Mattabassett Trail, Middletown

Directions:  Several places to get onto the trail:Route 66 about 400 yards west of Guida's restaurant has off-highway parking; from there you can take the trail north across Mount Higby for about four miles before doubling back and perhaps running side trails on the eastern slope of the mountain; or you can take the trail south across the top of Beseck Mountain, past the Powder Ridge ski slope about 5.5 miles to Route 68 in Durham.  There is parking on Route 68 at the intersection of Route 157 and the trail heads south from there aross more mountains and ridges before crossing into Guilford and then looping back up through Durham again. You can pick up the trail off Higganum Road in Durham and take it past and through Millers Pond State Park and into south Middletown.  All told it's well over 30 miles, most of it single track - some on roads - and pretty rocky in spots. Additional parking at Millers Pond.  I've run most of this route and never tire of it.  It has tough hills, some smooth spots, a number of stream crossings, and incredible views, especially from the cliffs on Mount Higby and Beseck.

Trail Information: As above: mostly single track, often rocky, and sometimes the rock is loose and wobbly; made for hikers or non-timid runners, most of it through hardwood forest, can be stunning in fall when the leaves turn, a real challenge in spring when wet ground and full streams can make portions very muddy.

Miscellaneous Information:  This is one of Connecticut's "Blue Blazed" trails, a network of of 20 or so trails covering about 700 miles that run throughout the state. The Connecticut Forest and Parks Association in Middlefield even has a book giving a yard-by-yard description of them.

Bill Earls