I needed a quick trail hit this afternoon as we were gifted a half-day of school by our district and it was 60 degrees outside. In March. I didn't want to drive too far so we finally checked the loop hike at Stony Brooke Park in Suffield, CT off of our to-hike list.
This was a quick, easy jaunt -- perfect for when you need to get in the woods but are short on time, energy or initiative (or convincing other family members that the woods would do them good too). It's an approximately 1.5 mile loop trail of easy, rolling terrain. The park itself is easy to find, there's plenty of paved parking, and a small picnic pavilion at the trail head.
It's important to note that Stony Brooke Park has two entrances, and this hike detailed here is found at the Remington Street entrance. There is no access to cross the brook so if you want to hike the other side of the park you'll need to drive around to the Mountain Road entrance.
While parts of the trail are obvious -- just follow the wide, open path -- in some spots it can be easy to lose the trail. Although to be fair we were hiking in March where everything looks the same -- dead and brown. But as a default, just follow the brook and you'll eventually get back on the trail.
Some sites that keep the hike interesting: there is a lovely set of rapids, an old, abandoned trail trestle and you'll even find scattered pieces of an old (really old) car along the trail. There is also an abandoned camp site about 2/3 of the way into the trail -- like a broken down tent, old garbage, clothes and gross old mattress abandoned camp site. Tell the kids to steer clear.
Don't make my mistake: we decided we could hike in our street shoes. DUH. It's March. The mud on this trail reminded me of the mud run obstacle courses we do every summer. I thought for sure we were going to lose our shoes. Our Chucks and Vans are currently in the washing machine. Don't be dumb like me. Wear your hikers or your oldest sneakers -- ones that you don't care about tossing. Younger hikers should wear wellies.
But TBH, I wouldn't recommend this trail for the littlest hikers. The brush surrounding the trail is very, very thorny and brambly. Our clothes got caught many, many times. Jean or thick pants are a must. I wouldn't recommend shorts or leggings on this trail, ever. (I've also read these woods are a poison ivy hotbed in season, so dress accordingly). I would be concerned about bringing anyone under age 7 here for fear that their faces or eyes could get scratched by the thorny branches. This trail is not stroller friendly. I'm not even sure I would bring a little one in a backpack for concern that their legs could get scratched.
If deep woods creep you out, this hike is a good fit because you're surrounded by neighborhoods and farms the whole way. We consistently heard traffic or farm equipment throughout the entire trail so you never feel far from civilization.
It took us just about an hour to complete the loop while hiking at a steady pace. Although this hike is a fun escape off season, we'll definitely return on a summer day when we can cool our tootsies in the stream. You can definitely make this a longer experience than just a quick loop hike.
If you'd like to check it out, set the GPS for Stony Brooke Park, Remington Street, Suffield, CT. We'll see you on the trail!