Middlesex County Highpoint Trip Report

Bald Hill Range (916 ft)

Date: December 29, 2003
Author: Gene Daniell

Here's a shorter and more obvious access from CT 66. At the traffic lights in East Hampton, with the Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church at the northeast corner of the intersection, take Main Street north. After a half mile or so, this road meets the edge of Pocotopaug Lake. About 1.0 mile from CT 66, where Main Street bears right to continue following the lake shore, take a left onto Clark Hill Road and follow it as it climbs rather steeply for 0.7 mile to the ridge crest, where Midwood Farm Road runs right (north). As Scott Surgent indicates, it is probably best to park at the height-of-land on Midwood Farm Road, in front of the communications tower, and walk to the trailhead, which is a woods road with a cable gate across its entrance. You will probably not look out of place here - I passed three other pedestrians in the short time I spent walking along this less than-quarter-mile stretch of road.

From the trailhead, follow the main woods road, avoiding a trail that enters on the left, to a T intersection with a blue-blazed woods road, where there are several mud holes nearby to the right. Luckily you want to take the left, then soon take the yellow-blazed right branch at a fork. This trail curves around and climbs north to the summit, where there are remains of a tower - concrete footings with embedded hardware from which the tower was obviously detached by being unbolted. These roads/trails are all shown accurately on the USGS quad.

At the cable gate were the remains of a sign which originally read "No Trespassing". One could speculate that the sign was placed by an abutting landowner and removed by locals who felt that this was an established public access that the landowner had no right to post. It may have been merely aimed at ATV traffic. The blue-blazed trail mentioned above, which this route uses for a short distance, is the Shenipsit Trail, one of Connecticut's many blue-blazed public trails, and therefore an unquestionably established public access to this high point. Should the primary route described above be closed (or for those queasy about "No Trespassing" signs even when they might be illegally placed), it is possible (I did not check this, but the map shows the road) that there is legal public access via a road that the map shows leaving the end of the part of Midwood Farm Road that can be driven, at the northeast corner of Hulseman Pond, intersecting the Shenipsit Trail northeast of the T intersection mentioned in the primary route.

An unquestionably completely public route (though more than twice as long) would use the Shenipsit Trail from the south. It starts on a gravel road that leaves Clark Hill Road about a half-mile southwest of its junction with Midwood Farm Road. I attempted to follow this route but was defeated by a combination of disruption by active logging and not having a map of the Shenipsit Trail, and so not being sure exactly where the trail was supposed to go (there is a map in the Connecticut Walk Book, and I assume it will soon again be possible to follow the blue blazes from the obvious parking spot on the gravel road, even without the map, to the fork where the yellow-blazed path goes left to the summit).

Those who like to be sure of having reached the true high point might want to visit the 914-foot summit about 0.3 mile northwest of the 916-foot presumptive high point, east of the Shenipsit Trail.