On my mission to do all of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association’s Blue Blazed Trails I recently came across the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path. We were out hiking along the beginning of the Blue-Blazed Paugussett Trail in Shelton when we started running low on time. Instead of hiking back the way we came on the more rugged Paugussett Trail I decided that it might be quicker to take part of the Recreation Path for the return trip. We liked the Rec Path so much that we decided to go back the following weekend and run it.
Most places you read they say that the Rec Path begins at Pine Lake (pictured above) and goes to Huntington Center. We did our run opposite, going from Huntington Center. There is no actual parking area at the “end” of the trail where we started on Lane Street. There is public parking at the Community Center which just involves a little bit of street walking.
You can tell a great deal of work was done to make this path so accessible. It is wide and is packed down with crushed gravel. There are no rocks or roots to trip you up. Most of the trail was hard packed enough that it seems a wheelchair or stroller could be brought on making this beautiful area accessible to more people.
Along the 4.1 mile path there are a few bridges and some railings, but mostly you are just going through the woods on the crushed gravel. The “end” where we start begins along an open meadow where we saw a couple having a picnic. From there the Rec Path heads into the woods and goes uphill. I was not anticipating this long uphill and kept reminding myself how nice it would be to run back down this on our return.
There aren’t really any standout features for the first half of the path. It’s just a nice walk in the woods. We crossed paths with other runners and walkers on the trail. All of the walkers were really friendly including one gentleman who gave us a thumbs up for running. The Rec Path is also open to cyclists and horseback riders, but today was all about the human powered exercisers.
The second half of the Rec Path had many more distractions to slow us down on our run. This is where we came across the Shelton Lakes that the path got its name from. First up was Hope Lake which we had walked along the prior weekend while on the Paugussett Trail. From there we came across a dog park that appeared to be very popular. This is also where the path crosses Route 108. We had to stop and wait at the light for the crossing signal. From there the path makes a hairpin turn and heads along a lake called Silent Waters. I made a mental note to stop on our return trip to get a picture here.
After Silent Waters I felt like I was on an old rail trail. The Rec Path was elevated up higher than the forest floor. It had a pretty cool feel to it. This led us to the portion of the Rec Path that is on Shelton Public School’s property. The path cuts between the Intermediate and High School and is paved in this section. We lamented that we missed the crushed gravel, but it was still nice to be in the shaded woods. Truthfully the paved section was pretty short when compared to the entire length of the trail and soon enough we were in a beautiful pine tree stand running along Pine Lake. The crushed gravel path was covered in pine needles making for one of my favorite trail running surfaces. We stopped at Pine Lake to do a little stretching before heading back.
The out and back run along the full length of the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path was a little over 8 miles. If you are looking to get more miles in there are a few Shelton Land Trust trails that meet up along the Rec Path. You could really spend a full day exploring the Shelton Lakes area and get some fishing or canoeing in if you wanted too.