This hike is longer but not much in elevation gain. It is moderate and if you are a beginner with endurance you will do fine. This hike boasts large ponds and much tranquility. If there is snow on the ground, we will snowshoe. If it is icy - microspikes or cramp-ons required (yak traks are not recommended as they are ideal for paved areas with ice which we won't find when hiking).
Distance: loop one = 6.4 miles; optional loop two = 1.8 miles (potential for 8.2 miles)
You may cut out after the first loop, but note that we will do the longer loop first.
We will do the Breakneck Pond Loop of 6.4 miles. If it is not snowy, the more adventuresome may continue to a second loop, Bigelow Pond Loop, of 1.8 miles.
This hike is mainly in CT but we will cross into MA while on the Breakneck Pond Trail.
84 East to exit 73 (Union/ CT 190)
CT 190 E for 2 miles
Turn right (east) CT 171 for 1.4 miles
Enter park on left
Head to Bigelow Pond Picnic Area
All hikers joining my outings will wear boots and appropriate hiking clothing (no blue jeans). For this hike, you might need snow shoes or micro-spikes. I will send out a recommendation closer to the hike.
Layers that are easy to peel off and on are especially important in colder weather. You will get very warm while we hike and quickly chill when we stop for breaks. Inappropriate wear may actually make the hike difficult for you and if you have difficulty it will impact the other hikers.
Please bring 2 bottles of water and snacks - especially items containing protein and sugars.
Well behaved dogs are welcome, but must be leashed. Cats are not welcome. Guinea Pigs in travel carriers are fine. You must bring water and a snack for your pet, whether Guinea Pig or pooch.
The Connecticut Hiking Alliance is known for its Apres-Hike events. So if you would like to be social, then plan on joining us after the hike for fun, more camaraderie, more photos, food and beverage while we relive the day's high points!
Bigelow Hollow State Park and the adjoining Nipmuck State Forest offer over 9,000 acres of recreation opportunities including miles of hiking trails and an 18-acre pond in Eastern Connecticut.
Nipmuck State Forest and Bigelow Hollow State Park in the town of Union lie within one of the largest unbroken forest areas in Eastern Connecticut. Nipmuck is the second oldest state forest in Connecticut. The first parcel was acquired in 1905. Additional lands in the towns of Stafford, Ashford, Willington, and Woodstock have been added to the forest over the years. The recreation area in Bigelow Hollow was established in 1949 by the State Park and Forest Commission.
The name "Bigelow" is a mystery since no person of that name seems to have been associated with this area. According to older residents of Union, the name is derived from "Big Low" in reference to the deep hollow in which the 18-acre pond of that name is located. The word "Mashapaug" is the Nipmuck Indian word for "Great Pond". The present lake of 300 acres was originally about half the size. In the mid-1880's, two different parties attempted to draw the water from this natural pond. One party ditched to the north and the other to the south. The latter party was forced to give up the battle when they ran into a ledge and later joined forces with their rivals to create the present lake. Two other smaller ponds, Breakneck and Griggs, lie to the north and east of Mashapaug in Nipmuck State Forest. (More PHOTOS below)...
The contrast of rock, water, and mixed deciduous/evergreen woodland provide ample beauty to the many visitors this park receives.
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