Friday, May 8, 2020

New Beach Cutoff Trail at Indian Well

Emma Gallagher spent hours digging in the trail
New trail! By popular demand, and rushed to completion in response to the recent Covid Crowds visiting Indian Well State Park, we bring to you the Beach Cutoff Trail. It's only 0.3 miles long, and is pretty easy, especially for a trail at Indian Well. But it will be MUCH easier to walk between the falls and beach areas now. Most of the trail is pretty level.

The new trail is blazed blue/red
The new trail allows for a 1.4-mile loop that includes the Housatonic scenic overlook and the Falls (mileage includes the spurs to those features). Because everyone wants a loop!

Most of the trail had to be dug into the hill
About 0.2 mile of the trail had to be dug into the side of the hill, and the Gallagher Family got it done within a week. Most of the trail is pretty level, except for one long descent of maybe 90 feet down to the parking area. It's moderately steep, but not as steep as the White Trail (where the steps are).

Blazes are blue/red
The trail is marked with blazes that are blue on top and red on the bottom.

Following the contours
Digging the trail into the side of the hill allowed for an easy grade to be maintained part way up the hill. Once the trail gets up to a certain elevation from the parking area, it stays there. Much of the trail is close enough to the road so that you can see the guardrail through the trees, but you're not right next to the road. This may provide comfort to people who aren't very confident about their navigational skills.

Two trails coaligned through the pass
There is one spot where the new Beach Cutoff Trail merges with the Paugussett Trail for about 100 feet. The terrain was responsible for this. A rocky cliff rises above the trail here (the overlook is near the top of it), and more steep rock is down below. Both trails needed to squeeze through a pass.

Diverging trails
Be sure to pay attention to the blaze colors now. In the photo above, the Paugussett Trail goes right and the Beach Cutoff Trail goes left. Remember when there are two offset blazes of the same color, that trail is turning in the direction of the upper blaze.

Up above the Indian Hole Bridge
The blue-blazed Paugussett Trail remains the more scenic route, but the faster and easier Beach Cutoff Trail does have its own scenic value. You're closer to the river and the beach facilities, so there will be seasonal views of Indian Hole Bridge, the boat launch, and the river through trees. There's more a feeling of being in a state park. The sounds of children on the beach and boats in the river are louder, and the smell of barbecue in the air.

North end of the new trail at the off-season beach lot

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