2016 Marathon Hike #12: Paugussett Trail South

SUMMARY: At five miles, this is by far the longest of the hikes, although there's no need to hike it all in one day.  The hike begins at Indian Well State Park near the falls and climbs gradually up the hill to Shelton Lakes, passing by Silent Waters, Hope Lake, and Eklund Garden before arriving at the Buddington Road trailhead.  You will be crossing a good stretch of Shelton, and it's important to follow the blue blazes carefully and wear appropriate footwear. This trail will cross roadways and in one stretch follows the road for a distance. Be prepared by studying the route, bringing a map, and plenty of water.

PARKING AREAS (from north to south)
1. Indian Well State Park Falls Parking: This is the very first parking area you pass after turning onto Indian Well Road. There is a brown sign across the road for the waterfalls.  Click here to see on Google Maps.
2. Meadow Street. There is room for two cars on Meadow Street opposite Mayflower Lane in front of a gate.
3. Constitution Blvd North: There is a pulloff with a sign kiosk at the Turkey Trot trailhead, near Daryl Ellis Drive. It's a short walk to the blue trail.
4. Dog Park: Located at the corner of Nells Rock Road and Shelton Avenue. From this parking area, it's a short walk on either the Rec Path or the Dog Paw Path to the blue-blazed Paugussett Trail.
5. Eklund Garden. Located at #10 Oak Valley Road. The Paugussett Trail goes right through the garden.
6. Buddington Road:  A prominent sign kiosk marks the southern terminus of the trail under the powerlines, near #182 Buddington Road. Click here to see on Google Maps.

NOTICE: Trails under the electric towers at Shelton Lakes will be sporadically closed between July 20 and August 26 as crews work on the towers. Closures are most likely Monday - Friday 7 am to 5 pm, but could occur at other times if there are weather delays. This will impact several sections of the Paugussett Trail. 

BLAZE COLOR: Blue! Because this is one of Connecticut's official "Blue-Blazed Trails", of which there are over 825 miles. This exact shade of sky blue is used on major trails like the Quinnipiac, Mattabesett, and Metacomet Trails.

MAP: Download a map of the Shelton Paugussett HERE.

DESCRIPTION: We will be starting at Indian Well and heading southbound to Buddington Road. You could also do this in reverse, which will have you walking downhill more than uphill :).

From the parking area on Indian Well Road for the falls, cross a grassy field marked with blue blazes at the top of 4x4 posts, and continue into the trees up a gradual hill along an old paved road, then up the stairs to see Indian Well Road on your right. Follow the road to the junction with Route 110, then carefully cross the highway at the blue oval "Paugussett Trail" sign and head into the trees. The trail quickly goes left and gradually climbs the long hill, passing an old stone foundation. Follow the blazes closely past the back of Sinsabaugh Heights (elderly housing owned by the City), then the trail comes out onto Mayflower Lane, a cul-de-sac.

You now need to walk on the road, bearing right on Mayflower Lane at the split, all the way to Meadow Street. Cross the street,walk around the gate, and cross the first meadow. Keep an eye out for 4x4 posts with blazes. Meadow crossings can become overgrown rapidly in June, just push through the grass if it gets too tall. The trail heads into the woods for a short ways, which can be wet after heavy rains, then comes out onto the second meadow. The trail hugs the right side of the meadow, turns left at the end to continue along the edge of the meadow, then passes through a stone wall to follow a utility access road all the way to Constitution Blvd North. CL&P recently dumped a whole lot of big stone on this road.

At Constitution Blvd, cross the street to find more blazes and you are now generally following the powerline corridor. Quickly come to Wellington Court, and watch for the blazes to go left a bit at this road crossing. Back along the powerlines and then the trail takes a right turn into the trees for a time until it reaches Independence Drive.

Cross the street and follow the utility road up the hill. Blazes will be on rocks, posts, whatever can be blazed. As you go up the hill watch for a sharp left turn into the woods. The trail then joins up with white-blazed Turkey Trot Trail and then the Rec Path, and all three trail share the same tread as they cross the Silent Waters dam.

After the dam, the blue blazes will split from the other two trails to cross Shelton Avenue at the blue oval "Paugussett Trail" sign near the Dog Park. Cross the Dog Path Path and the Rec Path to follow the shoreline of Hope Lake. At the end of the lake, be sure to go sharply left with the blue blazes across a bridge, and you are now sharing the path with Oak Valley Trail (blazed white). The blue blazes will turn sharply right to leave the lake, cross Oak Valley Road, then walk through Eklund Garden.

After the garden, go up hill gradually, down to a swamp and a small foot bridge, then on to a major intersection with Nells Rock Trail (blazed white) at a place we call "Four Corners." Go straight across the intersection and continue on an old road. Watch for the blue blazes to leave the old road on the right, and head gradually up to the top of a cliff face where you look down on Nells Rock Trail. The trail goes left to follow the top of the cliff, then right to descend steeply down to Nells Rock Trail. Go left on the white blazed trail shortly then right to continue on blue. Come out to the powerlines once again briefly then head back into the woods, cross a wet area, then you're back to the powerlines, which you will now cross. The trail head into thick mountain laurel with a few ups and downs, finally coming to a boardwalk and Buddington Road.

Our goal is to extend these blue blazes to the Stratford border at Far Mill River Park.

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