The Duck Creek and Newton Blackmour trails are both just a few miles from my house but up until April 2020, I never really knew they existed! I wish I had known bout these trails years ago!
In spring of 2020, I was coming back from foot surgery and ready to get moving again. After 2 months of not even being able to go for a walk, I was looking forward to getting together with my running friends, even if it was just for a short walk! It was right about this same time when we found the world shut down and social distancing the phrase of the times, many people were trying to find ways new ways to keep themselves moving. Social events were cancelled, gyms were closed and we were told not to get together with our friends.
Now what? I an not one to just sit in the house and do nothing!
I remembered seeing the trail along Highway 54 heading towards Seymour. So one afternoon I decided to go check them out! I parked my truck in the parking lot behind the Oneida One Stop in Oneida and hit the trail. This is about where the Duck Creek Trail begins. The actual trailhead is a bit further east of this parting area, just beyond where the trail crosses County Road U.
This trail takes you through quiet country and wooded areas, farms and within a quarter mile of the Oneida Buffalo viewing area. The Duck Creek Trail Section is about 6 miles long, running from Oneida to VandenHeuvel Road, just east of Seymour. This is the same point where the Newton Blackmour trail begins. I was able to cover the Duck Creek section in a few days. Since I was walking the trails solo, it meant a bunch of out and back walks, one section at a time… because no matter how far I walked, I always had to get back to the truck!
Once I finished the Duck Creek Section, I kept going along the Newton Blackmour trail! This trail takes you along the same old rail line, approximately 20 miles, through the towns of Seymour and then continues as it passes through the communities of Black Creek and Shiocton, before ended just outside of New London. Each of these little towns made it easy to find placed to park on each day that I headed out. I love being able to see the history of these towns and that kinda makes me want to go back and learn more of it!
Seymour – The home of the Hamburger! Celebrated every summer at the annual Burger Fest! What better way to celebrate than with burgers, a parade and even a ketchup slide! Besides, who doesn’t want to get their picture taken with a giant hamburger! I’ll have to come back one day when the building is open and explore more of this fun celebration!
Black Creek – Home of Fallen Timbers Environmental area. This outdoor learning center offers hands-on outdoor environmental education experiences for students in the area! There are also miles of trails through their facilities that I would love to also one day explore! I thought out exploring them while I was hiking the area but figured I better finish one trail before starting the next. Plus, technically, the facility was closed so I did not know for sure if that meant the trails too…
Schicton – Home of Stanley the Sturgeon! In the spring you can stop by to visit Stanely and check out the Sturgeon in the river during spawning season. These huge fish are amazing to see up close and personal as they swim along the river, just under the surface of the water! Truly a sight to see! You can actually find Stanley right along the highway as you drive thru, but it is also only a short detour off the trail. There is also a really cool war memorial across the road next to the Sturgeon Viewing area that is worth checking out!
Once you pass through Shioctin, the last town you make it to will be New London! Now, the trail doesn’t actually take you INTO New London but ends just before you get to the city limits. I have heard rumors that there are plans to continue the trail into town, but I have not heard if these are confirmed or when this plans on being done!
As I mentioned, these 2 trails, combined are about 26 miles. Since I tackled hiking this solo, I had to do all out and back hikes, so in the end, it took my about 52 miles to cover it all!
The trail is comprised of mainly crushed gravel and is relatively flat, which is very common for these Rails to Trails systems that are becoming more and more popular! I would love to head back and bike this trail one day too! There are many places along the way to stop and explore, small diners to visit for lunches along the way and who knows what wildlife you might see in many of the remote areas! Aside from the areas where the trail goes through the towns, you are truly surrounded by nature! I saw dozens of rabbits, squirrels and deer along the adventures and only a few people!
Note: This hike was completed over the course of a few weeks, during the Covid-19 pandemic so I did not visit any of the shops or restaurants in these small towns (most were actually closed at the time of my hike). If you visit any of these areas when more things are open, please share with us where you stopped!