The Ives Trail meanders 20 miles through Redding, Bethel, Danbury, and Ridgefield CT. Emphasis on meanders. Start and finish are less than three direct miles apart. Most of the meandering takes place in Danbury, where the trail loops north to take in Tarrywile Park. In Ridgefield, the trail runs through Pine Mountain open space and Bennett’s Pond State Park. The sections in Redding and Bethel are both short.
I have known about the Ives Trail for two years, but only got around to hiking it yesterday. Given the pain today in my increasingly troublesome left knee, my decision to hike the trail in one go may not have been the wisest. There are a few easy sections, but most of the Ives Trail consists of short, steep ups and downs, and some are not so short. The trail is overgrown and rocky here and there. Needless to say, it is nearly all wooded. I thought the woods themselves were best west of Route 7, on Wooster and Pine mountains, but there were rewarding breaks in the trees all along the trail. Anyway, a few notes:
DATE: Sunday, May 31st.
START: Opposite West Redding Post Office, Redding CT. (This is the nearest parking. The trail itself begins inconspicuously a short walk along Sidecut Rd.)
FINISH: Bennett’s Pond State Park entrance, Bennetts Farm Rd, Ridgefield CT.
ROUTE: Ives Trail, minus the Parks Pond-Ives House section in Danbury.
DISTANCE: 18-19 miles.
TIME: 9 hours (6 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
TERRAIN: Mostly rugged, wooded hills; trails varied from excellent to rough. Two short road walks (under one mile in total).
MAP: I carried a laminated copy of the Ives Trail Overview Map, plus maps for the Ridgefield section. It would have been useful to have had the Tarrywile Park trail map too.
WEATHER: Calm, cloudy, sticky; one heavy shower about lunchtime.
WILDLIFE: A deer, a toad, squirrels …
PHOTOS: Not a good day for photographs. The best are here in the post.
BREAKFAST: Half a cold toasted bagel on the drive to Redding, the other half in the Bethel or Danbury woods.
LUNCH: Cheddar cheese sandwich on olive and red pepper ciabatta, eaten on Moses Mountain. Why rough it just because you’re in the woods?
UPS: Hiking a local trail that was mostly new to me. Intermittent beauty – shallow, lily-choked ponds; wildflowers in a clearing; the bouldery chasm beneath Moses Mountain; Pine Mountain lookout …
DOWNS: Having to use bug spray; bug bites anyway; humidity; a couple of trailside junked cars.
KIT: Water filter to refill my 32 oz bottle twice from brooks.
COMPANY: None for long stretches; mostly confined to Tarrywile Park.