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Montauk

Culloden Point

 

 

The Culloden Point trailhead is near the tip of the South Fork on its north shore.  To get there, travel past where Second House Road intersects Montauk Highway; pass Emory Street and South Embassy Street (note the sign for public rest rooms).  Turn left onto the small semi-circular street called The Plaza. Bear right onto South Edgemere Street (CR-49) which becomes Flamingo Avenue. After traveling approximately 2 miles, you will see the trailhead on the west (left) side of the road. There is no sign visible from the road. At the trailhead there is a small plaque commemorating a shipwreck from Revolutionary War times when the British fleet used East Hampton waters for blockading Connecticut. One of the ships, the HMS Culloden, ran aground on the north shore of Montauk, (now called Culloden Point) during a storm on January 24, 1781.  The ship was stripped of valuables and burned. The scuttled ship was discovered in the1970s and is now Long Island's only underwater park. Remains of the ship can be seen at the East Hampton Marine Museum in Amagansett.

The access trail to the loop, the loop trail, and the trail to Will’s Point are all blazed with the same blue-painted rectangles, and the trail to Culloden Point is unblazed.  Without a map and compass, this would be a confusing experience, even though the walk from the parking area to Culloden Point is less than a mile. The map of East Hampton trails is available from the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society, $11 including postage for EHTPS members and $16 including postage for non-members.

To understand the trails at Culloden Point visualize the following: There is a wide dirt woods road that heads NE from Flamingo Road. The road splits near two glacial erratics.  One branch heads SE (to the left) towards Will’s Point; the other continues straight ahead, NE towards Culloden Point, forming a Y.  The base of the Y sits at the parking area on Flamingo Road; the two arms of the Y lead to the two points into the Sound. EHTPS created an enjoyable, excellently engineered trail that runs between the arms of this Y.  From that trail, another trail takes you to the Sound by Will’s Point.

Enter the trail by walking around a metal gate.  Follow a straight unpaved wide woods road approximately 0.3 miles.  In the spring, you may need to work your way around two pond-sized puddles here.  Arrive at a Y intersection by two glacial erratics.  Glacial erratics are boulders transported and deposited by the glaciers; called erratics because they don’t match the native stones.  At the glacial erratics bear left, and pass a lovely pond on your left.  After about 0.2 miles, where the trail is eroded into a ravine, be alert for the right that takes you off the woods road and onto the Gunnunks Garden Trail (built 2005).  The trail is named after Lucy Gunnunks, one of the Montaukett Indians who lived in this area.  This portion of trail winds its way though an enchanting knob and kettle topography with dazzling dips into the water table.  Follow the trail over a small brook on a single plank bridge that EHTPS built last year.  Pass by the right turn that continues the loop.  The breathtaking sights and sounds of Block Island Sound soon greet you as you emerge from the woods.  Mark the sand where the trail enters the beach because it is difficult to find the opening to this trail from the beach.

Following the trail back, a left turn blaze shows the continuation of the hiking loop. Continuing straight would take you back the way you came for a 1.5 mile hike.  Be alert as you continue along the loop trail; it is marked sparsely with blue blazes and white dots and easy to lose.  When you reach the other arm of the Y, turn left along the unmarked, narrow woods road NE to Culloden Point.  Pass through a metal swing gate, turn right and follow the signs to the parking area.  There is a viewing platform at the Culloden Point overlook and stairs leading down the bluffs to the beach.  This overlook is also accessible by driving to the end of Soundview Drive. From here you can follow the shoreline north to the mark you made in the sand earlier, or you can retrace your steps and return to finish the loop trail.

Using the Whalen map, you may wish to explore other parts of this trail system.  You might visit Stephen’s Pond by bearing right when you reach the glacial erratics.  This would be a nice side excursion to this hike. 

Culloden Point

Eva’s Hike

The Culloden Point hike is a new hike offered by the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society (EHTPS). When I read the driving directions to the trailhead I was concerned because I couldn’t follow them on my road atlas.  It was too late to call the hike leader, and I would be leaving too early in the morning to call on Saturday.  I had Charles Whalen’s trail map and it showed the parking area, so I left feeling fairly confident. If you are interested in buying a copy of this excellent map call 631-324-1127 and ask for Richard of EHTPS Member’s Services Committee.

I am always touched by the considerate and caring people I meet on hikes.  When I arrived at the meeting area I overheard several hikers say they were waiting in the wrong place and would have missed the hike if another hiker hadn’t directed them to the trailhead.  All through the hike our leader and a couple of designated sweeps kept checking to be certain that we didn’t lose anyone on the trail.  Eva Moore (EHTPS VP in charge of hike scheduling) who was participating in the hike accompanied a slower moving hiker on a special truncated hike, out to Block Island Sound and back. 

To follow Eva’s 1.5-mile hike you enter the trail by walking around a metal gate and pass a Town sign that during the winter says “Caution, Hunting in Progress”.  After approximately 0.3 miles of walking along a straight wide woods road you arrive at a “Y” intersection by two glacial erratics.  Glacial erratics are boulders transported and deposited by the glaciers.  They are called erratics because they don’t match the other native forms of stone found where they appear.  At the glacial erratics bear left, and pass a lovely pond on your left.  After about 0.2 miles, where the trail becomes eroded into a ravine, you will see a trail to your right.  Presently it is easy to miss this turn, but two EHTPS trails maintainers I met while I was walking there after the hike, reassured me that by the time this article was out the Gunnunks Garden Trail would be blazed with blue rectangles.  Rick Whalen, one of the maintainers, explained that the trail is named after Lucy Gunnunks one of the Montaukett Indians who lived in this area.  After making the turn, follow the trail over a small brook.  Origionally there was some rocks and a tree trunk to help you get across, EHTPS recently built a bridge there.  Another right fork before you reach the shoreline continues into a loop and takes you to the overlook and another pond.  Last Saturday we walked past this fork in the trail and soon heard waves hitting the shore.  When we came out of the woods were greeted by a lovely view of Block Island Sound.  Also, during the hike there was the sound of hikers shush, shushing through a thick layer of leaves.  Take care; these leaves hide rocks and depressions that can cause a twisted ankle.
 

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Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

Ken Kindler
Open Space & Trails Advocate
Post Office Box 1466
Sayville NY 11782
ken@litlc.org

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