Iron Trail/Stone Man Mountain Out & Back

Debbie and I had a short day trip to the northwest corner of Connecticut. We ran the Iron Trail from Beckley Forge to the top of Stone Man Mountain and back.

This is a lovely part of the state. The Iron Trail is a Connecticut Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail. I ran it in the summer of 2020. I wrote about that run in the middle of a longer story about Debbie’s Connecticut Appalachian Trail FKT.

Today’s conditions were much different. Friday’s storm brought rain to the Hartford area but Canaan and other towns in the northwest hills got nearly six inches of wet snow.

This made the trail conditions treacherous and difficult. We wore our micro-spikes but it was still awkward. One section of the Iron Trail traverses water company property on an old logging road. That section gets heavy ATV use. When last ran it, it was in rough shape. Today, it was awful. Some of the ruts were 15 inches deep.

Aside from the trail damage, the snow brought beauty to the woods. The views from Stone Man were fantastic. There was no womens’ FKT on this out and back 11 mile route, so we didn’t have to push it in order to establish a time. In these conditions, the mens’ time was way out of reach. This was still a hard effort and took us just under three hours.

Parts of the route were hard to follow. The blue blazes on the trees were faded. I didn’t find the Iron Trail mentioned on CFPA’s website which makes me wonder/worry that the trail is no longer being maintained. Thankfully, we were able to follow animal tracks. Most of them were headed in the right direction, including many “cat” tracks. I suspect it was a good sized bobcat that left those in the snow. Debbie and I had a good time running together. It was cool that Debbie got to see the Beckley Forge. We want to bring the kids out that way to see both the forge and hike to the summit of Stone Man.

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