is on the west bank of the west branch of the American Legion State Forest in Farmington River It’s a beautiful area, great for camping, fishing, canoeing along the river, with two short blue-blazed trails: the Barkhamsted, CT. , and the Turkey Vulture Ledge Trail. I was at Henry Buck Trail early Thursday morning, about 20 minutes away, so picked these for a quick hike. Bradley Airport
The 2.3 mile
begins across the road from the Henry Buck Trail , near the remains of a footbridge that connected American Legion with Farmington River across the river. All that’s left are two stone columns that supported the bridge. The bridge and trails were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's. The phrase 'good enough for government work' just doesn't fit here. From the work I've seen here and at Macedonia State Park, these guys were good. Peoples State Forest
The first half mile of the trail is an easy, level walk. Brooks crisscross the area, which is covered with ferns along the bank and moss on the rocks and fallen trees. The trail turns up hill along and over a stream, leading past waterfalls and stone steps.
Pass the remains of a stone foundation and cellar hole. This was the site of an old cheese box factory, making wood boxes to package and ship cheeses produced nearby. The cellar hole was really a water wheel pit. River water was directed into the pit, turning the water wheel to provide power to run the mill.
The trail crosses a wooden bridge over the river and then leads up to the cliff ledges. The trail here is built on a stone retaining wall that was part of the
CC C work in the area. Pass a stone bench and look up under the ledge for a plaque dedicating the trail to Henry Buck. Mr. Buck was vice president of the and Park Association in the later 20’s, and located and designed this trail. The ledge looks like an inviting climb, but it’s pitched toward the trail and slippery today – I stuck to the trail instead of attempting any rock-climbing maneuvers. Connecticut Forest
Past the bench, the trail leads to overlooks at Tremendous Cliffs. The name might be presumptuous, but the views are pretty good – even today when the fog is still hiding the river.
Up another steep section, you see more of the
CCC work put into the trail. The switchbacks are built from huge boulders placed to get you up and over the ledge. The trail leads back down through the forest, steep at times, then back down to the road for a short walk south along the river to the starting point. The fog has cleared so I can see across the to People’s Farmington . There are another 14 miles of trails over there, but that’s a hike for another day. State Forest
My next stop is a quick drive south on Legion Road – a woods road that leads past youth camping areas and to a small parking area for the next trail, Turkey Vulture Ledge Trail. This is a short, almost half mile, trail that leads through the forest and out onto lookouts with views to the Farmington River and to the slopes east of the river. The big birds that name the trail can usually be seen soaring up the thermals from the river and cliffs, but the skis were empty this morning. It’s still a nice place to take a break and relax looking out over the area. A quick walk back, past the landmark boulder split in two, a smaller version of the one I saw at Westwoods in
– smaller rock, smaller tree – and back to the car for the ride home. Guilford