Cathles

 
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Location

The trail is adjacent to McLean Game Refuge on the north and the Town Open Space on the east and south. Enter the trail from the cul-de-sac at the end of North Saddle Ridge Drive in West Simsbury. Follow the trail through stone markers and up around a 30-foot waterfall at the end of the town property. Or continue north from the end of the Hedgehog Trail.

Distance

4 miles of trails

Terrain

Moderate to difficult. Relatively steep uphill climb from the cul-de-sac.

Features

Simsbury Land Trust’s remarkably wild and tranquil Cathles Property covers 47 acres. The land consists of a “hidden valley” running north south along a fault line. Two streams originate just above the waterfall. These streams collect water runoff from West Mountain. One stream drains south to the reservoir, the other cuts through the ridge at the waterfall and flows east and north to Bissell Brook. The southern section of the Hidden Valley Trail offers a fine view of one to the town’s most magnificent talus fields as well as charcoal pits, cart trails, and bits of barbed wire from the days when this was open pasture. The blue-blazed trail runs north-south along the eastern ridgeline. It affords beautiful views of West Simsbury and beyond. Note the stunted growth of the cedar trees and other vegetation along the ridge top, the result of marginal soil and exposure to winter wind. From the fault to the ridge the trail passes through several different habitat zones typical of traprock ridges.

Maps