Trail Area

Bolton Notch State Park

About This Area

[Total: 4    Average: 2/5]

95 Acre Park area with several trails connecting to Valley Falls Park, Hop River State Park and Freja Park. The rocks at Bolton Notch State Park tell us that the area was once the site of an ancient transgressing sea, part of which can be observed along the old railroad. Both schist and quartzite are two rock types found along the banks of this trail.

The entrance to Bolton Notch State Park lies at the intersection of Route 44 and 384. The easiest place to begin is to enter the park and follow a narrow dirt road down to the gate. A sign indicating that motorized vehicles are no longer permitted on the road marks the entrance to the blue trail, which is approximately 6 miles long and provides access to the rail trail connecting to Valley Falls Park and the Tulip Tree Trail, Mohegan trail, Garnet Trail Outlook, and the  Shenipsit Trail. The rail trail portion of this park is a small section of the Hop River State Park Trail that winds 20.2 miles through the towns of Manchester, Vernon, Bolton, Coventry, Andover, and Columbia.

Running parallel to the blue trail, a small stream has undercut massive outcrops of schist. Schist is a type of metamorphic rock that has undergone intense heat, pressure, and hot fluids. By definition, schist contains more than 50% platy and elongate minerals such as mica and amphibole. This high percentage of platy minerals allows schist to be easily split into thin flakes or slabs. Most of the schist is covered with lichen and moss, making it difficult to see the features specific to schist. However, if you do find a piece of unweathered schist, it will appear incredibly shiny from the high concentration of mica minerals. Since schist can be easily split, all along the trail, large boulders have fallen from the outcrops and now lie at the base of the exposure. Likewise, in several areas, trees have actually begun to grow up through the rock.

In addition to schist, there are a few outcrops on the blue trail of quartzite, a metamorphic rock formed from sandstone. As its name suggests, quartzite is primarily composed of quartz. The quartzite at Bolton Notch State Park is dark gray in color and is referred to as “dirty quartzite”

– information pulled from CT DEEP Trail Map, CT DEEP State Park Geology

Area Features

Rangers No
Emergency support
within 5 miles
Nearby convenience store Yes
Trash Disposal No

Trail Area Highlights

Dramatic lichen and moss covered rock walls surrounding both sides of the trail where the old railroad bed lies that are stroller friendly and shady with lots of traffic from bikers, hikers and runners. Older children and carrier friendly walks up to a scenic view on the Garnet Trail, as well as thru the adjacent Freja Park which contains an old drive in movie theater reclaimed by the forest and lake views. Can extend the hike into nearby Valley Falls Park where there is a beach, stocked lake and additional hiking trails or walk all the way to Vernon, Manchester or Andover on over 20 miles of rail trail connecting the area.

Trail Contributor

[Total: 4    Average: 2/5]

Mom of 2 in central CT, I have been a part of HIB since 2015 when I joined the Worcester branch in MA when my first child was still under 1 yr old.  Currently a Branch Ambassador for the Hartford Branch. We enjoy getting out to our favorite weekly HIB spot with friends and going on family hikes on weekends to check out new places in the area.