The Rocky Glen segment has some of the best views on Al's Trail, including the Pootatuck River scenic overlook and the steep cliff faces near the abandoned bridge on Black Bridge Rd.
The Fabric Fire Hose Co. (The Lower Mill) was rebuilt in its present form after fire in 1856 destroyed the original 1846 building. This factory pioneered the production of rubber products such as elevator belts and mailbags, after Charles Goodyear discovered the process of vulcanizing rubber to make it usable. From 1901, the Fabric Fire Hose Company was the primary producer of fire hose made of rubberized fabric. Today, its products are found all over the world.
In 1750 prospectors attempted to extract gold and silver from an old gold mine. Effort continued into the 19th century but with no commercial success. Above the now-filled mineshaft, is a natural bridge caused by the erosion of Mine Brook.
Black Bridge was constructed in the late 18th century. During the last 150 years, until the demise of the rubber factories in 1978, the company’s Irish employees who lived on Walnut Tree Hill Road used this bridge to cross the Pootatuck. There remains the skeletal structure of Black Bridge.
Across the Pootatuck River, named for the Native Tribe, The Upper Mill was first a yarn mill beginning in 1855. It was acquired by the New York Belting and Packing Co. in 1873 and used to recycle rubber, the nation’s earliest commercial attempts to recycle waste products. The original factory, burned in 1887, was immediately replaced with the present structure.
Talus, tailings and a mining road lead to a pegmatite outcropping that was mined for feldspar in the 1920s. The feldspar, sent by train to New Jersey, was used to make high quality porcelain. Eagle Rock Road, now abandoned, lies under a picturesque overlook called Eagle Hill.
Costello’s Opera House on 2.5 acres near the Dayton Street Bridge brought music to Sandy Hook. Constructed in 1894 it lasted until late 1897 when consumed by fire. One can still find the foundation.
The Dayton Street Bridge shortened the walk to the Rubber Factories for the Irish employees who lived on Dayton Street.
The Rocky Glen segment starts at the end of the paved portion of Black Bridge Rd., and begins with a steep climb from Black Bridge Rd. to Antler Pine Rd. Turn left on Antler Pine Rd, and then right on Acorn Drive. Follow Acorn Dr. to the end, and turn left on Walnut Tree Hill Road. Turn left and follow it for about a 1/4 mile. Turn left off of the road at the Newtown Forest Association sign and continue downhill to the scenic overlook just north of Rocky Glen State Park. Descend the steep trail to the river and follow the yellow blazes to the end at Dayton Street.
White Trail: From Dayton St. Follow Yellow trail past the falls and the Green trail. After the next stream crossing, go left on the White trail and follow it to the mining road. See the feldspar mine near the wooden bridge. Continue on the White trail to the Yellow trail and go right to return to Dayton St.
Green Trail: From Dayton St. Follow Yellow trail and go left at the Green trail after the falls. Follow the creek to the mining road, and look for the remains of the mill race that was built to divert the stream. See the feldspar mine just over the bridge when you join the White trail. Go left on the White trail and follow back to Yellow trail. Go right to return to Dayton St.
Gold Mine and Natural Bridge: From Black Bridge Rd. Follow Black Bridge Rd. (not Al's Trail up the steep hill) after the paved road ends almost to the river. See the side trail to the right just before the stream, and follow it up the hillside to the gold mine and natural bridge.