South of Beaver Meadow Road
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Appalachian Trail [Map]
The AT southbound in Norwich follows roads from its low elevation at the Connecticut River through Norwich village, and then up to a trailhead near the top of Elm Street. Continuing southbound the AT is a beautiful wooded walking trail running along and then over a moderately high ridge of Griggs Mountain before dropping down into the White River valley. Well-maintained by a group of intrepid AT volunteers. Trailhead parking is available at the junction of Pudunk and Tigertown Roads, or in West Hartford. Parking at the Elm St.reet trailhead is very limited, but more is available in Norwich Village. The William Tucker Trail (below) provides access to the middle of Norwich’s AT section, from a trailhead at the upper end of Happy Hill Road Happy Hill Road.
Heyl Trail [Map]
Follows an old woods road from the top of Elm St. to the VELCO power line easement, roughly paralleling the AT. Where the Heyl trail enters the power line corridor, turn right (north) onto the power line road, leading to Bragg Hill Road near the Goddard Road intersection. Alternatively, a left turn (south) on the power line road reaches an intersection with the AT, which provides a nice loop back to near the top of Elm Street. There are views south to Wilder from this road, just beyond the AT junction. The Elm Street trailhead has room for only a couple of cars. There is essentially no parking on Bragg Hill Road – please do not block the powerline access road.
Tucker Trail [Map]
For many years, one of the more popular AT access points. The trailhead is on a privately maintained driveway just past the end of town-maintained Happy Hill Road. The blue-blazed trail soon branches left off the driveway, and then passes around a Forest Service gate. An easy ascent leads past three ponds that source Bragg Brook then over a saddle, shortly after which the trail merges with the AT southbound (turn left for northbound). Make a loop by returning northbound on the AT until you reach an unmarked trail crossing of the Joshua Trail. Limited parking and a turnaround are at the upper end of Happy Hill Road.
Starting from limited parking on Cossingham Road, follow the road uphill as it turns into the Appalachian Trail and explore loops that return via the Tucker Trail or the Cossingham Trail. Please be considerate to nearby neighbors by keeping voices low and dogs on leash between the parking area and the AT intersection. Also, there are electric fences and farm animals along this stretch of the trail.
Burton Woods Road [Map]
The old Burton Woods Road runs from Bragg Hill Road over a saddle then down into the Podunk Brook drainage, a tributary of the White River. The class 4 road provides access to Parkhurst Cemetery, interesting cellar holes and other evidence of prior settlement, plus a variety of other trails including the AT. Leaving Bragg Hill Road, the route uphill is wet and rough in places. Shortly after the high point, it descends and passes a hunting cabin, before intersecting with Sue Spaulding Road (from the NW) at 1.2 mi. from the trailhead. About 0.5 mi. beyond, Town Highway 51 cuts off steeply uphill to the east. (Just above the junction on the left side of TH-51 is Parkhurst Cemetery, active 1826 to 1873; the AT is about 0.2 mi. further on that connector path. ) Back on Burton Woods Road, just after the junction it bends to the right (south), heading downhill to an intersection with the AT at 0.7 mi. from TH-51 (keep a sharp eye for this). Continuing, Burton Woods Road crosses 2 wooden bridges, crosses the AT again, and then ends at class 4 Illsley Road. A short distance to the right of this junction, Illsley Road intersects Podunk Road (driveable), which eventually leads down to West Hartford village. Total length is 2.7 mi. including the 0.1 mi on Illsley Road connecting to Podunk Road). Only roadside parking is available at the Bragg Hill trailhead.
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Bill Ballard Trail [Map]
Professor William (Bill) Ballard taught biology at Dartmouth College who had a strong community interest in Norwich’s natural environment. He blazed a series of trails that became known as the “Bill Ballard Trail” and was instrumental in the founding of both the Dresden Interstate School District and the Montshire Museum. He died in 1998 at the age of 92.
Lower Bill Ballard Trail [Map] [TrailFinder]
Runs along the south side of Charles Brown Brook, in and out of the numerous tributary drainages, sometimes near the brook and often on a shelf above. The primary trailhead (limited capacity) is at Ballard Park off Beaver Meadow Road (former Norwich Pool location). It is 1.5 mi. to the intersection with Brown Schoolhouse Road (class 4), where the pathway continues as the Upper Bill Ballard Trail (below). Both sections of the Bill Ballard Trail are for foot traffic only. Note: the bridge over Charles Brown Brook at the bottom of Brown Schoolhouse Road has been destroyed. This bridge had provided access to the the middle of the combined Bill Ballard trail segments from the Parcel 5 trailhead parking. A temporary plank structure has been emplaced until the bridge is replaced.
Upper Bill Ballard Trail [Map][TrailFinder]
The Upper Bill Ballard Trail runs between Brown Schoolhouse Road and a limited capacity trailhead on Beaver Meadow Road near the Tucker Hill Road junction. Similar to the Lower section, but this section also includes the exciting route along the “Norwich Grand Canyon”. From the Beaver Meadow Road trailhead down to Brown Schoolhouse Road is 1.6 mi. Both sections of the Bill Ballard Trail are for foot traffic only. Note: the bridge over Charles Brown Brook at the bottom of Brown Schoolhouse Road has been destroyed. This bridge had provided access to the the middle of the combined BIll Ballard trail segments from the Parcel 5 trailhead parking.
Converse Loop Trail [Map]
Near the west end of the Upper BIll Ballard Trail, the Converse Loop Trail provides an optional loop which traces the edge of a meadow, before leading back to the main trail. This trail is named after Professor Alvin O. Converse, a former Norwich resident and conservation leader.
Brown Schoolhouse Trail [Map]
A Class 4 road running from Beaver Meadow Rd. (across from Parcel 5 trailhead parking) to Bragg Hill Road, passing the Brown Schoolhouse site. Length: 0.7 mi. Note: As the old Brown Schoolhouse Rd. bridge over Charles Brown Bk. has been destroyed, crossing the brook to access this trail from the Parcel 5 trailhead parking is currently dangerous to impossible during winter and at times of high flow.
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