Hiking and Walking Trails

Hiking & Walking in Burlington

The Burlington Parks and Recreation Department would like to express our deepest thanks and appreciation to Alan Perrie who spent a tremendous amount of time developing the information for these trails, which will tremendously benefit the residents of Burlington.

Burlington is a great town to connect with the outdoor, because it has something for everyone.  Its 6.1 miles of paved walking trails have Connecticut’s best views per mile. As a hiking town, it is in a class by itself. It has over 110 miles of hiking options on 25 different trail combinations. All were designed to be hiked using just one car.  There are 16 Class 1 loop trails (60.6 miles) and 6 Class 2 loop hikes (50.6 miles). There is the Class 1 Tunxis Mainline Trail (24.2 miles) that can be shortened by using 2 cars.  A short summary of hikes are listed below. Each group is listed with increasing difficulty, based on distance and elevation change. Clicking on the hike title gives a satellite map, trail and parking directions. It is important to print out the one page information link and bring it with you on the hike, or have it on your cell phone. All trails were mapped in October - December 2015 which was a dry period, so stream crossings were not an issue. There are 2 major hike categories: Class 1 = hiking, but no climbing where hands need to be used. Class 2 = hiking and some climbing which requires the use of hands & careful foot placement.  Distance is the one way total in miles.  Vertical feet is the total up and downhill.  Hiking time is estimated without breaks.

8 Class 1 Walks & Hikes for All Ages <3.2 miles: Distance, Vertical Feet, Time, Views

9 Class 1 Loop Hikes >3.4 miles: Distance, Vertical Feet, Hiking Time, Views

6 Class 2 Loop Hikes (If you are new to Class 2 hiking, do the first three in order)

3 Class 1 "Out and Back" Tunxis Trail Hikes (a 2 car shuttle option reduces the miles by half)

Burlington trails provides much adventure, the most recent being a timber harvest that closed a portion of 9 trails. The harvest has been completed, but a mile section of the Blue & Yellow Dot Trail (B/Y) between the Purple Dot Trail (B/P) junction and Punch Brook Road needs re-blazing.  This section is found near the end of 4 Burlington hikes.  Unless you are extremely familiar with this section, it would be prudent to wait a while.  Be sure to bring a copy of the trail map and text since they describe where to find all trail junctions.

The Tunxis Trail Center can no longer be completed as a single hike.  It now has to be done as a two “out and back hikes”: a 2.0 mile hike north from Old Field Road and a 4.5 mile hike south from Covey Road.

There are many unmarked trail crossings, so be sure to look for the blue blazes. It is easy to follow a “well beaten path”, but it might not be the trail. A single blue blaze means continue straight. If the next blaze cannot be seen, look behind you because there may be one on the back side of a tree, which means you are still on the trail. If you don’t see any blaze after a minute of hiking, you should backtrack to your last blaze to be sure you didn’t miss a turn. A double blaze means a turn is very close. When the upper blaze shifts to the left, turn left. When it shifts to right, turn right. All the blazes are much easier to see when the leaves are off the trees. The only exception to the blue blazes is on on properties managed by the Burlington Land Trust, which use a solid red blaze and also a solid orange blaze. Not all streams have bridges.  If the water appears too high for a safe crossing, come back another day.

Cumulative mileage to key features or trail junctions is found on the trail descriptions.  To estimate distance, if you don't have a GPS, figure hiking speed to be 2 mph (a half mile every 15 minutes).  Use your watch to estimate the time to the next trail junction.  Be sure to tell someone your hiking plans and an estimated time of completion, which is found on the information link.  A cell phone and a compass is important to carry. (Many cell phones have a compass).  A daypack can be helpful to carry extra layers, rain gear, water, snacks, flashlight, cell phone, and trail directions.

Good trail etiquette preserves a positive experience for everyone in the future.  Please carry out everything you bring in.  Don't pick vegetation, disturb wildlife, or light camp fires during your hike.  Stay on the established trails because short cuts create erosion problems.  If you carry out other people's trash, you can earn bonus Karma points. 

Parking for each hike is given by street location, plus latitude and longitude.  Try the following example for Sessions Woods using www.google.com/maps paste 41°43'57.8"N 72°57'19.4"W into the search box instead of an address, then zoom in using the satellite view.  The location is the kiosk in their parking lot. 

A very good resource is the Connecticut Walk Book, West 2006.  The introduction should be read if you are new to hiking the Blue Trail System.  It also has information on all the other Blue Trails in Connecticut west of the Connecticut River.  The Burlington section was recently changed to and is now available online: http://www.ctwoodlands.org/sites/default/files//TunxisHikingMap-Burlington_0.pdf

Another good resource is the map to Sessions Woods: http://www.fosw.org/publications/SWTRAIL.PDF  If you visit Sessions Woods mid week, you must visit the nature displays in the main building.  Sessions Woods combines education and recreation into a complete package. 

To expand your hiking options to all of Connecticut, use the Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails Interactive Map: http://www.ctwoodlands.org/blue-blazed-hiking-trails-interactive-map