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North Summit, Old Oak, Teal, and Solar Youth Trails

North Summit Trail

The 0.80 mile long North Summit Trail, which is blazed in Blue-Yellow, effective May 2016, connects the Regicides Trail and Baldwin Drive to the Bishop Estate East and Darling House Trails in Woodbridge. Most of the trail is located on land owned by the Regional Water Authority (RWA), so stay on the trail to insure that this access continues into the future.
The Purple Trail now connects directly to the the North Summit Trail, which is not shown on the state maps from 2014 and earlier. See this page for complete details regarding this change:

Baldwin Drive is a paved park road that runs the length of the park. However, the road is closed to vehicle traffic (except for maintenance purposes) from the main entrance off Main Street in Hamden to its terminus at West Shepard Street in Hamden.

The DEEP map for West Rock does not show the trails in Woodbridge that connect to the North Summit Trail. Woodbridge has about 1 mile of trails within the Bishop Estate and Darling House properties. These trails are wide with secure footing and they travel over gentle terrain with good views of the West River. This map is available at The Woodbridge loop trail indicated as Blue on older maps has been changed to Red, effective May 2016; a short section is blazed Blue-Red. The map shows the Blue-Yellow Trail as changing to Blue when it crosses onto the Woodbridge property from water company land; the trail is actually blazed as Blue-Yellow until the junction of the Red-Blue loop.
A list of trails and maps in towns around West Rock is available from the South Central Regional Council of Governments at These maps have been updated effective summer 2016.

Glen Lake, a water company reservoir on Rt. 69 at Dillon Road in Woodbridge, is visible in the close up picture taken from the overlook off Baldwin Drive just north of the junction of the North Summit, Purple and Regicides Trails. The yellow trees above the reservoir are larch, a deciduous needle-bearing tree.
The North Summit Trail starts in West Rock the junction with the Regicides Trail and the Purple Trail just south of a paved overlook off Baldwin Drive about 0.3 miles north of the Purple-Orange Trail. The state cut down some trees blocking the view in fall 2015, so now the area has a winter view of Glen Lake in Woodbridge, although these black birch trees were rapidly resprouting in summer 2017.
The overlook has lots of broken glass dating from a time when the road was open to traffic. I picked up and swept up much of the glass (believe it or not) when I worked for the state in summer 2008, but there is much more to remove. As best I could, I swept a path around the edge of the traffic circle, so there is less glass as compared to the center of it. I returned in Aug. 2016 and attempted to sweep up the glass, but the pavement is too rough for easy sweeping.

The trail descends into Woodbridge, dropping from an elevation of 570 ft. at Baldwin Drive to an elevation of 140 ft. where it intersects Woodbridge's Red Trail. Part of the section connecting to the parking area near the Thomas Darling House on Rt. 69 is blazed in a dual color of Red and Blue.The Woodbridge Blue Trail is a potentially confusing color coincidence that has nothing to do with the Connecticut Forest and Park Association's 825 miles of Blue-Blazed Trails. Woodbridge uses a medium shade of blue, while CFPA uses a sky-blue color.

When heading up the Blue-Yellow blazed North Summit Trail from Woodbridge, hikers come to this tree at which point the North Summit Trail ends. Continuing straight leads to the Purple Trail and the paved overlook off Baldwin Drive. Turning right heads south on the light Blue-Blazed Regicides Trail.

The North Summit Trail has a steady descent for the first third of mile down from Baldwin Drive, then levels off for another third of a mile, and then has a final sharp descent for the last two tenths of a mile. The section near Baldwin Drive has rocky footing, but the trail shifts to a dirt surface where it levels off. 
This trail offers a good perspective on the steep terrain that comprises the ridge's western side. Toward the bottom, views of Lake Dawson can be glimpsed through the trees. Stay on the trail, otherwise the RWA will consider you to be trespassing, as they want to protect the water supply. In a couple of areas, wide woods road branch off to the right. Be sure to follow the blazes to stay on the trail.

The Blue-Yellow North Summit Trail starts at this trail junction in Woodbridge on the Bishop Estate East/Darling House Property. The Red Bishop Loop trails were blazed in this medium blue color until May 2016. The trail leading out to the Darling House from the West River Bridge retains the Blue color.

The Blue-Yellow North Summit Trail is relatively flat along the base of the ridge in Woodbridge.

The trails behind the Darling House are a popular dog walking spot with dogs often running off leash. If you have concerns about being approached by unknown dogs, keep this situation in mind as you hike.

This is the trailhead for the Darling House Trails, just north of the Thomas Darling House on Rt. 69 in Woodbridge.

Old Oak Nature Trail
There is a 0.8-mile long trail near Springside Avenue that is blazed in White with a Red Diamond, and criss-crosses the Red Trail, and the Teal Trail. This trail is maintained by Common Ground High School. The school, which welcomes visitors to its grounds, has informative signboards on its property that are well worth reading.
The Old Oak Nature Trail is blazed
in White with Red Diamonds,
and is not named on the state map.
The break is a map  error.
The trail is a through trail.
The trail has a series of numbers that corresponds to a brochure the school publishes. The brochure, which is not currently online, may be obtained from the school.
The numbers mostly correspond to locations of trees, shrubs, and rock formations. For example, 2A refers to a black oak, and 2B refers to a white oak.
The following numbers may be seen where the Old Oak Nature Trail and the Red Trail overlap: 7A indicates the Christmas fern, and 7B indicates the location of round-leaved pyrola, a native wildflower that blooms from June to August. The number 17 refers to the presence of white tailed deer and wild turkeys in the park and the number 18 refers to New Haven Arkose, a grainy purple rock.
Common Ground High School has an informative signboard on the Old Oak Nature Trail.

An old cistern may be found on the Old Oak Nature Trail.

Teal Trail and Teal-White Trail
The 1-mile long Teal Trail was blazed in spring 2012, restoring to use an existing carriage road that extends for one mile from the Red Trail (about 0.4 miles south of the main entrance) to the Westville Feeder (about 0.2 miles north of the ballfield in Westville).

The trail is mostly wide and level, but has a few steep sections with slippery footing. This trail overlaps with the Old Oak Nature Trail in two sections. Follow the blazes carefully to stay on the trail. About 0.2 miles north of Westville, there are some unmarked trails that connect out to Springside Avenue. One trail connects to the Red Trail at the base of the climb to the South Overlook. Arrows point the way in this area.

A Teal-White Trail descends down into the field in Westville, and loops around the field, connecting with the Westville Feeder at the West River pedestrian bridge.

This is the start of the Teal Trail at its junction with the Red Trail. The Teal Trail and the White-Red Diamond Old Oak Trail overlap in this area.
The Teal Trail continues straight (south) at this junction, while the Old Oak Nature Trail heads east (left) toward Common Ground High School at this junction.
The culvert with a retaining wall shows the engineering
involved with the design of the Teal Trail.
This split shows what happens when users deal with an eroded trail. The trail to the right is the original trail, but it is heavily eroded, due to the steep slope, and has footing that is slippery under the best of conditions. The blazed section to the left is almost as steep, and almost as slippery. I blocked off the right side to allow it to heal, and came back a week later to find someone had removed all the brush. At the bottom of this slope, the trail comes within 100 feet of Springside Avenue.
This section of the Teal Trail is adjacent to a short connecting trail to the Red Trail at the base of the Red Trail's climb to the South Overlook. Continuing straight from this location leads to Amrhyn Field in Westville.
The Teal-White Trail heads into the woods behind the backstop at Amrhyn Field.

Solar Youth Trail
Solar Youth, a New Haven youth organization, created a trail from the junction of Wintergreen and Brookside avenues to the Red Trail. The trail starts on Wintergreen Avenue, just past the intersection with Level St., and Brookside Ave., and connects to the Red Trail. The trail includes a bridge constructed by Solar Youth members. The trail is blazed dark blue with a yellow dot.
The Solar Youth Trail meets the Red Trail about 0.2 miles south of the main entrance.

1 comment:

  1. Know anything about the old 1933 nature trail? I have access to a copy if there is any interest! My understanding is that the OONT retraces parts of that "original" trail. In my explorations and attempts to retrace that trail, I've found several ooooold benches, broken brown culvert pipes, and double stonewall paths.. most paths have since turned into seasonal streams, and seem to completely disappear at times.