This hike loops around both bodies of water: the river and lake. It includes the Shoreline Trail
, and the Quinebaug River Trail
(Orange Trail). Much of the trail follows the water's edge. It does go in and out of some forest and crosses a farmed field. It is easily navigated, although it does have rocks and roots on some trails and does have some areas of steep grades.
This is especially a wonderful hike when done in the spring.
The trail begins at the boat launch area off of Reardon Rd. It starts by taking you through the disc golf course, and then up onto the dam, which provides beautiful views from either side of the dam on West Thompson Rd. The route then re-enters the trail system through the observation parking lot and heads down a dirt road leading to meadows and the shoreline of the lake.
By staying on the trail, you'll come to an area where a bridge was that connected Blain Bridge Rd. (This use to connect both sides of the Shoreline Trail
making for a shorter loop trail). Now that the bridge is gone, the area makes a pretty spot for stopping and taking a rest and bite to eat. I've been told that swan have been seen here, however, I did not see any.
Shortly after this stop, you'll connect to the Quinebaug River Trail
(Orange Trail) which will take you alongside of the Quinebaug River. This trail will cross a corn field at an angle so be sure to look across the field for the blazes. The trail will come to Red Bridge Road, follow that until you come to Cheney Rd. Markers are visible, and you can pick up the trail on the other side of the river. This will take you into the forest for a while with steep ascents.
Eventually, you'll come back close to the lake and Shoreline Trail
will lead you back to the boat launch area. I have been told that this trail is beautiful in the fall. I don't know how it is in the summer when the water level is down, but it is beautiful in the spring.
Came face to face with a white-tail deer. Marsh fauna to deciduous forest to evergreen forest and open meadow.