2016 Marathon Hike #5: Nells Rock Trail

SUMMARY: This is a fairly easy 1.5-mile loop trail that follows old woods roads, and is the least crowded of the trails at Shelton Lakes. *** Be sure to watch for the white blazes on this hike or you WILL miss a turn!***

PARKING: There is a big dirt parking lot on Nells Rock Road, 0.6 miles south of the junction with Shelton Ave, across the street from Chordas Pond and L'Hermitage condominiums. This is sometimes called the "Abby Wright" parking area after the former owner of the property. Approximate address is #160 Nells Rock Road. See on Google Maps.  You will know you are at the correct parking area if you see a sign kiosk on the opposite side of a split rail fence.

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 impacts a short section of Nells Rock Trail. 

BLAZE COLOR: White rectangles are painted on the trees. When there are two offset blazes on the same tree, the higher blaze indicates the direction of a turn you may miss.  If you suddenly realize you aren't seeing white blazes, turn around and go back the way you came until you see them again to pick up the trail.

TRAIL MAP: To print out a full trail map for this area, click HERE.  The hike for this challenge is highlighted in orange below.

HIKE DESCRIPTION:  We will be doing the loop clockwise.  Standing in front of the kiosk, look left to see the trail heading into the woods. After five or ten minutes you will come to an intersection of old roads. There are a lot of rock piles in this general area. It is thought a landowner in the 1800's was preparing to haul them away, possibly to be used at the Silent Waters Dam, and then abandoned the plan. Be sure to stay left with the white blazes, and the trail joins an old colonial road coming in from the left (old maps label this road part of the Old Kings Highway that crossed Shelton and there are tales of hidden treasure from a robbery). Another old road will come in from the right (blazed blue/white) and you'll go down an eroded hill. At the next intersection, you will leave the Old Kings Highway and take a right onto another old road. (If you go straight the trail is marked with white squares - this is an access trail to John Dominick Drive).

You're halfway done! The white-blazed trail follows the old road, crossing the blue-blazed Paugussett Trail and a big cliff to the right, then goes up the hill to the powerline corridor. You will be going right under the powerlines and follow the utility road a short ways to the towers at the top of a hill. Look for the white blazes on the tower, and head back into the woods on yet another old woods roads.  From here, it's a straight shot all the way back to your car, about half a mile. You will pass a trail junction with the blue-blazed Paugussett Trail we call "Four Corners." And then there be a long, high cliff off through the trees on your left known as the Indian Caves. This is an interesting place to explore, but watch your step.

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