Mountain Laurel (the CT state flower), swamp, and granite litter this quick route with awesome sites, sounds, and places to play. Try this hike in Spring when everything is in bloom.
Keep an eye out for poison ivy and ticks.
From the Lake Windwing parking area, head straight east, past the iron gate on Red Trail
. Take this doubletrack section to Windwing Connector
, a short but very steep singletrack heading north into the woods. At the top of this trail look for obvious Orange blazes, and head straight (left, but not onto Green Trail - Red Maple Swamp
) on Orange Access Trail - West
. This wide, easy lane will lead you to Yellow Trail - Pine Mountain
, take this on your right.
Climb an easy grade to the top of the Hemlock Hills ridge on this rocky and wooded singletrack. From here the trail continues east and passes some amazing rock formations and swamps as it runs in conjunction with Blue Trail
. Eventually, Yellow stays east as Blue Trail
veers away to the north. The trail then descends the ridge and intersects with Blue Connector
. Take this on your right.
After some easy contouring, Blue Connector
will eventually spit you out at a fork with Red Trail
- turn right. Follow the Red blazes as the trail bends right, contours over large granite outcrops, and then heads west. From here the trail undulates through more rocks, occasionally showing awesome views of hills to the south as it trends generally uphill. Finally, after some tight switchbacks, Red Trail
heads south and plummets towards the creek connecting Rainbow Lake to Lake Windwing.
Once the trail turns to the right (west), it becomes doubletrack and winds lazily to the shores of Lake Windwing. Continue past Orange Access Trail - West
until you reach the parking area on North Shore Drive.