The Chatfield Trail runs between Route 80 and
River Road in Killingworth, just south of . The north section of the trail travels through Chatfield Hollow State Park , an undeveloped section of the Foster Pond State Park . The southern section skirts state land and wanders through some privately owned property. I couldn't find good maps on line, so here's one more good reason to go out and buy the Connecticut Walk Books. Chatfield Trail is in the East book. Cockaponset State Forest
The north trailhead, with parking for about eight cars, is ¼ mile west of the state park on Route 80. And old forest road starts you off from the parking area. There’s also a new trailhead right across the street from the Chatfield Hollow entrance – it joins up with the main trail about a ¼ mile in.
I was hiking with my son today. Once we got off the old road, the trail runs up into the hills, along a ledge and through a pine and hemlock forest overlooking Foster Pond. There are a couple of open views, but you’ll have to hike off trail toward the Pond if you want a better look.
The trail generally runs like this – wind your way up along the rocks to an outcropping or cliff, enjoy the overlook into the forest, then zigzag your way down the face of the cliff through a narrow slot and curl back around the base. And repeat.
It’s quite easy to find and stay on the trail here.
“But Dad,” the boy says, “we lost the blazes and trail a bunch of times.”
Sure, but all you have to do is stop, look around and find the nearest cliff or rock outcropping. Once you do, head for it. And then, as Gus Portokalos said, “There you go”.
|C'mon - slide on through!|
|"Indian Caves" with bouldering options all around|
Down one more rock pass, and the trail comes out onto
Champlin Road. Turn west to follow the Blue/Orange blazed alternate trail. This takes you past a huge rock slab and then along another cliff edge, through wetlands and then back to the main trail. It offers a way to turn this into a loop trail back toward Route 80, following the old road north back to the trailhead. We took the road south until it met the trail again just north of Champlin.
After crossing Champlin, the trail runs (mostly) wide and (mostly) level through the woods. It passes stone walls, crosses a stream or two, and in the spring may be marshy past the frog ponds. There’s one more cliff and cave section where the yellow trail and blue trail split. The yellow forces a little rock climbing through this slot in the rock. The blue meanders around.
|Yellow Trail through the rocks,|
Blue Trail goes around.
|"Fat Man Squeeze"|
vertical slot through the cliff
Just north of the Deer Lake Scout Reservation, the trail turns west into the woods – watch for the turn through the stone wall. The trail winds along the brook, crossing at
|The neighbor's shed - complete with rocker hiding from the main house.|
|Trout brook at the end of the day - nice way to end the hike|
Though a short hike, this trail can be a workout – up down and around the rocks, the footing can be tricky down through the slots with leaves and wet rocks making things slippery. But if you’re up for a little bouldering, it can be a great place to spend an afternoon.