From Iconic Bridge to Woodland Retreat, Salmon River Forest Has - WFSB 3 Connecticut

The Trail Mix

From Iconic Bridge to Woodland Retreat, Salmon River Forest Has It All

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Comstock Bridge at Salmon River State Park Comstock Bridge at Salmon River State Park
Salmon River off the blue trail Salmon River off the blue trail
Salmon River from hilltop clearing Salmon River from hilltop clearing
COLCHESTER, CT (WFSB) -

Since childhood, my love of the outdoors has always been a part of me. And as an adult, I hope to share that passion with my own children.

So, I offered this challenge to my family, to join me in exploring the hidden treasures and more popular gems Connecticut and the surrounding region have to offer. From hiking to biking to kayaking, I hope my window into the outside world inspires you to explore as well.   

SALMON RIVER STATE FOREST

Colchester

A river runs through it.  That’s all I can picture when I think of the Salmon River State Forest.  Its 6,000 acres of pristine forest touches five Connecticut towns.  But, its waterway – the Salmon River – and its iconic covered bridge, is what draws all the attention.

And the Comstock Bridge is where my journey begins. 

The bridge – located in East Hampton - is one of the last-remaining covered bridges in the state and has been renovated time and time again.  It’s a shining example of New England ingenuity and offers visitors a ‘picture perfect’ moment in all seasons. 

As does the bubbling river it spans. 

On any given day, you’ll usually find a handful of fishermen in the Salmon River attempting to reel in a worthy catch.  But, on this particular morning, it was especially quiet as I crossed the bridge into Colchester to begin my trek.

With my dog Sampson in tow, I headed for the blue-blazed Salmon River Trail in the woods near the river’s banks.  With the lack of rain recently, the river is quite low exposing much of its rock bed.  But, it still holds its charm and is a worthy companion in my hike through the woods.

As I made my way deeper into the tree line, it didn’t take long for the rumblings from nearby Route 16 to fade away. 

Within a short distance, the path begins to climb upward at a steady pace and eventually leads to a clearing with a spectacular view.  If you can, take a minute to drink it in.  Touches of fall already paint the leaves here and the echo of the river below is just the icing on the cake.

At this point of the hike, two trails combine: the blue Salmon trail and the yellow diamond marked for horses.  From the clearing, this dual path leads back into the woods before it breaks off in two.  The blue follows a southern loop that eventually leads to Day Pond State Park.  But, I continued on the yellow on my quest to reach a rambling waterfall found further north.

To reach it, Sampson and I began to weave in and out of the tree line as the path followed the power lines that hover above it.  It’s a nice change of pace from the shadowed woods we came from.  And on this brisk, sunny morning, it served as an extra treat.

Before long, we came to a crossroads, where the blue joins up again with the yellow.  Here, we went left and back into the woods.  The combined trail brought us to yet another split.  But, this time we followed the red-blue trail that marks the spur path that leads to the Day Pond Brook waterfall.

With so little rain, I was expecting a less-than impressive sight.  But, I was pleasantly surprised to find the water here running at a decent pace.

There is a set of step-ladder falls that follow the brook downstream - the image reminiscent of a woodland scene from ‘The Hobbit’. Sampson was just as impressed – spending a good 10 minutes stepping in and out of the falls and getting in a few good slurps.

Once refreshed, we turned back the way we came – thankful that most of it led downhill.  When we reached the river’s banks, the din of nearby traffic once again broke through the sense of serenity these woods provide.

But despite the jarring return to ‘civilization’, I’m grateful for one thing - the knowledge that this quiet retreat will still be here when I return.

Directions: Take Rt. 2 east.  Take Exit 16. Follow Rt. 149 south for a little more than three miles. Turn right onto Route 16 west. Follow for close to two miles.  Turn left into the parking area.

Trail Difficulty: Easy

Trail Distance: 3.25 miles