STEEP ROCK PRESERVE TRAILS:

WASHINGTON, CONNECTICUT

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:       May , 2022

Length:                 Green Circle RR Bed Trail; 0.8 miles

                               Yellow Circle/Tunnel Road Trail; 1.6 miles

                               Blue & Orange Square RR Bed Trail; 1.2 miles

Difficulty:             Green Circle RR Bed Trail; Easy. Flat, wide dirt & crushed gravel rail trail. 

                               Yellow Circle/Tunnel Road Trail; Easy. Flat, wide dirt/gravel road.

                               Blue & Orange Square RR Bed Trail; Easy. Flat, narrow dirt & crushed gravel rail trail. 

Directions:     

To Start from Tunnel Road parking lot; From the junction of Routes 67 & 317 in Roxbury travel north on Route 67 to the junction of Route 199. Follow Route 199 north to Route 47 in Washington. Head left on Route 47. Cross the Shepaug River and turn left on River Rd. Follow River Rd south to the junction of Lower Church Hill Rd and Tunnel Rd. Turn left on Tunnel Rd and pass by the Tunnel Road North parking lot on your right. Cross Shepaug River and come to the Tunnel Road South parking lot.

The Steep Rock Preserve has 2 trails along an old rail bed. The Green Circle RR Bed Trail travels along the north side of the Shepaug River, while the Blue & Orange Square RR Bed Trail travels along the south side of the Shepaug River. The 2 trails are not linked because of a missing bridge over the Shepaug River. The Yellow Circle/Tunnel Road Trail follows Tunnel Road along the south side of the Shepaug River and connects to the Blue & Orange Square RR Bed Trail. The RR Bed Trails follow the old Shepaug, Litchfield & Northern Railroad. This was a short independent RR that was chartered as the Shepaug Valley Railroad in 1868 and operated from 1872 to 1891 when it was taken over by the Housatonic Railroad. In 1898, the Housatonic operation was assumed by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad (NH). As the Litchfield Division of the NH, the line was operated until abandonment in 1948. For more information visit; STEEP ROCK ASSOCIATION .

Green Circle RR Bed Trail:

Starting from Tunnel Road parking lot North; Map Board located here. Head past the gate along the wide dirt & crushed gravel Green Circle RR Bed Trail as it travels through the woods alongside the Shepaug River. Pass by an old bridge abutment on your left at 0.25 miles. Come to a hiking trail on your left and keep straight. Pass another trail on your left at 0.6 miles.

Note; This leads to campsite SR2, located alongside the river. Picnic table, grill, fire pit.

The trail narrows as you near the end after 0.8 miles next to the river. Hiking trails past here. F on the Map. The old RR crossed the river around here.

Yellow Circle/Tunnel Road Trail:

Starting from Tunnel Road parking lot South; Picnic tables. The dirt/gravel Yellow Circle/Tunnel Road Trail follows Tunnel Rd south, along the south side of the Shepaug River. This trail is along a Park road but has limited traffic at low speed. Pass by an old bridge abutment on your right at 0.2 miles. The road splits at 0.4 miles. The dirt/gravel Spring Hill Rd bears left, keep right alongside the river as Tunnel Rd narrows. After 0.8 miles you'll pass by the gate for the Blue Square RR Bed Trail on your left. 

Note; I followed the Blue Square RR Bed Trail, then Looped back along Tunnel Rd further south.

Continuing along the Yellow Circle/Tunnel Road Trail. Pass by an intersection with a Map Board and continue straight. The road ends at campsite SR3 after 1.6 miles. 

Note; A short dirt & grass trail on your left leads to the Blue Square RR Bed Trail and old RR tunnel. The railroad tunnel was constructed from 1871 to 1872 as part of the Shepaug Valley Railroad. A crew of coal miners from Pennsylvania built the 235-foot curved tunnel by hand using picks, dynamite and nitroglycerin to blast through Steep Rock Ridge. It took them only nine months to complete, a remarkably quick project in those days.

Blue & Orange Square RR Bed Trail:

Starting from the Yellow Circle/Tunnel Road Trail; The flat, narrow, crushed gravel Blue Square RR Bed Trail heads past the gate into the woods. This trail travels above the Yellow Circle/Tunnel Road Trail below on your right with views of the river. Cross a stream at 0.3 miles. Come to the old RR tunnel at 0.9 miles. The railroad tunnel was constructed from 1871 to 1872 as part of the Shepaug Valley Railroad. A crew of coal miners from Pennsylvania built the 235-foot curved tunnel by hand using picks, dynamite and nitroglycerin to blast through Steep Rock Ridge. It took them only nine months to complete, a remarkably quick project in those days. 

Note; To your right a short dirt & grass trail brings you back to the Yellow Circle/Tunnel Road Trail, where you may Loop back.

The tunnel is dark but once you enter it you quickly spot the exit. Only 0.1 miles long. A MUST SEE. After exiting the tunnel the trail continues along the ridge high above the river below. The old rail bed ends after 1.2 miles.

HH

CLICK HERE FOR MAP

 

BEFORE YOU SET OUT BE SURE TO READ THE

WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER

 

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