Less than hundred years ago a trolley could take you from New Haven all the way into Stony Creek in Branford. It was considered a fast, affordable, and reliable means of public transportation. But times changed. The automobile made it easier for people to get around and soon there was bus service. When the trolley service was discontinued in 1947 the Shoreline Trolley Museum immediately took over. Eventually most of the track was removed for the expansion of roadways and neighborhoods.
One of the sections of the trolley line was spared from progress. In its place is now a beautiful walking path that is 0.8 miles long, the Branford Trolley Trail. The trail connects the Pine Orchard and Stony Creek sections of town through a beautiful tidal wetland. The Branford Land Trust built nesting platforms in the wetlands area which makes the trail a prime place for birding. The trail itself is gravel and mostly flat. You can walk, run, or ride a bike along it.
Twice you have bridges to cross. If you are coming from the parking lot in Stony Creek off West Point Rd you will first approach the old metal trolley bridge over Pine Creek. A newer, wooden, boardwalk with hand rails has replaced the old tracks. From there the trail continues through the Vedder Preserve and slightly downhill to the tidal marsh. Crossing over the tidal marsh is a concrete walkway with hand railings. It’s hard not to stop here and watch for birds or just take in the magnificent view into Long Island Sound. Continuing on, the trail leads to Tilcon Rd and the Goss Preserve.
If you are looking to get more miles in with your walk or run add in the Goss Preserve loop and a section of the Vedder Preserve trail. Both of these trails are part of the Branford Land Trust trail system.