Hiking Trails in Lakeville and Salisbury, CT
There are 3 main entrances to Turnip Top, 2 on the North side of U.S. 44, just West of the Salisbury School and 1 on the Taconic Road about 1/2 miles from the blinker light on U.S. 44, which is about 1 1/2 miles from Salisbury Center. The trails are mostly flat and very suitable for X-Country skiing, except for the climb up to Turnip Top itself. All the trails add up to about 3 miles. They are not marked and are maintained only for ski trails. At the U.S. 44 entrance there is adequate parking for 2 - 3 cars only.
BETWEEN THE LAKES ROAD
This is a town maintained gravel road, which runs between and close to Lakes Washinee and Washining, from U.S, 44 to Twin Lakes Road, a distance of about 2 miles. The junction with U.S. 44 is 3 miles East of Salisbury and the junction with Twin Lakes Road is about 1/2 miles East of the Taconic Post Office.
Since this is a former Railroad right-of-way it is also an easy walking path, about 2 miles long. The terrain consists of a variety of wild- life habitats: a swamp, a pine grove, woodland and a fair sized-pond. This diversity invites a large variety of fauna -- some 95 species of birds, 10 mammals, four reptiles and 5 amphibians have been seen there. Brochures which describe all of the above in more detail can be found in a box at the East end of Walton Street. At the time of this printing the trail ends at Pettee Street, but will shortly continue as indicated on the map.
DARK HOLLOW ROAD
This is a gravel road with little traffic, about a mile long and connecting Salmon Kill and Farnum Roads. It is dosed to traffic and not maintained during the winter. Thus it is very suitable for X-Country skiing. The road is bordered by woods on both sides and there are no houses, so it makes a pleasant easy walk for those who enjoy less demanding trails. It branches off Salmon Kill Road .3 miles from US. 44.
RACE TRACK ROAD
This town owned road connects Route 112 and Wells Hill Road. It begins .8 miles East of The Hotchkiss School and ends on Wells Hill Road 1 1/2 miles from the center of Lakeville.
It is a gravel road for 1 mile from the Route 112 end with no houses and little traffic, thus making it an easy and pleasant walk. There is a horse farm where the gravel section ends once the site of a harness racing track. Since it is plowed in winter it is not suitable for X- Country skiing.
LION'S HEAD FROM ROUTE 41
This Trailhead is 3/4 miles North of Salisbury on the West side of Route 41, There is ample space for parking. This trail is part of the 2,100 miles Appalachian Trail. From here it is 2.3 miles to the summit of Lion's Head, 5.6 miles to the top of Bear Mountain and 6.8 miles to the brook crossing at Sage's Ravine.
LIONS HEAD FROM BUNKER HILL ROAD
This is a short (about .6 miles) and moderately steep climb to this very popular lookout point. Turn West at the fountain next to the Salisbury Town Hall, follow signs, and drive about 1 mile to the end of Bunker Hill Road.
Where the paved surface ends, park along the roadside near a sign that says "HIKER PARKING". Follow the dirt road and bear left just after the cable TV satellite dishes (the drive- way to the right is private). On the way up you will join the Appalachian Trail coming in from the right. The last scramble to the top of Lion's Head (1738') is very steep, but if you follow the blue trail (which passes below the steep rock leading up to the summit) for some 100 yards beyond that rock and double back when on the ridge, a fairly level trail leads back to the spectacular lookout point. About 1/4 mile North of Lion's Head on the Appalachian Trail is a sort of alpine meadow from which there is a splendid view of Mount Grey- lock, 45 miles to the North, and the highest point (3491') in Massachusetts.
Some people have called Bald Peak (2010') the "true summit" of Mount Riga, if there is such a thing. It is only 1/4 mile from Mount Washington Road (9). This trail is on Mount Riga, Inc. land.
MOUNT RIGA ROAD / MOUNT WASHINGTON ROAD
Turn West at the fountain next to the Salisbury Town Hall and follow the signs to Mount Riga. Beyond the gate the dirt road is closed to cards during the winter, but for walking or X-Country skiing it is open the year round. After 2 1/2 miles the road levels off and you pass beautiful waterfalls on your right and shortly after that on your left remnants of a 19th century blast furnace. Soon after that you come to the South or Forge Pond, (which is privately owned). Here Mount Washington Road begins and runs to the Massachusetts State Line (3 miles).
There are no views, but side trails branch off to Bald Peak, Brace Mountain and Bear Mountain. These are marked by "HIKING TRAIL" signs. From Bald Peak (8), only about 1/4 mile, there are good views of Salisbury. The trail to Brace Mountain (24) is about 2 miles and there are spectacular views into New York and the Harlem Valley. Just beyond the Massachusetts State line, 3 miles from the lake a red blazed trail leads West down a wood road (this is private land).
From there it is about 2 miles to the South Taconic Trail North of Brace Mountain. You first cross Round Mountain, Connecticut (2296'), from which you will have a 360-degree panoramic view, and also Mount Frissell, Massachusetts (2453') (27). There you pass the highest point in Connecticut, (2380') marked by a cairn on the south shoulder. You will also pass by the point where the three states, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York meet (even though "Connecticut" was never chiseled into the stone marker).
This is part of the Appalachian Trail which winds along the bank of the Housatonic River for about one mile in Falls Village. It is more interesting because of some side trails and historic markers installed and maintained by Northeast Utilities, This area has a fascinating history of industrial development, which however never matured. It is all explained in a brochure available at the trail entrance. It begins at a parking area next to the power station On the East side of the "Iron Bridge" near Falls-Village.
This enchanting National Natural Landmark is located in Sheffield, Massachusetts on Weatogue Road just North of the state line. There are trails along the Housatonic River and others across the road from the parking area up into a high meadow with distant views. The area abounds in ferns and wildflowers and there is a small museum. Bartholomew's Cobble is owned and maintained by the Trustees of Reservations, a private land trust in Massachusetts, There is a small charge for hiking there. Maps are available in the parking area or at the adjoining Colonel Ashley House, which is a part of the property.
This attractive viewpoint overlooking the Salmon Kill valley is named after Billy Forsyth, who as a teenager in the 60s cleared this site, camped and contemplated here. It can be reached via the Appalachian Trail 3.2 miles from the trail-head on U.S. 44 or about 4 miles from the trail-head across from the dam on River Road. On the way to Prospect Mountain near Raccoon Hill there is a tall (8' to 9') bizarre rock called "Giant's Thumb" in the Appalachian Trail Guide. It can also be reached via a logging road from the turn-around at the end of Sugar Hill Road. If you use this route, take the right fork after about 1 mile (disregarding the blue blazed trail which turns off earlier to the right to Prospect Mountain) and continue Until you reach the Appalachian Trail crossing. At this point turn left.
This is on a section of the Appalachian Trail. It is about 2 miles from the dam on River Road. There are good views towards Canaan Mountain.
On the Appalachian Trail, and just beyond Prospect Mountain is this spot, which by many is considered the best view on the Appalachian Trail in the state. It is named for the family which owned the Hamlet Hill Farm for many years.
LIMESTONE SPRING TRAIL
A side trail from the Appalachian Trail passes a "lean-to" and ends (or begins) at the Sugar Hill Road turn-around.
You can see this mountain plainly when driving East on Route 112 in the direction of U.S. 7. It is now part of the Mohawk Trail. (It was formerly on the Appalachian Trail). The trail begins in Falls Village at the junction of Route 7 and Johnson Road near the Village Diner. It is a very steep climb, but it has rewarding views from "Lookout Point", just beyond the summit, which is only a little over 1/4 mile from the starting point.
Continuing beyond Barrack Mountain on the same rugged trail for about 1 1/2 miles will bring you to beautiful Dean Ravine, Another, easier, way to visit (or leave) Dean Ravine is to drive to the junction of Music Mountain Road with Cream Hill Road. From the parking area there it is only a short stroll to the ravine. From there the Mohawk Trail continues 21 more miles to its end near Cornwall Bridge.
HANG GLIDER VIEW
This outstanding view of distant hills is on the Appalachian Trail 2.4 miles South from the junction of Routes 7 and 112 near the Regional High School. It makes a good destination point or you can follow the trail for a further 10 miles and end up at Route 4 not far from Cornwall Bridge.
LOWER SAGE'S RAVINE
This is a short walk (less than one hour) in an area recently protected by the Nature Conservancy, the Salisbury Association and the DEP of the State of Connecticut, which now holds title to the area. The trail begins 4 1/2 miles North of Salisbury on Route 41, just South of the bridge over Sage's Brook at a wooden gate on the West (mountain) side of the road. Parking is limited to just one or two cars, though. Follow the blue blazes to the lower waterfalls and return to the road along the brook.
RACE BROOK FALLS
Race Brook Falls trail begins about 21/2 miles North of the Connecticut / Massachusetts state line. There is ample parking at a by-pass on the West side of the road near the trail. It is roughly 2 miles long, crossing two brooks on the way. A dead-end side-trail near the base of the lower falls provides good views of these, especially after heavy rains. However on these occasions, crossing the brooks can be treacherous.
When the Race Brook Trail reaches the Appalachian Trail, about 2 miles from Route 41, you have two choices. If you turn right, it is 7/10 miles to the summit of Mount Everett, the "Dome of the Taconics" with extensive views in every direction. If you turn left, you can ascend Mount Race in a little over one mile. For the first half mile the trail runs on exposed ledges and very dose to the edge of the escarpment, but the views are spectacular. This could be dangerous, when icy or foggy!
UNDER MOUNTAIN TRAIL
The Undermountain Trail starts 3 1/2 miles North of Salisbury on Route 41 and is 2 miles long. It is the most used access trail to the Appalachian Trail in Connecticut. There is ample parking at the trailhead.
One mile up the Undermountain Trail, Paradise Lane bears to the right. It skirts the eastern slope of Bear Mountain and after 2.1 miles it intersects the Appalachian Trail just above the descent into Sage's Ravine. In late June you should be able to see an amazing explosion of white and pink Mountain Laurel in this area.
This is the highest mountain (2316') totally within the state and affords great views. There are several ways to reach the top, two of which are described here: From the parking lot on Route 41, the Under- mountain Trail (see No. 21) climbs steadily for 2 miles to join the Appalachian Trail. A right turn (North) onto that trail heads you towards the summit of Bear Mountain on an old wood road. After 1/4 mile the Appalachian. Trail turns off to the right while the wood road goes straight ahead to meet up with the Mount Washington Road described under No. 9. Continue on the Appalachian Trail and you will, after about 3/10 of a mile, start the ascent, a bit steep at times, of the 0.6 mile to the summit. The stone tower on the top was once 36 feet high and has been rebuilt 3 times.
Bear Mountain can also be climbed by driving up Mount Riga and Mount Washington Roads from Salisbury, turning West at the fountain next to the Town Hall, 3 miles to the top and then another 2 1/2 miles to the above mentioned charcoal road where a sign says "HIKING TRAIL". 1 mile to Appalachian Trail.
UPPER SAGE'S RAVINE
The descent down the north side of Bear Mountain into Sage's Ravine is much steeper than the trail up the south side. It is one mile to Sage's Brook, which it follows for 1/2 mile to the brooking crossing into the Massachusetts section. This is a very popular camping area and an AMC caretaker is on duty during the summer months.
BEAR ROCK FALLS
Continuing on the Appalachian Trail for 1 1/2 miles beyond Sage's Ravine will take you to Bear Rock Falls, another popular camping area.
ROUND MOUNTAIN & MOUNT FRISSELL
These two mountains can hardly be separated and it is unlikely that you will climb one and not the other. The rather unimpressive summit of Mount Frissell (2453') is in Massachusetts, but there is a point on its south shoulder, which is the highest elevation in the state of Connecticut (2380'). To reach the celebrated spot, from which there are views of the Riga Plateau, drive the Mount Washington Road to the Massachusetts/Connecticut state line marker. Just beyond, a wood road closed off by a cable, leads West. Follow the red blazes.
On the way to Mount Frissell you will climb Round Mountain (with 360° views). Continuing beyond Mount Frissell you will pass the Tri-State marker, mentioned in the description of another hike (No. 9), and reach the South Taconic Trail (white blazes). This trails leads South to Brace Mountain and North to Bashbish Falls and Catamount.
From the Mount Washington Road to the South Taconic Trail it is about 2 miles.
It maybe noted that the red trail over Round and Frissell Mountains is maintained by volunteers from the New Haven (CT) Hiking Club and the South Taconic Trail is maintained by the Mid-Hudson Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club.
From Brace Mountain (2311') there are panoramic views of the Harlem Valley and the distant Catskills in New York State. It is easily reached from Salisbury by driving up the Mount Riga and Mount Washington roads to the "Jeep trail" on the West side of the road, about two miles north of the dam. It is recognizable by the parking area and a gate across the trail (actually a wood road), From here it is 1.6 miles to the junction with the South Taconic Trail (White Blazes) and k is 1/4 mile South to the cairn, which caused it, locally, to be called Monument Mountain. The Connecticut portion of this trail is on land owned by the Mount Riga Corporation.