What to look for on the Bailey Trail South
Beginning at the Georgetown Circle Trailhead, take the short spur to the river and turn south (right). Here the river is slow moving, with broad pools bordered by hemlocks, red maple, beech, birch, oak, and a good understory of laurel. Very soon, the river is divided by long, narrow Ivy Island into two beautiful streams. Here the river drops over a long stretch of rocks and ledge. Several log crossings allow access to the island. Below the island the trail passes through hemlock glens, now under stress from hemlock wooly adelgid attack.
The east bank, which is often higher, affords good views of moss-covered rock outcrops and of flowing streams and seeps that add color and contrast, especially in winter.
Downriver, several small islands create more divisions in the river. Indeed, at one point the trail crosses a series of bouldered washes that at high water times create a series of temporary islands.
Eventually, the trail ascends a slight rise and passes through and then along a fine stone wall. Along this stretch and elsewhere, the bark of the beech trees appears cracked. A close look will reveal white, wax-covered colonies of the introduced beech scale. The fissures on the beech tree are the result of past feeding by heavy populations of this tiny sucking insect.
Where the wall ends temporarily, look for the large hemlock and the magnificent chestnut oak with its deeply fissured bark. Soon the trail crosses Cider Mill Brook on a footbridge. Just south of the bridge is the junction of the Cider Mill Brook Spur Trail (described below) that leads west and then north to Trailhead 3 on Concord Drive.
Continue south, through a stretch of hardwoods with an understory primarily of beech and laurel. Just south of another stone wall crossing, the river narrows and drops over a series of beautiful rapids. A few yards further are the foundation remains of a dam with its stone opening to a mill’s flume; see “Historical Features” below). Cross the head of the flume and follow its wall 160’ to the mill site itself .
Below the mill, the river continues to flow rapidly, with alternating pools and cascades. Large hemlock, beech, red maple, black birch, oak and occasional tulip poplar, sycamore, and yellow birch line the river banks. Stone walls reveal old field borders and property lines.
Just below where a small stream drains a valley to the west—and where the river makes a sharp bend—the trail crosses another bouldery wash which, in flood times, becomes a flowing stream creating a temporary island similar to those described earlier. The Trail crosses the outlet to the wash (shown as the southernmost stream crossing on the map). Just below this point, the trail enters private land and then soon after leaves the river along a stone wall to Trailhead 4 on Summer Hill Road.
Cider Mill Spur Trail
From Trailhead 3, follow along the trail bordering a wet drainage through a forest of beech, red maple, ash, tulip-poplar and black and yellow birch. The wet swale soon meets the Cider Mill Brook flowing south. The trail essentially follows—at a distance—the west bank of the brook. Note the high ledges to the west. Eventually, where the trail passes through stone walls (the second of which opens into a crossroads of woods roads), turn sharply left, closer to the brook, and follow it to its junction with the main river trail.
Approximately 1.2 miles south of Trailhead 2, the remains of a mill exist on the west bank of the river. The site is approximately 0.8 miles north of Chestnut Hill Road and is easily reached from Trailhead 4. These foundations and structures may date from December 16, 1720, when five men were granted permission to erect a saw mill on the river between Hog Pond Brook and Ivy Island. Later maps also show a saw mill at this site.
The hiking trail runs between this mill and the river. Steps descend and rise on either side of the channel where water exited the mill. A walled area approximately 9’ deep may have been the area for the saw. Above the mill a flume, or raceway, runs approximately 160’ north to remnants of a dam. This structure diverted water to power the mill. The “outer” walls of the flume, those closest to the river, are approximately 6’ high and 5’ thick.
Overview & Map
Trail Map: Bailey Trail South
The Bailey Trail system (Hammonasset River Trail and Cider Mill Spur Trail) follows the west bank of the Hammonasset River from Rt. 80 to lower Summer Hill Road just north of Chestnut Hill Road. Because of its length, the trail is described in two separate sections: Bailey Trail North (Rt. 80 south and back); and Bailey Trail South (Georgetown Circle south to lower Summer Hill Road, including the Cider Mill Spur Trail).
Bailey Trail South: This section follows the Hammonasset River south to Trailhead 4 on Summer Hill Road, 0.3 mile north of Chestnut Hill Road. The Cider Mill Spur Trail runs from Concord Drive (Trailhead 3) to the River Trail. Beautiful stretches of river, with large quiet pools and long series of rapids, and an historic lumber mill site with remains of its dam and flume are features. This is an easy walk with a few boggy spots.
Category: Easy river walk
Start: Trailhead 2 at the Georgetown Circle cul-de-sac, or Trailhead 3 on Concord Drive (Cider Mill Spur Trail)
Distance: About 1.5 miles from Trailhead 2 to Trailhead 4; Cider Mill Spur Trail is about 0.4 mile, one-way
Approximate Time: One-way, about 1.5 hours from Trailhead 2 to Trailhead 4; 1 hour from Trailhead 3
Historical Features: Old mill foundations
Parking: Trailhead 2 - Georgetown Circle cul-de-sac; Trailhead 3 - along Concord Drive near the Trailhead sign; Trailhead 4 - along east side of Summer Hill Road near Trailhead sign
PLEASE NOTE: Hunting, camping, fires, cutting trees or vegetation, horses, and motorized vehicles are all prohibited on Madison Land Conservation Trust property.
MLCT trails and properties are for hiking only. Dogs are allowed, but must be leashed. Please pick up all animal waste.