Though weathered, the trailhead map is a useful tool for getting the lay of the land before you start this hike.

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SWAN HILL TRAIL (Haddam Regional School District 17)

For a Downloadable Trail Map PDF of this trail, click here.

Owned by Haddam Regional School District 17, running between Saybrook Rd. and Dublin Hill Rd., and offering a beautiful hilltop overlook view of the Connecticut River, this is one of Haddam’s most accessible and rewarding trails. For driving directions click here.

The trailhead is accessed behind Haddam Elementary School on Saybrook Rd. in Higganum. Facing the front of the school, go to the right of the building and walk behind it into a grass playing field. See a kiosk on your right with the trail map.

You will notice on the kiosk map that there are various named sections of this trail system. Trails are marked with HES Nature Preserve signs on some trees, and trail name signs where the segments of the trail system intersect.


Intersections on this trail are clearly marked with trail name signs.

This trail network can be accessed either at the map kiosk, or at the other end of the field at a trail marker for the Bible Rock Brook Trail (shown in the photo at left). Our description starts at the kiosk on the flat, wooded HES Pond Trail. Continue via well-built bridges over wetlands and the trail becomes the Deer Run Trail. Turn right at the intersection onto the Bible Rock Brook Trail, cross another bridge and continue either left or right on the Upland Loop Trail (either way will bring you to the intersection with the Old Cart Trail). Turn left on the Old Cart Trail and and right onto the Swan Hill Trail as it winds uphill. through forest and mountain laurel. The trail flattens out in a rocky laurel covered section at the hill’s highest point. Round a bend and voilà – a beautiful view of the Connecticut River far below. From this point the trail heads downhill and can be difficult to pick out from the forest. To complete the Swan Hill Trail loop, continue on, looking for thin tree trunk rails used as trail boundaries (but which are sometimes covered by leaves or snow) and heading down and to your right, until you meet up again with the Old Cart Trail. Some people prefer to backtrack from the overlook point, to remain on the more clearly marked sections of the trail.

Well-built walkways bridge wetlands in the lower elevations of the trail system. Photo by Halden Block

The Swan Hill Trail offeres one of Higganum’s most beautiful views of the Connecticut River – in all seasons.