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 160 miles of hiking options on 37 different trail combinations. All were designed to be hiked using just one car.  There are 28 Class 1 loop trails (112 miles) and 6 Class 2 loop hikes (50.6 miles). The Hike/Bike Loops provide the perfect transition to longer hikes and a great way to explore new areas of Burlington’s forests.  The mountain bike trails have very modest changes in elevation since they were designed to prevent erosion.  They are somewhat wider and smoother than many hiking trails, crossing over any wide forest roads.  The great benefit of loop hikes is that you can double your hiking experience by hiking it in the opposite direction to see what was always behind you.  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. 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

12 Class 1 Hike/Bike Loops 3-5 miles: Distance, Vertical Feet, Hiking Time

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)

Johnnycake Mountain Park

Burlington’s new Trail Crew is upgrading the painted blue dot blazes with new plastic blue rectangle blazes which are much easier to follow and will last for many years.  They have completed all the blue/orange (B/O) dot and most of the blue/yellow (B/Y) dot trail.  They are now called the blue/orange rectangle and blue/yellow rectangle trails.  They also relocated a section on the B/O & B/Y that avoids 3 steep slopes prone to erosion.  It is important to read the text for the 3.4 mile Orange Dot Loop since the 3 log flexible bridge is now a narrow 2 log flexible bridge which will be replaced.

There has been a recent timber harvest next to the Purple Dot Trail that removed a tree with a blaze showing that the trail follows a ledge route over a 15 foot cliff.  When you get close to the ledge you will see the other painted blazes.  There will be a small logging operation on the east side of Stone Road, which will have little impact on the hike and bike trails on the west side, but will close Stone Road for a short period while trees are being harvested.

The Tunxis Trail Center is now open using a new bypass.  The Tunxis Trail Center is now 7.1 miles long with 1,900 vertical.  Click this link for the bypass text: https://www.ctwoodlands.org/blue-blazed-hiking-trails/trail-notices/tunxis-trail-burlington-sawmill-rd-closure-bypass

Click here for a map of the bypass at Rock 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: https://www.ctwoodlands.org/blue-blazed-hiking-trails/blue-blazed-hiking-trails-interactive-map

Another good resource is the map to Sessions Woods: https://friendsctstateparks.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Sessions-Woods.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. 

Another good resource is the New England Mountain Bike Association website for Burlington Nassahegon Trails: https://www.nemba.org/trails/connecticut/burlington-nassahegon-trails