By Matthew Knox
Nestled in the hills of Glastonbury, Blackledge Falls, and the 80 acres of forest that contain them, are an excellent place to hike and enjoy nature during any season. At times of heavy rain and high groundwater, as many as three separate falls run off the 26 foot tall cliffs. The falls derive their name from the color of the rocks when wet. The water returns to river form after the falls to run through the forest where you may cross over it several times by bridges. Right by the falls, a log sits on the ground in a perfect spot to rest. Bring a picnic or a snack and take a break. Whether there are hundreds of gallons pouring over the cliffs a minute, or only trickling after a dry summer, the spot is beautiful.
There are three different trails that make up the Blackledge Falls preserve. The “purple” trail leads to the waterfall. In reality, it is just a line of white paint over a blue one. The trail is not difficult. There are hills and a gradual incline for periods of time, but no hiking experience is needed. The walk takes about 15 minutes at an average pace. Watch out for roots and rocks on the path in some areas.
The preserve is a tribute to nature and has therefore been left in as natural of a state as possible. Tree branches have fallen on the path in a couple of spots and they were left. The other trails in the park head off in different directions that mostly all convene before to the parking area. Walk or run far enough and you will eventually reach a large swath of open land for power lines. Beyond that you will end up at Gay City State Park. For those of you who enjoy trail running, this area is certainly acceptable. The trails are relatively clean and free of overhanging branches that could hit you.
During the semester, things can get stressful. I encourage a visit to Blackledge Falls for a much needed break when the weather permits.