Public places offer lots of walking and hiking in Litchfield and northwest CT
Mine Hill Preserve
Mine Hill Road
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the preserve is set on a former iron ore mine and blast furnace. Granite quarries on the property provided stones used in the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and Grand Central Station in New York City. A looping trail of under 4 miles will take hikers along the Donkey Trail (where donkeys used to pull ore wagons), past mine shafts and tunnels, and old mine and furnace foundations. Side trails will take hikers to the granite quarries.
Begins the Town Green, 10 Park Street
This walking tour of this lovely Litchfield town begins at the Town Green and proceeds to the town's Burying Ground, where the oldest gravestone dates to 1749. Soldiers from
the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War,
and the War of 1812 are buried here. The Soldiers Monument commemorates
Abraham Lincoln and 38 men from
Plymouth who died in The Civil War.
Other New England edifices include the Congregational Church, several historic homes, the Gothic Revival Baptist Church, a post office, and The Quiet, a historic inn. The walk is about a half mile long.
H.C. Barnes Nature Center
175 Shrub Road
This nature center features a variety of self-guiding trails, as well as interpretive exhibits and a nature library. The 70 acre sanctuary is home to a variety of species.
Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 2-5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1-5 p.m.
Route 272 to Campbell Falls Road
Campbell Falls State Park is a natural area with no facilities. Visitors enjoy the easy hike to a beautiful, small waterfall on Ginger Creek. Sweet spot for picnicking.
Saugatuck Reservoir Trails
Saugatuck Reservoir is part of a big land preserve in southwestern Connecticut. It is surrounded by 65 miles of hiking trails wending through Redding, Easton, and Weston through woodlands and fields, along shorelines, up rocky mountain sides with great views, and along interesting wetlands. These trails are part of the blue-blazed trail system managed by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association. To hike here, you must contact Aquarion Water Company and ask for a free map of the trail system, which serves as your hiking permit. Contact www.aquarion.com or call 203-452-3511.
Directions: Get onto the trail at the parking lot at the corner of Route 53 and Valley Forge Road, which is 3.5 miles north of Weston Center. To access the trail, walk down the hill on Valley Forge Road for 0.15 miles. The trailheads will be on the left to head north or the right to head south.
325 Cornwall Bridge Road / Route 4
Sharon, CT, 06069
Nature trails meander through gardens, woods and around ponds. Watch for a wide variety of plants, birds, bobcats, beavers, river otters, and deer. Many migratory birds use the property as a lay-over point. The Visitor Center houses the Nature Store, Natural History Museum, and Exhibit Room with live animals and displays and a Children's Adventure Center. Gift shop and book store.
Hours: The Visitors Center and Nature Store are open year round, Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. The building is closed on all major holidays.
Admission: Trails and most programs are $3 for adults; $1.50 for seniors; $1.50 for children
Tomlinson & Laurel Ridge roads
This 209-acre park is managed by the town of Seymour, The land has wild woods with extensive hiking trails. Wonderful views of Housatonic River and valley can be seen from park trails. The park also is noted for its limestone caves.
This pristine, wooded refuge sits on 66 acres and offers prime observation areas for both birds and animals. Hiking trails wend their way through almost the entire site.
Bull's Covered Bridge River Walk
Bull's Bridge Road
A scenic part of the Appalachian Trail. Hikers can enjoy the Bull's Bridge Scenic Trail loop, featuring views of waterfalls and gorges down below on the Housatonic River. The covered bridge was built in 1842. The trail follows the Housatonic River to Ten Mile River Gorge, and then up to the top of Ten Mile Hill.
Directions: At the intersection of routes 341 and 7 in Kent, follow Route 7 south for three miles; turn right onto Bull's Bridge Road; cross the first bridge; go through the covered bridge; cross a third bridge, and park on the left White blazes mark the entrance to the Appalachian Trail. The entrance to Bull's Bridge Scenic Loop is between the covered bridge and the first parking area and is not blazed. Moderate difficulty.
384 Burr Mountain Road
Pond has beach for swimming, canoe & kayak rentals, trails around the shoreline
As easy walking trail hugs the shoreline of this pretty pond, with a sandy beach and boating.
See full description
of Burr Pond State Park
Mattatuck’s many parcels cross several town borders and offer many outdoor and forest experiences for hiking, mountain biking, letterboxing, and hunting. Various trails lead hikers past interesting topography to excellent overlooks. Hunters, in season, make use of the forest for its wide variety of wildlife.
From the intersections of Route 262 and Route 6 in Plymouth, drive south on Route 262 for three and a half miles and park in the unmarked pull-off on the right. The trail descends to the south at first; joins the blue blazed main trail; turns west; follow to the summit.
From Routes 262 and 6 in Plymouth drive south on Route 262 for five miles to the trail head. There is no parking at the trailhead; park at the bottom of the hill and walk back up to the trail head. Enter the woods at the barred gate; cross the bridge; hike to the summit. Trail map.
State Route 272
At the summit of this 1,716 foot peak is a 34 foot high tower. A half-mile trail leads visitors from the parking lot to the tower, from which Long Island Sound, the Berkshires and New York State can be seen.
Water sports in the lake; hiking to tower at mountain top
In addition to water sports, this park is popular for hikes to the lookout tower on Mount Tom, which looms above the lake. The summit is 1325 feet above sea level, and the trail to the tower is less than one mile long and rises 500 feet.
See full description
of Mount Tom State Park.
123 Mad River Road
This park is home to the beginning of the Mattuck Trail
, a 35-mile hike that wends its way up to Mohawk Mountain, in the Litchfield Hills. Peterson Park offers basketball, tennis, volleyball, roller blading, skate park, play areas, and paved walking trails. There is a large picnic grove with many tables and two pavilions.
Between Center Hill Road (Route 181) and East River Road [see map]
Large forests offer all outdoor recreation: camping, water sports, extensive hiking trails
These two adjacent state forests have extensive hiking trails, from easy to difficult. they include:
Henry Buck Trail
(blue blazed; 0.3 mile; overlook from high cliffs); Turkey Vultures Ledges Trail
(blue; easy hike to scenic views; 0.4 mile); Agnes Bowen Trail
(orange; a ski trail from the 1930; 2.5 miles); Charles Pack Trail
(yellow; 1.9 miles); Elliot Bronson Trail
(red; a rugged climb over Ragged Mountain; 1.5 miles);
Jessie Gerard Trail
(yellow; passes an old Indian settlement, a lighthouse, 299 stone steps; some of the best views in the state; Robert Ross Trail
(blue; 2 miles); Walt Landgraf
(red; leads to an area of rock ledges known as the Indian Caves; 0.2 miles).
for American Legion and Peoples State Forests.
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of American Legion and Peoples State forests
178 Shortwoods Road
New Fairfield, CT, 06810
Pond is centerpiece of wooded park with beach, swimming, boating, hiking trails, ice skating, cross country skiing
There are plenty of nice, wooded, and well-mapped hiking paths in the woods and hills about the lake at this park for walkers and hiker of all abilities. Hiking map.
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of Squanz State Park
462 Kent Cornwall Road (Route 7)
Cascading waterfall, covered bridge, hiking trails. Great for picnics, walking
this beautiful parrk focuses on waterfalls descending to the Housatonic River. There are many mapped trails all around the drainage area of the streams joining the waterfalls.
See full description
of Kent Falls State Park
Flanders Nature Center
Flanders Nature Center has access to many walking and hiking trails on the Van Vleck Farm and Nature Sanctuary and the Whittemore Sanctuary. Trails are used for birding watching, nature photography, and in the winter cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Some trail names are “Wildlife Vegetation Trail,” “Farm Trail,” “Wilderness Trail,” “Botany Trail,” and “Old Orchard Trail.” Trails at the Whittemore Sanctuary offer views of natural vistas. Trails open from sunrise to sunset. Trail maps are available at the Welcome Center at the Van Vleck Farm Sanctuary at the corner of Church Hill and Flanders Roads in Woodbury.Trail maps.
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Route 41 three miles north of Salisbury
Bear Mountain in Salisbury has the tallest point in Connecticut at 2,316 feet. There are several trails to the top, and all are categorized as strenuous. One trail to Bear Mountain is the Undermountain Trail, which you can get onto about three miles north of Salisbury off of Route 41. (A a dirt parking lot on the left hand side may be obscured by bushes in summer.) Undermountain Trail rises straight up for two miles and then meets the Appalachian Trial. When you reach the large wooden trail sign as Undermountain and Appalachian Trails meet, turn right onto the Appalachian Trail. Walks another mile to the top of Bear Mountain; there is a short, steep rise the last few 100 yards. Length: 5-6 miles round trip.
Woodcock Nature Center
56 Deer Run Road
Set on 146 acres, the nature center has numerous walking and hiking trails. The area offers great opportunities for birdwatching and observation of geology. Regular walks and programs are scheduled throughout the year. Gift shop on the premises.
Located on 149 acres of state-protected land, the Woodcock Nature Preserve includes a pond, wetlands and three miles of trails through woods. The center keeps many living local and exotic creatures including snakes, frogs and lizards. A few injured birds of prey live at the center. Trail map.
Hours: Monday-Friday and most Saturdays from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; summers, Monday-Friday only. The trails are open daily from dawn to dusk.