Public places offer lots of walking and hiking in Fairfield and southwest CT
10 Woodside Lane Westport, CT Phone: 203-227-7253
Admission: Adults and children older than 12, $7; children and seniors, $5. Grounds and outdoor bird enclosures free.
Hours: Open: Year-round, daily except major holidays
Newman-Woodward Trail (20 minutes) winds through an oak and beech forest with high leaf canopy and silvery trunks.
Wadsworth Trail (15 minutes) follows a wetlands. Many amphibians live in the standing water in spring. Good trail to see ferns and wildflowers.
Universal Design Nature Trail is accessible to people wheelchairs or using walkers. The trail winds through an open meadow where native grasses and abundant birdlife can be found.
High Woods Trail (20 minutes) travels through open fields and mixed hardwood forests. Good location for watching hawks in the fall.
Eloise A. Ray Trail (20 minutes) is an old farmstead now covered with locust trees and shrubs. Good trail for bird watching.
Swamp Loop Trail (30 minutes) is the best for viewing spring and summer wildflowers. The trail winds past a swamp, a freshwater stream, a pond, and woodlands. Watch letterboxes along the trail.
New Canaan Nature Center
144 Oenoke Ridge New Canaan, CT, 06840 Phone: 203-966-9577
Hours: Grounds open dawn to dusk daily; buildings and officer open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Donation requested.
Mianus River Preserve & Park / Cary Road Nature Preserve / Mianus Pond
Cary Road Greenwich/Stamford border, CT Phone: 203-977-4692
To get there: Take U.S. 1 toward Stamford; after leaving Cos Cob and crossing the Mianus Bridge turn left onto Cary Road. Mianus Park is on Cary Road.
Hours: Year-round, daily, daylight hours.
151 Brookdale Road Stamford, CT Phone: 203-322-6971
Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Fairfield -- Larsen Wildlife Sanctuary
2325 Burr Street Fairfield, CT Phone: 203-259-6305
Howe Avenue Shelton, CT Phone: 203-735-4311
Sweet riverside park for water sports and picnicking. Easy walking trails along the river.
613 Riversville Road Greenwich, CT Phone: 203-869-5272
Connecticut Audubon Society Birdcraft Museum and Sanctuary
314 Unquowa Road Fairfield, CT, 06824 Phone: 203-259-0416
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The six-acre Birdcraft Sanctuary is open daily, year-round, from dawn to dusk.
33 Pent Road Weston, CT Phone: 203-226-4991