The Burlington section of Connecticut’s Tunxis Trail—part of the state’s 700-mile blue-blazed trail system—makes for a challenging, scenery-packed early-summer dayhike. A large stretch of the Tunxis connects with short road walks and wooded trails for a 12-mile loop. From the gate, follow the wide path to the Yellow Dot Trail, then turn left to explore Tory Den—a cave where British loyalists hid during the Revolutionary War. Return to the Tunxis and follow it left; you’ll climb and dip over “The Mile of Ledges,” a stretch of terrain that will have you squeezing through narrow clefts, rock-hopping over cascading streams, and clambering over boulders. Pass an explosion of mountain laurel, hanging gardens of moss, lichen, and ferns, and a lake with a massive beaver lodge, then take Greer Road .5 mile until the Yellow Dot Trail reappears on the left. Ascend Byra Ledge, veer right at the T-junction and left on Johnnycake Mountain Road. Go left on Old Field Road, then left again at the yellow dot blaze. Walk over a grassy hill, cross the road, and begin following the white dot blazes to a pond and swamp. Make two left turns and head south; you’ll cross Blueberry Hill Road and skirt Bristol Reservoir No. 5. Close the loop by hanging right on Buckridge Road, then left on East Church Road—from here, the trailhead is .4 mile away.
Info: Connecticut Walk Book: West (Connecticut Forest & Park Association)
Hike provided by Christopher and Catherine Brooks, authors of 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: New York City (Menasha Ridge Press).
Location: 41.7313232421875, -73.0067977905274
Bristol Reservoir No. 5