distinguish these trees from other Spruce/Fir trees by looking at the way the branches hang down. It looks as though the branches are raining down on you. The road levels off and follows the southern end of the reservoir. After about of a mile you'll pass by 3 old posts on your left where a stone culvert passes below. Just past these poles on your right you'll spot a large quartz boulder. From this boulder you can see the Nepaug Dam at the northern tip of the reservoir. The road pulls away from the reservoir and starts up a steep hill at the 1 mile mark. Clear Brook flows down alongside the road and feeds into the reservoir. There is a stream gauging station located here. The road ends at another yellow gate at 1.9 miles. The climb is steep, but the stream is very scenic along the route.

Note; Back where you parked your car, you can take a short side trip to check out the Phelps Dam. From the yellow gate, head back down the road you drove up and take a left at another gate. This road takes you across the dam and ends on the far side where the road then heads uphill and turns to gravel. It's only a mile to this point from your car. On the top of the dam you will see some stairs leading down to the junction of Barnes Hill Road and Ford Road that you may drive to.

North Trail; Starting from the eastern end of the trail; Pass through the yellow gate and travel down the old road. It's broken up in spots, but is nice and level. This road follows the northern tip of the reservoir. A mile will bring you to the Nepaug Dam. I was impressed with the height of the dam and having visited it after heavy rains, I got quite a show as the water cascaded over the spillway. After admiring the great views, cross over the dam and follow the cement wall on your right to the end. A stone wall continues on your right, but head straight up some cement steps into the woods. Use CAUTION, as the steps are narrow and full of debris. The stairs bring you to a mortared stone wall, possibly an old viewing area of the dam. With your back to the wall, a large dead Hemlock tree will be in front of you and a clump of small Hemlock trees will be to your right. Look uphill past this clump of hemlock trees and go to a large boulder. From this boulder, head due north uphill past a tree stump that has large rocks on both sides, to spot a large two-trunked dying Hemlock tree. Go around the right side of this tree and remove the two flat rocks leaning against the tree. Under another rock is the Nepaug Reservoir North Letterbox. Please replace all 3 rocks as you found them to help protect the box. The road continues alongside the reservoir, ending at 1 mile next to another gate. This is the parking area alongside Route 202 at the western end of the trail.

The Farmington River Rail Trail is also located close by. You can access that trail and the Nepaug Reservoir North Trail via the Collinsville on-road Loop by starting from the Collinsville parking lot. See; Farmington River Rail Trail for directions. This is only recommended for experienced bikers and not kids because of traffic and a steep hill. From the Collinsville parking lot off Route 179 at Collinsville's Town Hall, follow the Farmington River Rail Trail northeast as it crosses Route 179 and travels alongside the Farmington River. The trail ends briefly as you travel on-road along Old River Rd. This brings you out to Route 179 and a cross-light. Here, you'll leave the Farmington River Rail Trail and head left (north) on-road along Route 179. After about miles, you must cross back over Route 179 to Town Bridge Rd. This road has little traffic as it takes you over the Farmington River on an old steel bridge. The road then begins a steep climb to its junction with Torrington Ave. Turning right up Torrington Ave brings you to the Nepaug North Trail parking lot after 1 miles where you can check it. To return, simply follow Torrington Ave, which is almost all downhill, for a mile to the Route 179 Bridge and back over the Farmington River. You ride through the Collinsville Historic District alongside the river and return to the Collinsville parking lot after 1 miles. 

HH

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NORTH LETTERBOX LAST VERIFIED ON

FEBRUARY 17, 2017

TO EMAIL A VERIFICATION

letterbox@snet.net 

 

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