2016 Marathon Hike #4: Bluff Walk

SUMMARY: This trail runs along the river bluff at Riverview Park, Shelton's very first park. It's more urban than our other trails and you will be walking near basketball hoops and ballfields for part of the journey, but there are still plenty of trees. It begins behind the playground, passes a scenic overlook of the Derby-Shelton dam, and ends at Fort Hill, where a plaque commemorates the First People of Pootatuck. This can be made into a loop by walking back across lawn and park drive, adding historic features such as the Shelton History Plaque and War Memorial.

PARKING:  The Riverview playground is across the street from #858 Howe Avenue, near the junction of Howe and Wheeler Street. See Google Map.  NOTE: A few years ago the playground was expanded to the north, so you need to walk around to the rear of the playground to find the trailhead.

TRAIL CONDITIONS: The sections behind the two ballfields become overgrown pretty quickly, but were all cleared on June 22. Note there is a lot of poison ivy cut behind the large ballfield, which we intent to hit with Round-Up after it starts growing back. 

BLAZE COLOR: White rectangles painted on trees or other objects.

TRAIL MAP: Click HERE for a printable trail map (pdf).

DESCRIPTION: Find the trailhead behind the playground, blazed white. It will go down the riverbank a few feet then head south along riverbank. This part of the trail is very old, perhaps from the 1800s or maybe a CCC project from the Great Depression, no one seems to know. You will cross a bridge and the trail will split: Take either option as they rejoin quickly. The trail will come up to the park drive, and you want to keep following the white blazes along drive until it  goes back down into the trees and then back up to the drive at the Derby-Shelton Dam overlook.

At the overlook you have the Boy With Fish statue, refurbished not too long ago. The gate house down along the dam is sadly collapsing. It's located exactly where a fish ladder is supposed to be built, so there is no incentive to repair it.

Keep following those white blazes, along the park drive then back down into the trees and back up again to arrive at the basketball court. Walk across the pavement towards the back of the first ballfield. This part can get overgrown pretty quickly in early summer, but we hope to keep it clear for the Challenge (let us know if it's getting out of hand). Walk behind the ballfield fence, then behind the refurbished War Memorial Building, then come to the second ballfield. There's a plaque for Shelton's Constitution Oak here in the corner of the ballfield, but the oak died a few years ago and was cut down. Follow the blazes behind the ballfield and down into the woods again until you come to a point of land overlooking the river on one side and the Boys and Girls Club on the other side. There is a rock engraved in memory of Fort Hill, last stand of the Pootatuck Indians in Shelton.  This is the end of the trail.

Return loop: You may wish to make a loop back to your car by walking around the front side of the ballfields and War Memorial building. Before you reach the building, look up along the Howe Avenue sidewalk to find Shelton's History Marker. Each town in Connecticut has one.  Then proceed to the War Memorial Building, which was completely refurbished a few years back, with a statue out in front. Continue on in front of the next ballfield, and then rejoin the basketball court and park drive, which will take you back to your car.

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