|Hiking Trail Conditions Report
|Kollar Wildlife Management Area, CT
|Date of Hike:
|Saturday, September 16, 2023
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
|The handicapped parking at the extension of North River Road in Tolland, just past where Babcock Road peels off to the left, has a washout just before the parking area - low-clearance cars should use caution. The official parking area, 100 yards or so up Babcock Road, is in good condition. Just a couple other cars there.
|Water Crossing Notes:
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
|The trail that climbs the side of the hill, and the trail we descended at the end of the hike, are very eroded, with lots of loose rock. The other trails were generally in better condition.
|Saw one. Rules say they need to be on a leash at all times.
|Lost and Found:
|This little area in Tolland is a nice local hike. None of the trails are blazed, nor do they have any official names (as far as I know), but they're all easy to follow, and most are on Alltrails.
We started up the continuation of North River Road past the gate. It reminded me of old railroad grades in the White Mountains. After about a half-mile, a trail peels off to the left and the old road quickly ends at its former crossing of the Willimantic River (now unsafe to cross). We followed the trail that goes to the left - it alternates between sidehill ascents at easy to moderate grades (but with very eroded footing) and flatter areas with generally nicer footing. Once the trail reaches the top of the hill, it arrives at a three-way junction. Having recently hiked to Stillwater Junction, I thought that the junction should have a name, and we nicknamed it Leaning Birch Junction.
We took the trail to the right, which continued along the top of the slope with minor ups and downs. At a four-way junction (where all four trails are shown on Alltrails), we took a short loop to the right around the main trail. This short loop was narrower but still easy to follow. When we returned to the main trail, we continued to follow it generally north. Soon, it starts to descend gradually, and then the main trail ahead is blocked off with branches while another trail bears left. We followed that trail past another trail diverging left, and then continued on as the trail became a narrower footpath. This footpath went on a winding route around the area, first descending gradually and then ascending and looping back in the direction we came from (this section is not shown on Alltrails). Eventually, we came out on a wider trail. We turned right to continue heading in a north/northwest direction - we were curious to see if this trail network extended all the way up to Plains Road. Unfortunately, we didn't get too far when we encountered some Posted - Private Property signs. We could see a clear woods road continuing ahead, but we decided not to trespass (this time) and turned around. I will say, however, that the signs did not include any information on the name or address of the landowner, which made me a bit suspicious of the validity of the signs.
On our return trip, we continued straight on the wider trail where the narrower footpath had come in, and sure enough, it brought us out back onto the main trail - this was the trail that diverged left as mentioned above. We followed the main trail back to Leaning Birch Junction. At the junction, we decided to head back on the trail that continues straight (south) from this junction. This trail descended gradually and is very eroded, with loose footing in many places. It doesn't appear that these trails are maintained much at all. Eventually, the trail emerged in an area that was clear-cut a few years ago and is regenerating - vegetation is still fairly low but is quite dense. It will be interesting to watch this area recover in the next 10-20 years. Near the end of this section, there's another junction. The trail straight ahead leads to Babcock Road, requiring a road walk to return to the parking area. We turned left to continue down another trail that is also eroded and loose in places. This trail passes another recent clear-cut on the left, which affords views of the other side of the valley that weren't there before. This trail descends via switchbacks and ultimately leads to the extension of North River Road, close to the trailhead.
This whole route is about 5 miles. There's nothing particularly challenging or strenuous about this route (especially not by New Hampshire standards), but it's a nice peaceful woods walk, and despite the nice weather, we saw only a few other people.
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.