“Hey Rob, wanna join me in completing Connecticut’s longest trail? All you have to do – besides hike it – is pose in a few pictures and take a few more.”
“Sure, that sounds great!”
And that was that. We actually planned to do it wholly in winter in whatever harsh conditions presented themselves. As it turned out, this winter gave us decent snow but it always seemed to be on Mondays or Tuesdays, meaning by the time Sunday rolled around, the snow was too limited or now just muddy ice. Life also seemed to get in the way, so our complete hike will take much longer than a
season year. Or four.
I should also note that because Rob’s family and mine doubled in size after we began this hike, he was unable to complete it with me. But he’s still a great guy.
Which is fine with both of us. The funny thing about the Tunxis is that it’s hardly just “a trail.” It’s actually another one of these vexing “trail networks” but what makes the Tunxis unique is, they don’t tell you that up front. It’s an odd thing, this Tunxis. Broken up into four sections, there is the straightforward Mainline Trail which travels north-south from the Massachusetts border in Hartland to Southington (near the Bristol border),
with a few gaps along the way. (One gap, in Burlington, was closed in 2014)
The truly funky thing is that in the southern 3 sections (Southington and Burlington), there are 17 other trails that are also called “the Tunxis Trail” even though they often have other names – and just as often don’t. And it is these other trails that add up to the 79 miles of what then can be called the longest trail in Connecticut.
Got all that? It is rather convoluted but I’ll sort it out. There are a lot of cool things along the way – Tory’s Den, a couple nature centers, a trout hatchery, a sugaring shack, some nice waterfalls, the Indian Council Caves, the steepest mile of blue-blazed trail in the state (I doubt that claim), great views, a ski resort as well as things called Devil’s Kitchen and Satan’s Kingdom.
Once again, CTMQ will serve as the only true guide with too many words and pictures (admittedly terrible) in existence. Enjoy!
Section 1: ATV’s = Absolutely Toxic Vehicles, Southington/Wolcott
Section 2: Fire, Walk With Me, Plymouth/Burlington
Section 3: Itinerant Itinerary, Burlington
Section 4: Jeepers & VA Creepers, Burlington/New Hartford
Section 5: Hike Sundown, New Hartford/Barkhamsted,
Section 6: Getting Into the Hartland, Barkhamsted/Hartland
Tunxis Trail Postscript
Ski Sundown in New Hartford