Hiking Trails along the Hockanum River
in Manchester, Connecticut
Total length of the trail system = 15 miles.
Look for roadside "Hockanum River Hiking Trail" green and white sign at trail entrances, and follow the orange blazes on the trees along the trails.
SAFETY ON HOCKANUM RIVER HIKING TRAILS
See also Hockanum River Watershed Association website
No motorized vehicles or bicycles are permitted on any of these Hiking Trails.
Oakland Trail (2.0 mile loop) Park on far right side at Kohl’s, 155 Tolland Turnpike. "Trail" sign marks trailhead, go down 8 steps to right, across bridge, follow trail upstream to Motel 6 Bridge, turn left over bridge and left after bridge, follow trail downstream 1 mile along river, under 2 highway bridges, turn left across the river on the new footbridge, turn right down slope to the river, and right again under the footbridge, upstream behind Lynch, Morande & Kohl’s to start. Easy walk along river in green belt close to I-84, river views, water birds, occasional deer. Also behind Kohl’s, down 4 steps, is longer bridge to Bryan Island (named in memory of the Bryan family that farmed here for many generations) and a 3/4 mile easy loop trail.
||Union Pond Trail (2.46 mile loop) Park at Robertson School, 45 North School Street. Walk down street to east side of pond, follow winding hilly trail upstream, cross river on new Footbridge, turn left, down steps, through mill property, through Northwest Park pines, up granite steps, go left downstream along pond, out to Union Place, left on Union Street, left on Kerry Street, right on North Street, left on Golway, and left on North School Street, back to the parking lot.
Scenic hilly walk along pond, mostly woodland, mildly difficult in a few spots, many water birds, wild flowers, dogwood, fall foliage, historic paper mill.
Pitkin Trail (0.8 mile, non-loop, each way is 0.4 mile) Park at Union Pond dam, east side of Union Street, cross street, enter trail next to fire hydrant, follow path down steps into woods, down hill into dense secluded woodland valley, take winding hilly path with great river views downstream, note old stonewalls and bricks from site of former Pitkin Cotton Mill. Trail ends temporarily behind Multifood store. Eventually will come out onto North Main Street. Moderate walk, hilly, tortuous, very tranquil, great fishing, historic ruins, 2 footbridges.
Adams Mill Trail (1.93 mile loop) Park at restaurant, 165 Adams Street. Trail starts to left of restaurant, follow along dike to river, up river to railroad trestle, across trestle, go along tracks for 200 feet, go down steps and downstream on Eighth Utilities property, along river section on very narrow ledge to Adams Street, along sidewalk to parking lot. Difficult walk, steep hills, narrow ledges, beautiful deep hemlock and pine forest, scenic sandstone gorge, need boots and walking stick, view old mill and dam.
New State Road Trail (2.8 mile loop) Park at brick building, 275 New State Road. Go north to and follow dirt road past three town wells, bearing left, then along river trail downstream, over 4 footbridges to Middle Turnpike West, cross road bridge over river (do NOT cross street), going east, then enter wide grassy path, going north, then bear left at fork onto path along river bank, heading upstream, follow path along steep bank behind East Catholic High School, then trail along river to New State Road, finally north on road to starting point. Moderate walk, a few hills, spectacular ferns, hemlock gorge, great river views.
Laurel Marsh Trail (3.52 mile loop) Park at Laurel Marsh lot on south side of Middle Turnpike West (Route 44) just east of I-84, Exit 60, follow trail to right toward river, cross bridge over river, along boardwalk, turn left on trail along marsh near I-84, up along hillside, downstream under three I-84 bridges, up onto paved bikeway, cross river on third highway bridge, under three bridges upstream, leave bikeway and take trail upstream through woods, along I-384 path, then left into woods over two long boardwalks, upstream along river, up brook path, left across brook on road toward sewer plant, left downstream along Hop Brook, around stonedust loop path either way to starting point. Long, mostly easy walk, many wet areas, a few hills, great marsh views, water birds, mature forest, giant white pines, beautiful mountain laurel, need boots. Short stonedust loop -- 0.75 miles within longer loop.
Hackett Trail (0.75 mile loop) Park in gravel lot east side of New State Rd., close to softball field entrance. Trail goes south and turns east in meadow and forest curving around to the left along Adams Street and around softball field parking lot to start. Flat, easy walk, river views, old tobacco field, converted into softball field.
Verplanck Trail ( 1.6 miles; 0.8 miles one way) Park at Laurel Marsh Lot, take path to left, winding through woods and then sharp left path at sign "To Olcott Street", cross wetland on multiple floating boardwalks, over berm, through forest, past outdoor classroom, across dirt ballfield road, and out to corner of Olcott St. and Love Lane. Optional added path is across Olcott St. and through meadow to right of Empire Industries and cell tower, into woods up along side of Hop Brook, follow path around to left and up steps to rear of Verplanck School. Or, take steps down and across brook in rear, and up to Arbors Property.
Hilliard Trail a new, short hiking path through the woods along the river on Hilliard St. Parking is in parklet at the northeast corner of Hilliard and New State Rd. There is a bench with a good view of the river, easy access for fishing and launching a kayak. The trail follows the river upstream to Bigelow Brook and out to Hilliard St. Bigelow Brook flows under Hilliard St.
The Hockanum River Linear Committee is a subcommittee of the Town of Manchester Conservation Commission. This subcommittee (HRLPC) has been in existence since 1970 and has been working to clear and maintain trails for hikers along the river in Manchester since that early date. The group is made up of volunteers dedicated to the scenic beauty, environmental clean-up efforts, and general preservation of the natural open space green belt along the river. All interested members of the community are urged to join and help at any convenient times with our ongoing dedication to the Hockanum.
The Hockanum River Linear Committee gratefully acknowledges Blake's Tree Service for the donation of woodchips, used to improve trail surfaces.
For more information about hikes or participation in our committee, please call 647-5235 at the Town Hall during the day, and 649-5678 evenings and weekends. Thanks for your interest.