The Story of the Yawgoog Trails

Unofficial

Red Trail - Part I

Total distance: 1.54 miles (2.48 kilometers)
Total hiking time: approximately 1 hour


The Red Trail is Camp Yawgoog's most challenging, because of its long and rocky nature; however, the venture is worthwhile, offering Old Settlers' Point, the Richmond Boulder Field, and other landmarks as places of interest. It begins at the Three Point dining hall and heads out on the Admiral Clark Road, forking toward the dam on the right (west). After leaving the dam, the trail splits off the Yellow Trail and bears left (south), avoiding Campsite Wells Fargo.

Near Wells Fargo is an area called The Homestead, so named because remnants of foundations, stone walls, and an overgrown spring suggest habitation. Before the great forest fire this place was very beautiful and was known as the Nature Den.

The trail continues in a southern direction into a region called the Badlands, because of its rough, rocky terrain. The first part of this trail passes through Glacier Rock Park, named for its abundance of glacially transported boulders. One boulder to the right (west) looks somewhat like the head of a snapping turtle, facing southeast, and is called Snapper Rock.

(image)
Snapper Rock in winter
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 30.887', W 71° 46.847' (Datum: WGS84)
Google Map

The Red Trail soon passes by a stone enclosure on the right (west), next to a large boulder. This area, called Old Settler's Point, appears to have been a farm. The stone enclosure next to the large boulder may have been a corral or a storage structure. The enclosure is small for a house and house foundations were usually set into the ground (forming cellars), not built on top of the ground. The enclosure appears to use the boulder as a back (west) wall, and there is a gap between the boulder and the left stone wall (in the southwest corner).

(image)
Stone enclosure
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 30.810', W 71° 46.783' (Datum: WGS84)
Google Map

Stone cairns scattered to the northeast of the enclosure, on the other side of the trail, also suggest farming activity. Stones were regularly turned up by farmers while plowing. The stones were first used to build walls and foundations; extra stones were put into piles (cairns) to keep them out of the way of the farming activity. (A short side-trail, now overgrown, used to lead from a location near the enclosure to Old Settlers' Point.) A second corral-like structure, partly overgrown, exists to the left (south) of the trail, after it crosses an intermittent stream. The trail runs on a ledge that forms the northern wall of the enclosure; an opening appears to be in the southeastern corner. A good view of Wincheck Pond can be seen from the rocks next to a campsite in the area.

(image)
Panoramic view of Wincheck Pond from Old Settlers' Point campsite
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 30.760', W 71° 46.764' (Datum: WGS84)
Larger image
Google Map

Turning to the right (southwest), the Red Trail climbs a cliff called Eagle's Roost. Eagle's Roost offers a magnificent southeastern view down much of Wincheck Pond. Reservation maps of 1931 and 1975 show an overnight campsite was once located there, but it appears to have been overgrown. Non-campers hiking the Red Trail in reverse direction should not follow the path any further northeast, as it leads to camp.

(image)
View of Wincheck Pond from Eagle's Roost
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 30.739', W 71° 46.783' (Datum: WGS84)
Google Map

The route soon comes across a "mess of rocks and cliffs which we call 'The Fractures,' because they were broken and fractured by the glacier" (Williams and Tracy). Next, the trail also passes through the Keyhole (Williams and Tracy), two boulders only about a foot (30 centimeters) apart. This landmark is also called the Needle (Williams and Anthony vol. 1 p. 26).

(image)
The Fractures
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 30.728', W 71° 46.844' (Datum: WGS84)
Google Map

(image)
The Keyhole
Image by David R. Brierley
Coordinates: N 41° 30.722', W 71° 46.862' (Datum: WGS84)
Google Map

Almost immediately after the Keyhole is an intersection. To the left (south) is a side-trail that used to lead to North Road (also called Hopkinton-Rockville Road, Long Bridge Road, Old Rockville Road, Rockville Road, and West Rockville Road). The path served as a shortcut to the Long and Ell ponds area. Although the side trail starts out fine, it soon reaches Cedar Swamp and becomes impassable, due to mud, vegetation, and a lack of trail markers. Hikers should use the main Red Trail, which runs to the right (northwest).

 

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