Shenipsit Epilogue

5 Section Hikes, 4 Regional Hikes
Began: 11/24/2007 (Case Mountain Trails)
Finished: 5/16/2010

vfviewI have no idea how long the Shenipsit really is. Everything I read says it’s 41 miles long. But that’s without the 6 or so “new” miles in Tolland and Vernon (my section 4) and some Bolton/Manchester road walking I think they skip, not to mention the nearly 27 miles of Shenipsit regional trails in Gay City, Risley Pond, Case Mountain, Belding Wildlife Management Area and Valley Falls Park. Heck, throw in the trail up to Squaw Cave in Bolton and we’re talking somewhere around 70 Shenipsit miles all-told. I walked every mile over three seasons. I can’t imagine too many more than 20 people have done that.

I’m hardly bragging… These are not difficult miles at all. In fact, perhaps the most difficult aspect of the Shenipsit is avoiding run-ins with suburban housewives letting their dogs out into their backyards. Or running across Route 2, a four lane highway. Or holding a conversation while traipsing mere feet from Interstate 84 in Vernon.

Despite the last paragraph, I really enjoyed the Shenipsit. It’s weird in spots, but it’s a survivor. And that’s why I love it. There a section south of Gay City in Glastonbury where the Shenipsit bobs and weaves through neighborhoods, skirting backyards and venturing down pristine new streets. This occurs again north of Case Mountain up in Manchester. And yet, some of the treks between those odd stretches are beautiful and feel very remote.


The Shenipsit gets no respect. Its southern terminus is on some dirt road in East Hampton and its northern end is similarly located along a remote dirt forest road in Stafford. There are no signs at either end. It doesn’t get mentioned when talking about Connecticut’s “big trails” ever. It’s probably more endangered than I realize and I really hope it survives forever.

s2sUnlike many of the other better-known longer trails in the state, I couldn’t really find much online about the Shenipsit. You’d think, in a way, it would be more popular since it does link so many towns and populations. I often think of all the little kids who wander the woods near their homes in, say, Somers and come across the blue blazes of the Shenipsit. If I were a 10 year old kid and someone told me I could follow those blue blazes down nearly to Portland, I’d be fascinated. I’d beg my dad to walk all the way to Portland with me and he’d grumble about crossing 84 and 384 and route 2 and this and that and that would only pique my interest more.

I swear, this trail is like your old, good friend who no one likes for all the wrong reasons. I’m going to become the Shenipsit’s number one fan. Who’s with me?

8 responses to “Shenipsit Epilogue”

  1. Morrow says:

    You should update your ‘Hikes’ page ( to move the Shenipsit to your completed long distance hikes list…. You deserve it.


  2. Ron says:

    Glad to see the Shenip’ get some love. I live in Vernon and it is frequent, close by Trail run for me. Especially the Commuter Lot – Bolton Notch section (I use part of Valley Falls loop to bypass some of the Rails-To_trails section). I agree with your hopes that it survives. I’ve always wished they completed the “missing” section and now I’ll have to check out how you did that section.

    As for the Tunixs, I’ve run the Satan’s Kingdom – MA line sections a couple times and you will really like those. Can’t wait to read what you think of them.

  3. Ron says:

    Oh, wanted to add, that there is now more miles north of the now old northern terminus. Apparently it was just added this past week.

    See here

    After running out of blazes up in Stafford, I met and asked a local resident who indicated they just blazed those this past week. It abuts another block of Shenipsit, but I didn’t see any blazes/flagging tape indicating which way they intend to continue, but I’m sure even more trail is imminent. (but the current ‘last blaze’ has room for parking.

  4. Dave says:

    If your guess about 20 people is correct, you can now make it 21. and yes i did the majority of trails in valley falls park, except that inner loop (i didnt think id be missing much) Rock On CTMQ

  5. Dave says:

    o and that includes the new section of trail that goes up to Greaves Rd. so maybe I’m #1. had to add that

  6. Steve says:

    Congrats Dave. I have thought about going up there one of these days just to pick up that last mile or whatever but I’ll wait until more miles are (may be?) added towards the MA line. (Historically, it used to end on Rattlesnake Mountain NW of Rocky Dundee Road I think, so maybe that’s the plan again?)

    The Shenipsit north of Bolton is so mysterious! Just the other day another reader noted that there is new trail that helps to avoid the 44/6 mess in Bolton/Manchester.

  7. Kyle says:

    Has anyone thru hiked the shenip? I kno camping is “frowned” upon aka not legal but i’ve been considering going from north to south than back. anyone try it? also anyone have info or maps on the “historic shenipsit trail” supposedly went well into mass and possibly further south?

  8. Steve says:

    A group of guys have done the whole thing in a day if that counts.

    “Not legal” means not legal. Thru-hiking this trail seems like a very odd choice, but to each their own. I can’t imagine where you’d set up camp – Not at Gay City and definitely not at Case Mountain. Maybe off the trail in Vernon at the top of that cliff in the town park up on that soccer field. Not that I condone anything like that.

    Not sure about the “old” southern terminus, but yes, I’ve seen that it used to go north to Rattlesnake Mountain (I think?) which I think is just N of the MA border. If you poke around, follow CTMQ on Facebook, you’ll see that the N-end keeps getting more and more north.

    Which is actually a bit of a mystery to those of us who obsess about such things.

Leave a Comment

The Out Campaign: Scarlet Letter of Atheism