This loop utilizes both the Mattabesett Trail
and Lone Pine Trail
. Some of the notable features on this route are Bluff Head, Hemlock Brook in the James Valley Preserve, and the scenic rock formations in the Braemore Preserve. This is a long run that is definitely worth your time.
Many of the trails in this area including the trails that this route utilizes have some issues with flooding. It is very common for these trails to completely flood or wash out after a heavy or, even, moderate rainstorm.
This loop begins and ends in the parking lot by Bluff Head. It begins by taking the Bluff Loop
. While this trail is a little longer than the traditional route, it is far more pleasant and far less strenuous. Soon after, the route rejoins the Mattabesett Trail
, blazed blue. It continues up to the trap rock ledges that comprise Bluff Head. Here especially, it is very important to be careful to stay on the trail as in this area there are many social trails that lead dangerously close to unstable ledges. After these scenic overlooks the trail continues on the Mattabesett for another mile and a half or so before turning onto the Lone Pine Trail
, blazed blue/red.
The Lone Pine Trail
turns back eastward and leads to the James Valley Preserve. As the trail continues through this preserve, it windes near Hemlock Brook, a small but very pleasant watercourse. After leaving the preserve, the trail embarks on a gravel road, passing a few farms and fields. The trail then turns back into a small wooded area North of Myer Huber Pond. This area is full of small bridges and primitive boardwalks.
Next, the trail has a short road walk on Route 77 and enters the Braemore Preserve. The trail goes through a field and over another long, primitive boardwalk. However, the Braemore Preserve is far more notable for its large rock formations. Luckily the trail continues right through these ancient behemoths.
The route then briefly visits the Rockland Preserve. But, importantly, it is in this preserve that the Lone Pine Trail
ends as it rejoins the Mattabesett Trail
. When this happens, the route continues southward on the Mattabesett Trail
. There is little of note in this area except for the Mattabesett's junction with the Menunkatuck Trail
. After this junction, the route continues into the Broomstick Ledges. This area has some interesting up and down, but the most notable is an overlook just before it descends for the last time before it reaches the route's terminus at the Bluff Head parking lot.