Mountain laurel in bloom

Mountain laurel in bloom
Mountain laurel is in bloom at West Rock, as seen on the Gold Trail.

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Westville Feeder, Sanford Feeder, and Quinnipiac Trail

Crossing the pedestrian bridge over the West River from Westville leads directly to Amrhyn Field and this view of the southwestern face of West Rock Ridge,
as seen from the Westville Feeder Trail.
Westville Feeder
The 0.7-mile long Blue-Yellow blazed Westville Feeder provides a direct link from Westville to the Regicides Trail and the top of the ridge. The Westville Feeder is a wide path with sometimes rocky footing that steadily climbs up the side of the ridge. The trail starts at the pedestrian bridge over the West River near the ballfield off Valley and Blake streets in the Westville section of New Haven. Enter from the parking lot of the Early Childhood Learning Center, 495 Blake St., New Haven, at the corner of Valley Street.
Driving directions: From Rt. 15, Exit 59, head south on Rt. 69 to the merge with Rt. 63 South and continue to Blake Street. Turn left on Blake Street, then left again at the first traffic light onto Valley Street, then right into the parking lot.
The Westville Feeder
as seen on the state map.

Trail access: After the bridge, turn left and follow the dirt path alongside the field, following the Blue-Yellow blazes. (When you cross the bridge there are Teal-White blazes on the right for the short connector trail to the Teal Trail.) After you enter the woods, there are several unmarked side paths along the way, so be sure to look for the Blue-Yellow blazes. If you go a short distance and do not see the blazes, you may have wandered off onto a side path. The first side path appears almost immediately on the left and is a short path, somewhat overgrown, that follows the West River before reconnecting to the Westville Feeder. The second side path (also on the left) is a wide trail that connects out to Valley Street. A third side path (on the right) is another wide trail and that one is blazed Teal and connects to the Red Trail.
An old, overgrown road appears to the right on top of a retaining wall and goes for a short distance before abruptly ending. If you want to eat raspberries, go to this area in late July as there are many raspberry bushes in the area. The Westville Feeder ends at the Blue-Blazed Regicides Trail. At the junction, turn left to head north to Judges Cave, or turn right to head south toward the South Overlook.


From the parking lot off Blake Street, the Westville Feeder begins at this pedestrian bridge leading to Amrhyn Field. Turn left after crossing the bridge to follow the trail to the Regicides Trail. Note the Blue-Yellow blaze on the left side of the bridge.
This blaze and these signs mark the point where the Westville Feeder enters the woods
just north of Amhryn Field in Westville.

The Westville Feeder provides this beautiful view of the West River.

As you head north on the Westville Feeder, you will come to this junction. The unmarked trail to the left goes a short distance and ends at Valley St. The Westville Feeder turns right, as indicated by the two blazes with the higher blaze pointing right.
As you head north on the Westville Feeder, you will see this retaining wall with an road heading up to the right. The road goes for a short distance, maybe 0.1 to 0.2 miles, then abruptly ends at a rock formation. Stay left to stay on the Westville Feeder.
This is the junction of the Regicides Trail and the Westville Feeder, looking south on both trails. The Blue-Blazed Regicides is on the left, heading south toward the South Overlook. The Blue-Yellow Blazed Westville Feeder is on the right, heading south toward Westville.


This is the junction of the Westville Feeder (on the right) with the Teal Trail (on the left) that loops around to the Red Trail. This view is heading south on the Westville Feeder from the Regicides Trail.
Sanford Feeder
The Sanford Feeder as seen on the state map.
The 0.6 mile long Sanford Feeder is blazed Blue-Red and follows Sanford Road, an abandoned road that connects Brooks Road in Bethany with West Shepard Ave. in Hamden. The old road IS the trail, so the width is about 15 to 20 feet. The road has a steady and sometimes rocky climb from Brooks Road up to the Regicides Trail. The Sanford Feeder crosses water company land, and intersects with a series of unmarked woods roads, so hikers need to pay attention to the blazes, so they remain on the trail. Midway up the trail, there is a level section with wetlands on both sides.  The trail and markings end at the Regicides Trail, but Sanford Road continues about 100 yards beyond this point to connect to West Shepard Ave. at the northern end of Baldwin Drive.

Parking Information and Driving Directions: There is room for parking four cars by the gate at 176 Brooks Rd., Bethany, and there is adequate parking by the gate on West Shepard Ave. and nearby streets in Hamden. To reach the Brooks Road trailhead, take Rt. 59 to Exit 59 and head north on Rt. 69 for 3.3 miles. Bear right onto Downs Road, which parallels the shore of Lake Dawson, for 1.1 miles. Just past the reservoir, bear right onto Brooks Road for 1.1 miles. The Sanford Feeder starts at a sharp bend in the road.
To reach the start off West Shepard Ave., take Rt. 15 to Exit 60 and head north on Rt. 10 in Hamden to Shepard Ave. West Shepard Ave., heads west (appropriately enough) off Shepard Ave., Just past Hill Street is the gate blocking vehicle access to the trail. Park on the road near the gate, but not blocking it. Walk up the paved road past the gate and continue straight for 0.3 miles. Continue straight at the turn onto Baldwin Drive to access Sanford Road, which is a gravel road. The Sanford Feeder is directly ahead in about 100 yards.

This is the Sanford Feeder trailhead at Brooks Road.

I have requested permission from the South Central Regional Water Authority to connect the Sanford Feeder to the Quinnipiac Trail on existing woods roads and trails. Otherwise, hikers have to walk about half a mile along Brooks Road, which has no shoulder, to make the connection. The connection is desirable because it opens up a scenic loop hike involving the Sanford Feeder, Quinnipiac, Regicides, and Red Trails.
An RWA spokesperson said the process would be involved because the land is watershed. Among the requirements would be an environmental study, costing more than $1,000. If this is ever approved, it could take years.

The Sanford Feeder Trail is blazed Blue-Red to indicate it is a connecting trail to the Regicides Trail.



The Sanford Feeder Trail twists and turns in its short length.
This blaze indicates a left turn.

The Sanford Feeder is blazed Blue-Red and is a wide woods road for its entire length.
The Sanford Feeder has one spot midway along the trail where it passes through a boggy area that used to look like this...but has been transformed as seen in the next picture.



I asked the Regional Water Authority if they could solve the water problem along the trail by installing a new culvert. The RWA went beyond my request by installing two 12-inch culverts, leaving the older one in place, and also raising the trail a bit by laying down gravel. The RWA has my profound thanks for this improvement.


The Regional Water Authority (RWA) issues firewood permits to people to cut and remove selected trees from its property. Permits look like this and will bear the name of the permittee, which this sign does not yet have. The Sanford Feeder Trail passes over RWA property. For information on permits, contact the RWA at ask.info@rwater.com.


Quinnipiac Trail

The Quinnipiac Trail as seen on the state map
of West Rock Ridge State Park.
The Quinnipiac Trail is the oldest Blue Blazed Trail, having been adopted by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association in 1929. It extends about 20 miles from Rt. 68 in Cheshire to the north, passing south through the Naugatuck State Forest, Mt. Sanford Block, through the northern reaches of West Rock Ridge State Park, en route to Sleeping Giant State Park where the trail ends on the eastern border of Sleeping Giant. The section through Quinnipiac River State Park is indicated on maps in the Connecticut Walk Book through the 2006 edition, but that section was abandoned in 2014 by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association because the area is boggy and difficult to maintain. However, the North Haven Trail Association has assumed responsibility for the trail in that area, although it is no longer called the Quinnipiac Trail. A map of this trail is available on the association's website. Click the names to access the trail association and map links respectively.
From Brooks Road in Bethany on the west to Paradise Avenue on the east, the Quinnipiac Trail is 1.8 miles long. The trail passes over 0.95 miles of West Rock Ridge State Park property in this area, as seen on the park map.
The state map is a bit out of date because the northern part of the Regicides Trail remains on park land to its junction with the Quinnipiac Trail on the shoulder of York Mountain. The mountain is elevation 680 ft.; the trail junction is slightly lower.
From this junction, the first section of the Quinnipiac Trail heads west is over privately-owned land, but getting closer to Paradise Avenue, the trail returns to state-owned land. Heading east from the Regicides Trail junction, the Quinnipiac Trail passes partially over state land and partially over water company land. Either way, the trail is fully protected down to Brooks Road.
The Quinnipiac Trail is a steep, eroded climb from Brooks Road to where it levels off near the overlooks. From the overlooks heading past the Regicides Trail junction, the Quinnipiac Trail has some moderate climbs and descents until it gets close to Paradise Avenue at which point it is sharp, rocky descent to the paper street.
On the Quinnipiac Trail heading east from York Mountain to Paradise Avenue, there are some views south over Laurel View Country Club that are partially obstructed by trees.
On the Quinnipiac Trail heading west from York Mountain to Brooks Road, there are two overlooks, one of which is just off the trail, so you have to look carefully to see this rock outcropping. The view from this overlook is an excellent one, sighting down the west side of the ridge toward Lake Watrous.
The state map does not show the overlooks to the west of the Regicides Trail, but they are indicated on the map in the Connecticut Walk Book.
A less impressive view is available on the Regicides Trail, about 200 feet south of the Quinnipiac Trail junction. This view is over a sea of trees looking west toward Woodbridge.
To make this a loop hike, walk south along Brooks Road for half a mile and return to the Regicides Trail and West Shepard Ave. via the Sanford Feeder Trail. Be careful walking along Brooks Road as the road is narrow and there is not much of a shoulder, making it difficult for drivers to see hikers around the curves.

In this view south from a rocky outcropping off the Quinnipiac Trail, New Haven and Long Island Sound glisten in the distance as they are framed by West Rock Ridge.
From the same overlook, turning south rewards hikers with a view down
West Rock Ridge, with Lake Watrous to the west in Woodbridge.

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