Hiking The Paugussett Blue Blazed Trail

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Indian Well - Photo by Andrew K
Indian Well - Photo by Andrew K

The Paugussett is a Blue Blazed Trail that glides across a high ridge along the Housatonic River from Shelton nearly to Newtown. It turns inward and follows along Boys Halfway River through a verdant ravine. The views of the All American Valley are good. The hike, strenuous at times, is mostly comfortable, and well traveled. Though the trail traverses two major parks, it also skirts residential areas. Your views will be fair and long, but as you approach Paugussett's overlooks your new neighbors will be overlooking you.

Indian Well Falls - Paugussett Trail Shelton CT
Indian Well Falls - Paugussett Trail Shelton CT

Just behind me; creak - crack - snap. But without the foreshadowed thud. On these crisp and high fidelity January days, when the colors are true and their edges sharp, the smallest sound is an avalanche of sensation. Twice in the last year great trees of the centuries have felled themselves in the forest as I have walked and wandered alone. Both occurred on as quiet and still of days as this one on The Paugussett. It is a remarkable thing to be in the presence of a great and noble thing as it dies and falls to the Earth; frightening and awesome.

There is tremendous energy stored above us. The sunshine, water, minerals, photosynthetic chemical reactions, and transpiration build one cell upon the next - growing outward and upward - each cell containing the energy required to grow it above the ground. All of the energy of centuries produced by the daily labor of life is saved and held in the compression pillars of a forest. When at last a tree falls, it falls not just with the force of gravity but with its entire store of energy in one moment of release. Its long life plays out in reverse and is condensed into one comprehensible minute.

Fallen trees provide many obstacles on The Paugussett. There are many from the recent Superstorm Sandy. But, as I walk the trails, the victims of Sandy can be defined by evidence left by trail crews which were quick to clear the path. Still, more recent trees have been felled by winter and age. The smell of pine is pungent. Some of the trees which have fallen are still very green and very much alive.

Crossing Boys Halfway River on The Paugussett Trail Monroe Ct
Crossing Boys Halfway River on The Paugussett Trail
The weekend that I walked The Paugusett followed a week of subzero deep freeze. Human life revolted at the cold. One could drive through Norwalk at 9am on I95 at a steady 70mph. And, I had my choice of seats on the train. Society just suddenly hushed up and huddled inside. I was not the first to venture out after the cold. A single track of bootsteps ruffed up the snow ahead of me. On the side of these hills that overlook The Housatonic, life was abundant and active. Bluebirds twitted and twilled from branch to branch. An Eagle soared and stalled in a puff of wind before me. Three times I scared up deer, once a family of seven and later a doe and an old buck sporting a triumphant rack.

This January, it is quiet and cold and slow and still on The Paugussett. But, life carried on in its tenuous balance. Today was not a day for giving in, or falling down.

The Paugussett Trail Shelton CT
The Paugussett Trail Shelton CT

The Paugussett Blue Blazed Trail

From 82ft - 485ft above sea level | Max slope 27 | Average Slope 7 |

MILEAGE: TOTAL = approx. 9 miles / 4 hours

Indian Well Trail - White Blazed Trail  = .5 miles
Indian Well Trail - Bridge = 1.1 miles
Indian Well Trail - Thoreau Dr. = 3.8

Thoreau Dr. - Webb Mountain = .4 miles
Thoreau Dr. - 100ft Ledge = 1.4 miles
Thoreau Dr. - Cottage St. = 2.4 miles

Cottage St. - Boys Halfway River Crossing = 2.6 miles
Cottage St. - East Village Road = 5.3

COUNTY: Fairfield
COMMUNITIES: Shelton, Monroe
DISTANCE: 9.2 Miles

POINTS OF INTEREST: Lake Zoar, Indian Well Falls, Housatonic River, Boys Halfway River, Birchbank Mountan, Indian Well State Park, Hole Brook, White Hill Brook, White Hill Brook, Webb Mountain, Stevenson Dam

Wish You Wells From the Paugussett Trail - Connecticut Explorer
Aww Paw! Jus' Gussett! - CTMQ

Directions and Trail Map

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Address for your GPS: 189 Indian Wells Road, Shelton CT
| coordinates: 41.338784,-73.123954 |
From Bridgeport30 Minutes
From New Haven30 Minutes
From Hartford1 Hour
From New London1.25 hours
From Providence2 Hours
From New York1.5 Hours


The Paugussett Trail Head at East Village Road Monroe CT
The Paugussett Trail Head at East Village Road Monroe CT

An Improvised Shelter along The Paugusett Trail in Shelton CT
An Improvised Shelter along The Paugusett Trail in Shelton CT