Hartford, CT: Mohawk Trail

Traversing 5.4 miles up and around Coltsfoot Mountain in western Connecticut, this shuttle hike ambles through shaded forest past bubbling brooks and wildflower stashes.
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Traversing 5.4 miles up and around Coltsfoot Mountain in western Connecticut, this shuttle hike ambles through shaded forest past bubbling brooks and wildflower stashes.

After stashing a car near the eastern end of the trail, shuttle a few miles west and walk up the ominously-named Dark Entry Road for 0.6 mile where the Coltsfoot Mountain section of the Mohawk Trail disappears into the woods. The trail continues to climb at a moderate pace as it runs across, and then alongside, a small forest stream.

Leaving this cascading brook behind, the hike continues toward an overlook on Coltsfoot that peers east to Mohawk Mountain. Continue north from the overlook passing oddly-shaped boulders (perfect picnic spots) and scattered wildflower stashes. The trail descends Coltsfoot on a short stretch of steep, rocky terrain before leveling out for 0.6 mile before joining the road. With plenty of chipmunks and birds for company along the way, this trip is a Connecticut classic.

Note: This trail may be closed October 22nd through November 5th.

-Mapped by Genny Fullerton

TO TRAILHEAD: Western Trail Parking in Cornwall Bridge, CT: Travel east on Route 4 from the intersection of Route 4 and Route 7. The parking area will be on the right side of the road within a couple hundred feet.

Eastern Trail Parking in Cornwall, CT: From the intersection of Route 4 and Route 7, travel east roughly 3 miles. Turn right onto Jewell Street and immediately bear right. Jewell Street turns right and becomes Valley Road. Bear left onto Essex Hill Road. Park at Cathedral Pines on the left.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 8.8

Waypoints

MHK001

Location: 41.8185844, -73.3682861

Western Trail: After stashing a vehicle at the east end of the trail, park on the south side of the road (just east of the Route 4 and Route 7 intersection). Walk back towards Route 7, bearing left as the road forks and making a left onto Dark Entry Road. The trail's first blue blaze is about 0.6 mile up the road.

MHK002

Location: 41.8128471, -73.3652115

Leave the road and bear left into the woods. Follow the trail to the southeast.

MHK003

Location: 41.8098946, -73.3635101

Cross a small brook and head upstream. Blazes are a little spread out in this area and hard to see. Just keep the stream close by on your left. Ahead: Pass several cascades.

MHK004

Location: 41.8079567, -73.3571548

Veer left, crossing over to the other side of the stream. Leave the stream behind you as you hike northeast.

MHK005

Location: 41.8096657, -73.3564301

Cross another little stream. Here the trail levels out for a stretch.

MHK006

Location: 41.8115845, -73.3536148

Another little stream crossing. Next, follow the trail to the east.

MHK007

Location: 41.8110428, -73.3490753

Trail descends slightly. Prepare for the climb up Coltsfoot Mountain. Continue on the trail around some big boulders.

MHK008

Location: 41.8160477, -73.3459778

Coltsfoot Overlook: Check out big views to the east. Mohawk Mountain has a barely visible tower on top.

MHK009

Location: 41.8310242, -73.3409042

The descent of Coltsfoot Mountain begins gradually before heading down a steep rocky section 0.3 mile down the trail.

MHK010

Location: 41.8345528, -73.3373032

The trail swings southeast and starts down a steep section with a smattering of rock steps.

MHK011

Location: 41.8331833, -73.3356018

This is the end of the steep section. Enjoy the last little bit of hiking through the woods as the trail heads north on level terrain.

MHK012

Location: 41.8404655, -73.3342514

Cross a small bridge. Keep an eye out for herons.

MHK013

Location: 41.8417435, -73.3345642

The wetland brush opens up into what looks like someone's back yard. Head left and continue following blazes up toward the road.

MHK014

Location: 41.8424683, -73.3339386

At the road, turn right and walk 0.6-mile to the parking area at Cathedral Pines.

MHK015

Location: 41.8364105, -73.3271866

Pick up your shuttle car at the Eastern Trail parking at Cathedral Pines.

Cascading Brook

Location: 41.809433, -73.3630753

Trickle

Location: 41.8091354, -73.3620911

Boulders

Location: 41.8122063, -73.3487625

Overlook

Location: 41.8160286, -73.3459854

Looking east to Mohawk Mountain

Wildflowers

Location: 41.8285179, -73.3421936

Rock Steps

Location: 41.8342699, -73.3372164

Marsh Pool

Location: 41.8409996, -73.3343353