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Preplanned Hike for Bear Mountain: Undermountain - Paradise Lane - AT trails Loop

Quick Facts I

From/To

Undermountain Trail parking lot

Distance

6.7 miles

Time

4 hours

Slope

Moderately Difficult

Note

* highest summit in CT
* part of the Appalachian Trail
* views of Mts. Race & Everett to the north and Twin Lakes to east

Hike Rating

4 Stars

Quick Facts II

Elevation

2,316 ft.

Location

Salisbury, CT
northwest CT

Best Maps

* USGS Quad: Bash Bish Falls
* map included with Appalachian Trail Guide to Mass.-Conn. by Appalachian Trail Conference

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Recommendation

Recommended

 Overview

      Bear Mountain (2,316 ft.) is the highest peak in Connecticut.  It is not, however, the highest point of land in Connecticut.  The highest point is 2,380 feet, found on the south slope of Mt. Frissell whose 2,453 ft. summit lies in Massachusetts.  Nonetheless, Bear Mountain maintains its distinction as the highest summit in Connecticut and it offers one of the prettiest vistas in the state.  It's a beautiful hike on the Appalachian Trail south of the summit because you're hiking on rocks, surrounded by low bushes (including blueberries!), and the view progressively opens up for you.  A stone pyramid built in 1885, about 8 feet high with a flat top, sits on the summit and provides a great platform for checking out the panorama. Prominently to the north in Massachusetts are Mts. Race (to the right) and Everett (to the left).  To the east, you look down into the valley where the Twin Lakes are.  To the west is Mt. Frissell and to the southwest is Mt. Gridley. Heading north on the Appalachian Trail drops you into Sages Ravine and the Massachusetts border (just over a mile away).

      After your hike, be sure to check out the town of Salisbury. It's a classy, little Connecticut town.  In Salisbury center, all within a stone's throw from each other are the Village Store for hiking supplies and Epicure Market for sandwiches and refreshments.

Preplanned Hike 

Mileage

0      Undermountain Trail parking lot
1.1   Junction of Undermountain Trail & Paradise Lane Trail
3.2   Junction of Paradise Lane Trail & Appalachian Trail
3.9   Bear Mountain summit
4.8   Junction of Appalachian Trail & Undermountain Trail
5.6   Junction of Undermountain Trail & Paradise Lane Trail
6.7   Undermountain Trail parking lot

The Hike

     This hike begins at the rock on the right side of the Undermountain Trail parking lot (with your back to the road).  Proceed from the rock to the bulletin board in the woods.  If you're interested, there are usually pamphlets about the Connecticut Appalachain Trail available here.  Also, there is a wooden outhouse nearby if nature calls (you must provide your own TP).  Head straight from the bulletin board up the broad, blue blazed Undermountain Trail.  You are walking on a forested, moderately steep, well-maintained path. Eventually you will come to a sign welcoming you to Appalachian Trail lands.  Soon thereafter a brook appears on your left and you come to the junction of the Undermountain Trail and Paradise Lane Trail.

      Turn right onto the Paradise Lane Trail and continue to follow blue blazes.  This trail is mostly flat and easy hiking.  You will soon pass Paradise Lane group camping area on your right.  Then on your left you will come to a picturesque swamp where you may hear bull frogs croaking as I did.  Further on your left you come to an opening that offers a view of Bear Mountain.  Ultimately you arrive at the junction of the Paradise Lane Trail and the Appalachian Trail.  If you're looking for a place to camp, head down to Sages Ravine where there are tent sites within a mile along the river. In the summer, there is a caretaker and fee for camping.

      Turn left onto the Appalachian Trail.  You are now following the white blazes marking the Appalachian Trail.  It is a very steep ascent up rocks (slippery when wet!) to the summit but this only lasts for about a quarter mile.  It is this final, strenuous push to the top that gives you the feeling that you earned the right to the beautiful view that awaits you.  For a description of the summit, see the Overview section above.  There is no camping on the summit.

      You leave the summit on the Appalachian Trail heading south.  Blueberry bushes abound.  There are nice views as you begin your descent.  Mt. Gridley is on your right to the west.  Lions Head appears to the south.  The rocky terrain is moderately steep until you enter the woods where the trail flattens.  This flat cruiser of a trail brings you to "Riga Junction" which is the junction of the Appalachian Trail and the Undermountain Trail.  From here, if you're looking for a place to camp, the Brassie Brook Campsite is 0.5 mi. south on the Appalachian Trail.

      Turn left onto the Undermountain Trail (following blue blazes again), pass the junction with the Paradise Lane Trail where you were earlier, and return to the Undermoumaintain Trail where you began your adventure.  Quite a nice loop!

Directions

Bear Mountain is located in Salisbury in scenic northwestern Connecticut.

Undermountain Trail parking lot:

From the north:

Mark odometer at junction of Rt. 23 and Rt. 41
Take Rt. 41 South
9.3 mi. - Undermountain Trail parking lot on right
An easily-missed, small, blue, oval "Undermountain Trail" sign marks the entrance to the parking lot

From the south (Salisbury):

Mark odometer at junction Rt. 44 & Rt. 41 in Salisbury
Take Rt. 41 North
0.8 mi. - pass Appalachian Trail parking lot on left
3.2 mi. - Undermountain Trail parking lot on left
An easily-missed, small, blue, oval "Undermountain Trail" sign marks the entrance to the parking lot


Submitted by: Mark, MountainSummits.com, age 31, athletic male.


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