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Starting at the Vernon-Manchester town line and proceeding downstream through Manchester, there are several river hiking trails that are suitable for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on relatively flat or gentle slope trails. (There are other trails that are too steep for easy cross-country skiiing.)
Follow the Hockanum River Trail orange blazes in order to prevent injuries and to keep from becoming lost.
Oakland Trail About ¾ mile each way. EASY. Trailhead is in the parking lot of the Big Sky fitness center, 47 Hartford Turnpike, Talcottville. The trail goes downstream along the river on relatively flat, but twisting, easy woodland terrain, over numerous small footbridges, close along Interstate-84, to the Exit-63 overpass. Return is over the same route when the path becomes too narrow.
Union Pond Trail About ¾ mile each way. MODERATE. Trailhead is in the parking lot at the boat launch off North School Street around from the Robertson School. The trail goes up through hilly forest on the east side of Union Pond. Return is on the same route when the path becomes narrowed with big boulders.
Adams Mill Trail About ½ mile each way. MODERATE. Trailhead is in the parking lot at the left side of the Adams Mill Restaurant, 165 Adams Street. The trail goes over a small bridge and along the top of a dike, behind the restaurant, then bears right, then left down towards the river. It proceeds upstream through hilly forest until the dike becomes too narrow. Return is over the same route.
Hackett Trail About ¾ mile loop. EASY. Trailhead is next to the softball field just off the east side of New State Road. The path follows an easy, mostly flat course south along New State Road, in meadow and then forest, curving around to the left in a loop out to the east side of the ball field. It then proceeds along the north edge of the parking area to the starting point.
New State Road Trail About ¾ mile loop. EASY. Parking and trailhead are just off the pavement on the north side of Routes 6 & 44, in front of the orange gate, just west of Cheney Technical High School, 791 Middle Turnpike West. The path goes around the gate and up the dirt road, coming to a fork. If you turn left at the fork, the path proceeds close and twisting along the river through woodland, and comes to the straight powerline right-of-way; while if you turn right it proceeds along a straight powerline right-of-way and then bears left to make a return loop along the river route.
Laurel Marsh Trail Overall, this is a 3½ mile difficult hiking trail around the entire Laurel Marsh, but the first ¾ mile accessible trail loop is an EASY, flat one with a small slope. Parking and trailhead are on the south side of Route 6 and 44 just east of Interstate 84, Exit 60. This first short loop goes either right or left from the parking area through the woods, along Hop Brook, and then along a segment of the Hockanum River, returning back to the starting point. The longer loop goes over the big footbridge, and then on to the steeper slopes beyond.
Verplanck Trail About ½ mile each way. EASY. Parking and trailhead are at the gated entrance to Leber Field on Love Lane. A dirt road goes into the woods to the path, which turns right through mostly flat, but torturous, forest to a difficult berm and wetland boardwalks. Return over the same course.
For additional information call 860-647-5235 days, or 860-649-5678 evenings.