The hiking trail above Lake Compounce is a prize worth pursuing – CT Insider

Hiker Brian Thomas summed up the experience of his journey along Compounce Ridge well after a recent trek. “This trail is earned and not given,” he says. “You earn every tenth of a mile on this trail.”

The 4.6-mile Compounce Ridge Trail — an offshoot of the Connecticut Forest & Park Association’s Tunxis Trail — runs along the eastern rim of the 954-foot Compounce Mountain in Southington. Although hikers never summit the mountain, the journey is rugged and difficult enough with the trail’s 1,300-foot elevation gain high above Lake Compounce, the oldest continuously operating amusement park in North America.

The hike begins at the cul-de-sac end of Panthorn Trail along what the CFPA’s Walk Book notes as the Steep Climb Trail. (Many of the hikes in the book will be showcased in the upcoming National Trails Day Weekend June 4and 5. The weekend includes more than 240 hikes, bike rides, kayaking and canoeing, letterboxing, trail work parties and equestrian rides. See for more information.)

The Steep Climb Trail is aptly named with the rocky path passing between boulders and huge ledges on its way to the Compounce Ridge Trail. Hikers should have sturdy boots to navigate the path, which is marked with blue and yellow dot blazes. During wet times of the year, water cascades over the boulders which end up helping to soothe your journey to the top.

When you reach the top, follow the trail to the right. (Although some hiking purists who want to go from the start of the trail can take a left and hike a half-mile to a formation known as “Libby’s Lump” and then return to the Steep Climb Trail and continue the journey.)

The sweat and hard work is rewarded as you reach several overlooks — Compounce, Norton and Julian’s Rock — with spectacular views south to Meriden’s Hanging Hills and north to Rattlesnake Mountain and Mount Tom. Down below: the campus of ESPN and all its satellite dishes as well as …….


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