Listen can you hear the birds singing, the rustling of leaves, the wind in the trees, the falling drops of light spring rain, or footfalls of children scrambling up a trail. Can you feel the wind on your face, the sunbeams caress across your back. Can you sense the mystery that is coming with each step. No, then maybe a few pictures of what you’ve been missing will help.
Bookmark this Trail Guide for easy access.
Air Line State Park Trail and Lyman viaduct, Colchester and East Hampton, CT. It’s unique in its outstanding views, and any portion of this 50-mile trail can be an exhilarating one! Off Route 2, Exit 16 on 149 and River Road. Join the hundreds of people on this trail at any time on a beautiful weekend day. Most people with bicycles start at the parking area directly near Route 2, here you can safely cross under Route 2 to head toward Hebron, and its swamp and marshland or ride toward E. Hampton, through the Colchester portion.
Belding Wildlife Management Area and Belding Preserve, Vernon, CT. It’s has fairy tale like setting with Norway Spruce rising high above you; truely unique compared to any park we reviewed! It’s dense forest of “Tar Pines and Spruce trees, will astound you invoking memories of childhood stories. Be sure to take your time strolling through the back pathways and loop the river that runs through it.
Bigelow Hollow State Park and Nipmuck Forest, Union CT can be found at the end of the state’s loneliest highway, I-84. Devoid of people from the fall through to spring; you will find yourself alone most of the time. Of course the occasional hiker, or boater will disturb your peace and soon disappear again. Bring lunch stay all day here for free. Best hike for large families in Connecticut with ample places to roam, picnic and have fun.
Blackledge Falls, Glastonbury CT is just a short stop on Rte 94; and worth the hike with a vast pond to fish in, a blue blazed trail to travel on and of course there is the incredible waterfalls.
Bluff Point, Groton CT. Where else in Connecticut, can you take pictures of three different harbor light houses just from one spot. Connecticut’s last undeveloped glacial rock filled coastal pennisula, Bluff Point, Groton CT.
Campbell Falls State Park, Norfolk CT. Enchanting, inviting and surreal. Massive Norway spruce dotted with maple bring this place to life. Seems like a fairy tale or a park in a distant European country you briefly saw on television. Come here as this place will enlighten you and thrill you. Don’t take my word for it, come here yourself; it’s open all year.
Case Mountain Park, Manchester CT, has Lookout Mountain with its vast view of the Connecticut Valley. An easy walk up the hill can be had through the forest along the back of the mountain, connect via the waterfall above the parking lot. If you hike the main emergency road expect a definite workout and you will notice the burn in your muscles afterward. So try the back way for one of best the hiking mountains in the Hartford area.
Castle Craig Tower, Meriden CT Castle Craig Tower on the Hanging Hills of Meriden. Yes it’s a real mountain 970 feet high and hiking up here is a real work-out. The north part of this great park is opened to hikers in good weather. The road is closed from November to April so you will have little choice but to hike the face of the mountain or go the long way up the back road of the park.
Farmington River Rail Trail, Burlington CT is a great place to catch some hiking time away from it all. Catch the fall foliage and color changes along the river. While you venture with your friend’s and family up along this fascinating trail that leads to the massive mill and dam at the end. Enjoy the river; but watch out it runs very fast here.
Fox Hill Tower, and the trails of Vernon, CT are popular spots for viewing of the Connecticut Fall foliage. You can see the leaves change to beautiful hues of golden fall colors. This is accessible all year round and really worth the trip. An easy drive to the tower parking area will be delight for the handicapped as well as the able-bodied. Take your whole family, young and old to visit this peaceful little park overlooking Rockville.
Freja Park & Bolton Notch, Bolton CT, is more than just a cliff face with its vast valley of maple and oak, mixed with pine. Try parking at Bolton Pond and start one of many adventures from here. The Rail trail starts here, the pond is great for fishing, the valley awaits you or climb any one of the cliffs; there is more than one way up to the top here.
Haystack Mountain Tower, Norfolk CT can take your breath away. Nestled in the hills of Western Connecticut, this beautiful tower is worth the steep climb up the steep hill, and the walk up this 37 foot tall stone tower is exhilarating. Just be sure to bring your camera with you, because it will be surely something you will enjoy sharing with others.
Heritage Farm and the Rose Trail, Bolton CT. Signs warn you this is an archaeological treasure area, do not take anything out of here. Two hundred plus years ago, French Troops encamped here, and now this graceful field is full of life again where a weary trail walker rest upon its various benches that dot this really nice place.
Heublein Mountain, Talcott Mountain State Park, Bloomfield and Simsbury CT, offers more than just spectacular views, it offers you a chance at bird watching of an extraordinary variety. Sure there are turkey buzzards, there are hawks, and black ravens. But “Eagles” have been known to appear along the cliff face and that my friends is extra cool and worth the trip no matter what time of the year.
Hockanum River Trails, Ellington, CT. Hockanum river borders this great hiking trail system in Ellington, CT. The river is named after “Hocquaun” a native American word for bent river.
Hop River Rail Trail, Columbia to Bolton, CT Notice all the cars in the lots but no people. They’re either fishing or out riding their bicycles. If your running, walking or riding this section of the trail in Columbia, watch out for horses. This is favorite place for the local horse ranches, because of the soft red dirt, that covers the old railroad stone.
Laurel Marsh Trail, Manchester CT this place offers more than you might think, with its long walk along the marshland of the Hockanum river. This trail has several bridges and one that in particular that is so cool. Sure it may not have been constructed with this look in mind but it’s appears that after it sank in some spots they just kept on building this oddly shaped crooked bridge. This place is also well know for it bird habitat and the flocks that arrive here every spring as they make their way north.
Ravine trail, Talcottville, CT The foundations of the old mill buildings that once stood here are now gone. This place is unique and few people walk here. You may find this little trail off the highway pretty exciting if you are the adventurous type and don’t mind a little traffic noise. Ravine trail is hidden along the I-84 in Talcottville, CT.
River Highlands State Park, Cromwell CT where a walk to the low bluffs and high 150 foot bluffs can bring you to the outstanding views of the Connecticut river. This wondrous place has a mystery surrounding it’s famous blow hole; that Native Americans claimed the “wind was caught by spirit of the earth” which then made a tremendous noise as it rushed the canyon created by the river.
Rocky Glen State Park and Al’sTrail in Newtown CT. That’s right a real person created this unique and impossible trail. You should be warned that only mountain goats can pass the trail as it bends along a series of unique cliffs and hundred foot tall trees, that hold the face of this massive cliff together.
Scantic River Linear Park, Scitico CT, a nice big park hidden off of Route 190 in northern Connectiut. Worth the stop and fishing is very popular here. Try this place during any season and enjoy the well kept trails. Two unique trails run along the river front make for a great day out.
Shenipist Trail, Connecticut The Shenipsit trail has 40 miles of trails strung together and is surely one of the longest trail’s in Connecticut. A “Blue-blazed trail system starting just outside of Portland CT ending in Somers CT.
Sleeping Giant State Park, Hamden CT, has an easy way to get to the top, above the trees, with a wide path all the way to a huge castle like tower. There are many places to gather here and spend the afternoon viewing the distant city of New Haven or just walking the many pathways across this mountain.
Soapstone Mountain, Somers CT is an ideal place far from the highways and right on the northern edge of Connecticut River Valley. It also perfect for leaf viewing with an very easy climb to the tower from the upper parking lot. Many have heard of this mountain top, but few have ever visited. Try coming here anytime before winter begins and experience it for yourself.
Union Pond and the Hockanum River Trail, Manchester CT. This trail can even reach Vernon’s Golfland amusement center, where the Hockanum river race starts in Spring. Great place for an adventure and photos. You can hike below the falls of Union Pond Dam where a massive pipe once harnessed the water for a mill. Or walk along the section near the highway or behind the Silk Worms Baseball team home field along Union Pond.
Valley Falls Park, Vernon, CT. The Valley below Webster Preserve is a decent place for the family to hike together, with gradual and level trails outstanding wildlife and interesting view.
Webster Preserve, Vernon, CT is an ideal hike to get your heart rate cranking. That pace is all yours but this one mile ascent has become annual right of spring around here for many hikers.
Wickham Park East Hartford, CT is a great spot to view the Connecticut Valley, but also one where the park’s forest is so diverse and the plant life so vast that you will find something unique every time you come here.
Trail guide has been updated May 2011