Camp Hadley Trail

Getting to the trail

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What to look for along the Camp Hadley trail

HadleyJust east (in the woods) of the parking turnout, and accessed by an old roadway, are the foundations of two Camp Hadley buildings: an apparent water pumping station on the north, and a vehicle maintenance shop to the south. A few feet behind these, in a wetland drainage area, is a raised slab of a probable well or spring house. Note the stone-lined and culverted stream beds, “landscaped” with arborvitae trees, that circumscribe the well house slab, and then lead to a firepond. The spur trail can be accessed here just north of the firepond, then follow the old roadbed trail 200 feet to where it joins the main trail from Trailhead 1.

From Trailhead 1 by the Camp Hadley sign, follow the blazes along the old hardtopped access road for 460 feet to where the road splits. The left fork (unblazed) leads to the first of two road loops that circle back to the main road and trail. (To the left of the road split, the spur trail cuts sharply back to the pond and the camp water supply system mentioned earlier.) Follow the right fork into the main encampment area. Almost immediately on the right is the collapsed stone chimney and fireplace of an “administrator’s” cabin, one of several scattered to the south. The locations of these cabins, as well as other buildings and walkways are marked by yews and arborvitaes that once decorated the camp.

A few feet beyond, and just before another road split, a descending stone stairway on the right leads to the probable location of a barracks building. Stone work and culverting in this lower area to the north reveal that it was once crisscrossed with roads and walkways.

Again, take the right fork and follow the trail, which soon splits, passing either to the left side of most of the camp ruins, or swings right, passing around through the camp before rejoining. Check the sketch map for details of building locations and probable uses—and note once more the landscape arborvitae and yews that guard the entrances and mark corners and walkways.

From the CCC camp, continue east following blue blazes, passing on the left a series of four excavations (whose former purpose is not clear), one with a stone-lined drainage ditch leading to a small pond, which in turn is drained. The trail enters a small clearing near the State Forest boundary and circles north and near the east end of the small pond, crossing the drainage ditch. Shortly thereafter, the trail cuts east to the banks of a wide, slow-moving stream and wetland. Follow the west bank of the stream carefully for about 100 feet to a step-stone crossing (difficult in times of high water). Once across, turn left and follow the trail first north and eventually northeast, where it ascends a few feet, passing near where some very large tulip poplar and oaks were cut in the 1997 harvest operation. Eventually (0.6 mile from Trailhead 1), at the crest of a ridge-knoll, the trail nears Ridge Road and the short spur to Trailhead 2. On the knoll top is a rock outcrop (C) where glimpses can be had of the forest just traveled. The trail parallels Ridge Road for nearly 300 feet to an old logging road. Here it turns either east (right) 175 feet to Trailhead 3 on Ridge Road, or west and then ascends gradually to higher ground by an old field corner marked by stone walls. Continue north to a wide stream crossing near State Forest boundary. This block of state forest was harvested in 1990. Note the young beech and other tree species that are now beginning to grow in the openings created  when canopy trees were removed. A few hundred feet beyond, the trail ends where it joins Trail #6. (See the composite map to check the several options). To the right, Trail #6 ends in 200 feet; 200 feet to the left it branches, going either right (north) to join Trail #7 and exiting on Warpas Road near the Church of Latter Day Saints, or straight west back to Trailhead 2 (Trail #6) on Warpas Road. From Trailhead 2 back to the parking area along Warpas Road is 0.4 mile.

Conservation Corps Camp Hadley

spirit of cccCamp Hadley, one of 23 such camps in Connecticut, was built in 1935 by men billeted at an already established camp in Chatfield Hollow. About 200 young men between the ages of 18 and 25, including 18 supervisors and foremen, were assigned here. The CCC was a program of the WPA (Works Project Administration), established by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the depression. This program provided employment for young men. Conservation jobs included creation of parks, road construction, etc. Camp Hadley men were of great benefit in cleaning up Madison after the 1938 hurricane.

The Corps ended when World War II began in 1941. The camp buildings, built to Army specifications, included large barracks, a mess hall, recreation hall, water pumping station, vehicle maintenance garage, latrine, cabins for camp superintendent and supervisors, chapel and several others.

CCC poster painted by Harry Rossoll (uncle of MLCT board member Julie Ainsworth) who was an artist for the Forest Service. Top: A young hiker examines what’s left of Camp Hadley today.