Short Hike Notes – Candlewood Mountain

Misty Housatonic Range Trail

Morning valley fog rises onto the Housatonic Range Trail.

Candlewood Mountain does not fit exactly with the criteria I set for a “Short Hike Notes” post, i.e. about 2 hours, 4-5 miles, fairly local. But it’s close, and there are reasons it took me as long as it did. (1) Some way toward the summit I discovered that my glasses, uncased, were not in the pocket of my pack where I had put them, and I had to retrace slowly many hundreds of paces to retrieve them, undamaged, from the leaf litter; (2) the trail was much rougher than I anticipated, and my left knee is still not what it was; (3) Kelly’s Slide.

I had read that Kelly’s Slide is a “huge rock slide”, and when I saw the sign for it as I approached Candlewood Mountain summit, I thought of my knee and said “No way”. On my return from the summit, I thought “Maybe I’ll follow the loop a distance to see if there’s a view”. Well, I found no view, nor any spectacular slide, just a lot of slippery boulders and tree roots on a steep slope. I ended up doing the whole loop – slowly.

DATE: Friday, November 27th, “Black Friday”.
START & FINISH: Parking on Concord Way, off Rte 37, New Milford CT.
ROUTE: Housatonic Range Trail out and back, plus Kelly’s Slide loop.
DISTANCE: 3.5 miles.
TIME: 3.5 hours (8:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.)
TERRAIN: A 600-foot climb on an often bouldery trail. Care required on mist-dampened leaf litter and rocks. For me at least, a fair few short on-your-butt down-scrambles.
MAP: CFPA Walk Book West.

WEATHER: Valley fog and patchy hillside mist, then sunny and very mild.
WILDLIFE: A skittish deer near the summit.

DOWNS: The trail never fully escapes the sounds of Rte 7’s traffic and industry.
UPS: Relative peace of Candlewood Mountain summit. Growing confidence in my knee.
KIT: Can’t imagine doing this hike without the additional balance of trekking poles.
COMPANY: None at all until the very end, when a family group of 12 appeared!

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