FKT: Chris Deming - Ives Trail (CT) - 2019-05-12

Route variation
one way
Gender category
Finish date
Total time
3h 32m 24s
Trail: Ives Trail - Redding, Bethel, Danbury, Ridgefield Connecticut

Trail web page:

Sunday, May 12, 2019
9:44:02 AM

Sunday, May 12, 2019
1:16:26 PM

Elapsed Time:

15.8 miles

Elevation Gain:
3270 feet (according to Strava)

Low Point: 
400 feet

High Point:
1000 feet

To start my run, I parked at the small retail plaza near the Redding train station on Long Ridge Rd, and 
I walked a quarter mile to the trail head on Side Cut Rd.  It was raining and 45 Degrees F for the whole 
run.  The Ives Trail is well-marked with the distinctive pattern of a magenta circle foreground over a
yellow diamond background - either on small plastic signs or painted blazes on trees.

This trail shares space with several other trails, so it is important to keep looking for the magenta on 
yellow markings.

The trail starts out on some swampy single-track.  Within half a mile, the trail arrives at railroad 
tracks. I made sure there was no train coming from either direction and crossed over the tracks.  The trail continues on the other side of the tracks.  Soon after the railroad tracks, going through the Terre Haute 
section of Bethel and Danbury, there are multiple hills to go up and down, rock fields, and more swampy sections. 

At 3 miles, I reached Long Ridge Rd. Just before reaching this road, the trail has been re-routed to go 
behind some houses and through a meadow.  Previously the trail went directly out onto the road on a driveway, and you would have to run down the road about a half mile to re-join the trail.  Now, the trail comes out on the road about a tenth of a mile before going back into the woods at a small parking lot on the other side of the road.

After some more climbs and descents through a wildlife preserve, the trail comes out onto a dirt forest road, which leads to the single-track steep climb into Tarrywile Park, around 5.5 miles. 

I only say three people during the entire run, and they were all walking dogs in the rain in Tarrywile Park.  Eventually, the trail reaches a pond and you run along the side of the pond.  At the North end of the pond, I crossed a foot bridge and turned left, heading up hill along the side of a meadow.  In years past, there was an alternate spur to the Ives Trail that started at this spot, turning right and leading to the historic Ives House.  Although it is shown on some online maps, this spur is not in the Ives Trail guide book maps, which can be purchased at the Tarrywile Park office for $5. Also, there are few or no trail markings for this spur.  So I stayed on the main trail.

A dirt road continues up hill past a big water tank, and single-track is rejoined.  Coming down off this small peak is the hardest part of the trail to follow precisely.  The entire hill is just a jumble of washed out dirt and rocks with the magenta on yellow markings scattered about roughly indicating several short switchbacks going down the hill.  There is another steep climb, aided by some stone steps, up to Mootry Peak - around 8.5 miles.  I chose not to take the spur at the peak that goes a short distance to a lookout that usually has a nice view of Danbury in better weather, staying on the main trail.

Passing by a radio tower, there is a short, steep descent.  At the bottom, I pass by two abandoned junk cars.  A couple more peaks and valleys are next.  The rainy weather made this section very quiet. Usually there is a lot of noise from the shooting range at Wooster Mountain.  Getting close to Route 7, I began to hear the heavy traffic.  

I ran along the side of Sugar Hollow Lake, and I got to Starrs Plain Road, turned right and after a short road walk, arrived at Route 7.  There is a crosswalk and a pedestrian button for the traffic lights.  These were necessary, as the traffic was heavy.  Climbing the stairway up the steep hill is the start of the biggest climb and highest elevation of the trail - Pine Mountain: 1000 feet above sea level, around 13 miles into the run.  I took a few moments for a photo at the summit lookout.  Then it's down the other side of the mountain into Bennett's Pond State Park.  The trail runs alongside the pond, from end to end.  At the southeastern end of the pond, the trail takes a sharp right and there is a final climb to the park entrance and the Ridgefield Ives Trail head. 

I took some photos of the trail head signs.  I refueled with a packet of maple syrup and ran the roads 3.75 miles down hill back to my car.  For water on this run, I carried a 16 ounce hand-held bottle, which was enough on this cold day.

Some online sources list the trail mileage as 20 miles or 18 miles, but according to my GPS watch, the trail is about 15.8 miles.  This was by no means a fast run. I'm hoping a bunch of people improve on this time!  It's a fun, challenging trail.