Updated: Apr 11, 2021
Brooksvale Park to Mt. Sanford Hike
Distance ~ 8 Miles
Elevation ~ 1000 Feet
Time ~ 4.5 Hours
Parking: 524 Brooksvale Ave, Hamden, CT 06518
Enjoy a challenging hike that links Hamden’s Brooksvale Park to Mount Sanford, one of New Haven County’s highest peaks. On a cold April afternoon, I joined my friend in Brooksvale before taking the red trail up west. There is a slight incline on this trail, but it’s nevertheless manageable. We crossed through muddy patches, gravel roads, and an overgrown field—classic Connecticut. The red trail should lead you to Naugatuck State Forest, where you’ll take the yellow trail to the base of the 3.3 mile Mt. Sanford Loop. Along this route, you’ll encounter a few desolate cabins and slim creeks but be prepared to climb, since you’ll hike up around 600 ft.
As you cross onto the western part of the loop (Quinnipiac Trail), you may encounter more foot traffic at the Naugatuck State Forest Entrance from Bethany Mountain Road.
We completed this hike with light snow and chilly wind, but the view at Mt. Sanford Overlook made it worth it. We could spot Holiday Hill to our north and recorded our trip in the hiking log. On the way down, you’ll run into YMCA Camp Laurel (private property) before reaching Downes Rd, supposedly one of the most haunted roads in CT. As you inch your way back to Brooksvale through the white trail, enjoy your last moments soaked in the wilderness. Be cautious, since the trip from Downes back to Brooksvale is farther than it looks. When we reached the main Parking Lot, we were exhausted but made sure to stop by the Brooksvale Farm to see the ponies, chickens, and bunny rabbits.
All in all, this hike is not your typical Sunday stroll but will allow you to separate yourself from civilization—we ran into two people on the entire hike and a few squirrels. I would recommend packing extra clothes, food, and water to prepare for the worst of possibilities.
Fun Fact: This hike crosses 4 towns: Hamden, Cheshire, Prospect, and Bethany.
Note: There is not one map for the entire trail. There’s a map for Brooksvale and another one for Naugatuck. It’s inconvenient but still manageable.