The Minnechaug Mountain conservation land was acquired by the Town of Hampden.
The land was acquired in two stages: in 2001, 93 acres on the northeast slope, adjacent to 14 acres of town-owned conservation land, was purchased by the land trust (then known as “Hampden Land Project”) and turned over to the Town of Hampden; and in 2003, an abutting 166 acres on the northwest slope (including the peak) was protected as town-owned conservation land. These 273 acres are open to the public for passive recreation, and are enjoyed by hikers, birders, horseback riders, and the local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, who have been actively involved in trail work projects.
Minnechaug Mountain has 8 well-marked trails that offer a variety of hiking experiences that will satisfy hikers and walkers at a variety of levels. There are several trails that meander through the woods without much change in altitude, and others that climb 500 vertical feet in a half-mile stretch. There are many loops of varying length so that backtracking is seldom necessary. Trials are marked with a standard trail-marking system. Marks consist of five-inch by two-inch vertical rectangles. Two marks together indicate a left or right turn. The elevated mark indicates the direction of the turn. Two marks, one on top of the other, indicate the end of a trail. Each trail is marked in its own color corresponding to the colors on the map. Trails are also labeled with wooden signs located at the various trail junctions. There are some nice views west and east from the Tennessee Valley Natural Gas pipeline that crosses the mountain near the summit. Many of the trails are suitable for cross-country skiing in the winter. The area is open to the public for non-motorized recreational activities. Motorized vehicles are not allowed as they result in a great deal of trail damage and erosion. Hunting is not allowed on conservation property.
Maps will be available at the trail entrance.
The VFW parking is not available when they have Sunday Turkey Shoots, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Check the VFW sign for exact dates.
The South Road parking area is about a mile from Main St on the right-hand side of the road and is marked by a sign. There is an information kiosk next to the parking area. Kathy’s Trail begins at the kiosk going south then north, bordering a field, before entering the woods. This is a more gradual access. The conservation area can also be assessed from Old Coach Rd. but currently there is no formal parking area.