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Maintained by: The Ellington Hockanum River Trails Committee (EHRC)
Parking at the beginning of the trail:
Parking for boating and the trailhead is on the west-downstream side of the recently-rebuilt Windemere Bridge. There is a "Hockanum River Hiking Trail" sign there
The trail walk:
The first part of the trail is a level path along the river, on the left, as you hike downstream, following the old railbed; with a large pond full of cattails on the right. There is bench #1, to view straight down the river, on the left close to the water, perhaps 1/8 mile down on the left from the trailhead.
There is a short side-path off to the right, just prior to the brook, leading to an open space. This is the start of a
new segment of the trail, which is not fully under development yet.
Continuing along the main path, the trail next crosses over a brook coming in from Pinney Street; and then both river and a trail segment make a sharp left turn into the Ellington Marsh. Here the trail again follows the river, into the Marsh over mounds of dirt from a river relocation and excavation many decades ago, probably from the time of the initial railroad construction in the 1800's.
Towards the end of this segment of the trail is bench #2 on a knoll, with more panoramic views of the river and marsh in all directions. The trail goes only a short distance further, and ends in marshland which is very wet and unhikable except during very dry seasons.
The main trail, however, goes straight ahead on wood chips, curves around either side of a small pond, and into the woods, the wood chipped path winding around through a forest behind the Nutmeg Industrial Park, full of Cinnamon Ferns, vernal pools and wild blueberry bushes and eventually coming out of the woods on a 16 foot bridge.
Now the path turns sharply left and follows along the cleared former Rail Right of Way for maybe 200 feet and then turns back into more woodland and a great view of a Cattail-filled pond and Sam Harrison's memorial bench #3, plus a few Canada Geese. Then there is a grassy path past two industrial buildings and back into deep forest again, ferns everywhere, a few White Pines and old Blueberry bushes here and there.
Beyond, the path turns right and up a slope, and heads toward the Indian Valley Family YMCA's stone dust loop trail. leading to the YMCA building, a multitude of facilities and parking lot at Pinney Street.
On the left is the dead-end railroad right-of-way (which eventually will connect to Vernon trails) and a bench.
The trail from Windemere Avenue trailhead to the YMCA is about one mile long. A side trail goes around the pond, with a footbridge over the brook, exiting the Pond.
For Canoeists and Kayakers, at the trailhead there is a nice, easy canoe and kayak access, for a great, leisurely trip downstream through the very tortuous Ellington Marsh, with take-out about 200 feet past Windsorville Road, on the left, in Vernon.
There are a variety of obstacles - log jams and beaver dams - actively occluding the river, and will make clear passage challenging. Ongoing Committee efforts will try to clear obstacles in an attempt to allow kayaking to Vernon.
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