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Connecticut's parks, nature centers, arboretums offer great walking trails

From riversides to hill country to the seaside on Long Island sound, Connecticut has many wonderful places for walking and hiking. City walks can take you into the historic corners of New Haven and Hartford and the dining and shopping corner known as SoNo in South Norwalk. Gardens are abundant in city parks and in rural areas. The state parks alone could provide a lifetime of great hikes for kids, adults, older people, in all seasons of the year.

Reservoir Autumn View - Historic Wethersfield, CT
Historic Wethersfield

Whether you’re a hiker or a stroller, Wethersfield has a trail or tour for you

You’ll have your choice of environment when you walk or hike through any of Wetherfield’s 644 acres of parkland. A heritage trail takes you past pumpkin fields, farm stands, historic sites and the homes of sea captains. Meadow walks might offer you a glimpse of an eagle, hawk or kestrel. Stroll past ponds (take time out for a dip!) and through shady forests; try your hand at geocaching or letterboxing; or just walk down Main Street and through the Broad Street Green with its stately old homes and trees as high as 15 stories. Or check in with the historical society for a schedule of their walking tours of the cemetery and Old Wethersfield as well as tours by lantern light.
bartlett arboretum in ct
Bartlett Arboretum

151 Brookdale Road Stamford, CT Phone: 203-322-6971

This large property offers nature viewing and education, along with lots of marked walking trails. Guided tours during warm seasons visit the cottage, perennial and sundial gardens; red maple wetlands and wildflower meadow; fall wildflower and tree identification; and champion and notable tree collection. - Trail Map
See full description, including hours and admission, at our Science and Nature pages.
earthplace in ct

10 Woodside Lane Westport, CT Phone: 203-227-7253

Natural history museum with exhibits for children, live animals, trails, playground and a gift shop are all part of this wildlife sanctuary. This 62-acre property has several easy trails, including a universal access trail that can be used by people in wheelchairs or using walkers. It is an old farm and still shows evidence of stone walls, open fields, and wagon roads through the woods. Dogs are not permitted on the trails.
Hours: Open: Year-round, daily except major holidays.
Admission: Adults and children older than 12, $7; children and seniors, $5. Grounds and outdoor bird enclosures free.
Burr Pond State Park

384 Burr Mountain Road Torrington, CT Phone: 860-482-1817

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. - Trail Map
For additional information see our State & Local Parks page.
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Trails of Stony Creek Quarry, Van Wie, and Kelley Preserves

Off Quarry Road Guilford, CT Phone:

The Stony Creek Quarry, Van Wie & Kelley Preserves form a total land area of more than 480 acres, including an old granite quarry that is still in use. The land is rugged, with altitude changes and lots of piles of quarry rubble. Trails to the west of the active quarry are fairly easy. Trails to the east of the quarry are more rugged and difficult. Total distance of all trails is about 11 miles. See link to map for various trails to choose from. Properties are open during daylight hours plus one hour before and after. Stay on the trails and please carry out everything you carry in. No open fires or camping. Motorized vehicles are prohibited.
Directions: Take Route 146 from Stony Creek to Guilford. Turn left on Quarry Road and park in the lot on the right. Or park on Red Hill Road, which is off Leetes Island Road, 0.1 mile south of I-95. Brochure and map.
Edgewood Park

Edgewood Avenue New Haven, CT Phone: 203-946-8028

Lovely urban park; good for strolling, tennis, skateboarding, bird watching, relaxation

Edgewood Park is an important and well-loved outdoor resource for the people and visitors of New Haven. The park offers places to walk and jog, watch birds, do some cross-country skiing, play tennis, skateboard at Coogan Pavilion, or just relax by a lovely pond. The park has the Coogan Pavilion & Gazebo, a playground, several ponds and the city's West River, many walking trails and a sensory trail, a skate park, a dog run, and wetlands viewing station, and more.
Hours: Open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset
birdcraft museum ct
Connecticut Audubon Birdcraft Museum & Sanctuary

314 Unquowa Road Fairfield, CT, 06824 Phone: 203-259-0416

Historic museum highlights natural history of the state with dioramas, wildlife exhibits, and dinosaur footprints. Adjacent 6-acre sanctuary with trails.
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The six-acre Birdcraft Sanctuary is open daily, year-round, from dawn to dusk.
Mount Tom State Park

Route 202 Litchfield, CT Phone: 860-567-8870

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. - Park Map
See a full description on our State & Local Parks page.
Greenwich CT Audubon
Audubon Center of Greenwich

613 Riversville Road Greenwich, CT Phone: 203-869-5272

This full-service nature center with lots of exhibits and activities also offers 7 miles of walking trails. Trail Map
See full description at our Science and Nature pages.
Gillette Castle in East Haddam-shutterstock
Gillette Castle State Park and Mansion

67 River Road, off Route 82 East Haddam, CT, 06423 Phone: 860-526-2336

Short, steep, and sweet hikes abound on this property, the former home of a famous stage actor of the early 20th century. Many picnic spots overlook the beautiful Connecticut River far below the top the hill, where a fanciful castle was the home of William Gillette. - Hiking Map
See a full description on our State & Local Parks page.
Cockaponset State Forest and Pattaconk Lake Recreation Area

18 Ranger Road Haddam, CT Phone: 860-566-2304

Large state forest; good for fishing, hiking & walking, horseback riding, snowmobiling

metacomet trail
Metacomet Trail

Route 20 East Granby, CT Phone: 860-346-2372

The 62-mile Metacomet Trail follows a ridge from the Hanging Hills of Meriden to the Massachusetts border. A walk on this trail rewards hikers with beautiful views, wildlife sightings, and pass-by views of landmarks like Castle Craig in Hubbard Park, Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, and the Heublein Tower in Talcott Mountain State Park in Simsbury. The Metacomet Trails intersects other trail systems, offering many opportunities for loop hikes.
The Metacomet Trail is part of the 215 mile New England National Scenic Trail (NET). The NET travels and connects various trails from the Long Island Sound to the Massachusetts / New Hampshire border.
Norbrook Family Brewery & Farm Trails

204 Stillman Hill Road Colebrook, CT Phone:

Enjoy a beer, then a farm trail walk, then a beer, and repeat. Norbrook Farm Brewery welcomes guests to ease up to the copper bar and enjoy farmhouse-style beers, ales and lagers. Also available: food trucks, small nooks or family-style tables for indoor seating, a patio in the warm seasons, and a sunroom overlooking the farm field and distant windmills. The brewery is found on this “Walking and Hiking” page, because the farm’s 450 acres have miles of trails, for walking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, and disc golfing. The tasting room does not have to be open for you to use the property, though the trails are closed, for safety, at sunset. Norbrook Farm Trail Farm trail map.
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, noon-8 p.m.
Kettletown State Park

1400 George's Hill Road (Off I-84 at Exit 15) Southbury, CT Phone: 860-424-3200

Lots of water sports are done at this park on the Housatonic River; also near Lake Zoar

Visitors can enjoy nature programs, fishing, hiking trails (including one for the handicapped), swimming and picnic areas. Plenty of lovely walks and hikes, and the state offers a handy map to guide you. - Trail Map - Camping Map
Admission: Parking fee is $9 for state-registered vehicles and $15 for out-of-state vehicles.
Sleeping Giant State Park

200 Mount Carmel Avenue Hamden, CT, 06518 Phone: 203-287-5658

Hiking and trout fishing are best activities at this ridge top park overlooking New Haven

A two-mile walk to the tower atop this park yields a great great view of New Haven and the shoreline of Long Island Sound. - Trail Map
See a full description on our State & Local Parks page.
Pequot Trails

Departing from locations on or near Foxwoods Resort Ledyard, CT Phone:

The starting points for these trails are locations of buildings that make up the Foxwood Resort. The fox paw prints in the Great Cedar Casino lobby (at 350 Trolley Line Blvd., Ledyard, CT) will guide you to your choice of trails. You can opt for the path that takes you to the outside exhibits of the Pequot Museum (at 110 Pequot Trail, Ledyard, CT) or try the scenic trail loop behind the Two Trees Inn (at 240 Indiantown Road, Ledyard, CT). For a more vigorous walk, the Lantern Hill Trail takes you up nearly 500 feet above sea level, with views out to the Atlantic. Refer totrail map/
Bellamy Preserve and Other Properties of the Bethlehem Land Trust

Route 61 and Bellamy Lane Bethlehem, CT Phone:

Bethlehem Land Trust holds and preserves 360 acres over 17 parcels in Bethlehem, the largest of them being the 81-acre Bellamy Preserve. At least four of the properties have walking paths and online trail maps, for use by the public. They are:
Bellamy Preserve. Access and parking are located on Munger Lane in the center of Bethlehem.
Two Rivers Preserve has a scenic path along Weekeepeemee River from the parking area. It is located on Route 132, about a mile and a half west of Bethlehem.
Long Horizon has a trail that meanders along a ravine, around the field and through a young arboretum. Visitors can reach the trail through Swendsen Farm Preserve or from Long Horizon Road.
B. Earl Canfield Jr. Preserve is on the southeast side of Still Hill Road; there is parking at the bottom of the valley.
Map of Open Spaces.
Devil's Hopyard State Park

366 Hopyard Road East Haddam, CT Phone: 860-873-8566

Popular hiking and camping area with scenic picnic spots and fresh-water fishing.

The red and white nature trail is about a quarter-mile long and offers wildlife viewing opportunities. Including this one, there are some shorter trails surrounding a small pond in the park’s southern region. Explore scenic views along the Yellow Witch Hazel and Orange Vista Trails. - Park Map
See a full description on our State & Local Parks page.
Rock Spring Wildlife Refuge / Preserve

Pudding Hill Road (Route 97) three miles south of Route 6 Scotland, CT Phone: 203-568-6270

The three-mile loop trail has options for shorter hikes leading through mature oak forest, open fields, and along Little River on this 450-acre property. Trails lead past glacial kettle ponds to an overlook of the Little River Valley. Used for hiking, cross country skiing, bird watching. Rock Spring preserve and parking area are on the right, just north of the James V. Spignesi Jr. Wildlife Management Area.
Mine Hill Preserve

Mine Hill Road Roxbury, CT Phone:

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.
Kent Falls State Park

462 Kent Cornwall Road (Route 7) Kent, CT Phone: 860-927-3238

Cascading waterfall, covered bridge, hiking trails. Great for picnics, walking

This beautiful park focuses on waterfalls descending to the Housatonic River. There are many mapped trails all around the drainage area of the streams joining the waterfalls. - Hiking Map
See a full description on our State & Local Parks page.
Sharon Audubon Center

325 Cornwall Bridge Road / Route 4 Sharon, CT, 06069 Phone: 860-364-0520

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
Essex Village

Perched aside a wooded section of the Connecticut River, Essex is the quintessential New England riverside town of historic clapboard buildings and tree-lined streets. Its three village centers have fine examples of Colonial and Federal architecture. A walk through town would start at the Essex town dock at the end of Main Street and then proceed up Main Street, passing the Connecticut River Museum and Griswold Inn. Where Main Street splits, turn left onto North Main and walk toward the Riverview Cemetery. Continuing, take a left on Grove Street and a left on Prospect Street to loop back to your starting point.
Center at Pomfret (Audubon Bird Conservation area)

218 Day Road Pomfret Center, CT Phone: 860-928-4948

Maintained by the Connecticut Audubon Society. Designated trails run throughout the property. The Audobon Society hosts frequent guided birdwalks and workshops on gardening and area wildlife. The Center at Pomfret manages the 168-acre Trail Wood Sanctuary. See Santuary Map on Center's website
Hours: Trail Wood Sanctuary, year-round, daily, dawn to dusk
Information: www.ctaudubon.org/center-at-pomfret/
Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area

Route 69 Burlington, CT Phone: 860-675-8130

Visitors to this natural preserve are treated to a beaver marsh, an observation tower, and a waterfall. Walking and hiking trails feature information signs and demonstrations of wildlife management practices.
Hours: Year-round, dawn to dusk.
Mattabesett Trail -- Route 77 to Route 17

Route 77 and Fire Tower Road (north of Bluff Head Cemetery) Guilford, CT, 06437 Phone:

This five-mile-long and moderately difficult trail is part of the 220-mile New England Trail. Start your walk at the Bluff Head trail head parking area on Route 77 near Bluff Head Cemetery. This route is part of the Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail System. Bluff Head has wonderful southward views to Long Island Sound and north to the Coginchaug Valley. The trail is rocky and has some inclines.
Hours: Dawn to dusk
Lucius Pond Ordway - Devil's Den Preserve

33 Pent Road Weston, CT Phone: 203-226-4991

This is the Nature Conservancy’s largest preserve in Connecticut. It protects part of the watershed of the Saugatuck River. The property includes woodlands, wetlands and rock ledges and a series of north-south ridges and valleys woven with streams and swamps. Good place for hiking and bird watching. - Trail Map
Bigelow Hollow State Park & Nipmuck State Forest

Route 171 Union, CT Phone:

Large forested park with lots of hiking trails; water sports at one lake and 3 ponds

This 9,000-acre combine state park and state forest have an extensive trail system, with marked trails from Bigelow Hollow to the Breakneck area for a distance of six miles. Trails west of the park road both form loops and are shorter than trails to Breakneck. The trail system is maintained by Connecticut Forest and Park Association. The trails are usable for cross country skiing and snowmobiling when there is snow cover. - Hiking Map
See a full description on our State & Local Parks page.
Lake Saltonstall Recreation Area

entrances off Hosley Avenue Branford, CT Phone: 203-401-2654

Lake Saltonstall has nine miles of trails for hiking, biking, and wildlife watching, and it also is a great freshwater fishing locations. The lake is stocked. A wheelchair-accessible floating pier is located on site. A fish shack is located just off Hosley Avenue. Boats are available for rent. The shack is staffed during fishing season.
Permitted Uses: This site requires a Regional Water Authority permit. No motored vehicles allowed. Fishing is allowed by state permit. Swimming are dogs are prohibited.
Directions: Lake Saltonstall can be reached via I-95 Exit 52 to Route 1. There are two gated entrances off Hosley Avenue.
Penwood State Park

Route 185, Simsbury Road Bloomfield, CT Phone: 860-566-2304

Most of this 800-acre park’s hiking trails begin and end at the main picnic site. Trails are color-coded loops, with the exception of the Nature Trail, which encircles Lake Louise and passes by the scenic pinnacle overlook. Year-round chances to see wildlife such as birds and wildflowers.
Walking Tours of Art at Yale University

The campus of Yale University in the city of New Haven is rich with public art and interesting architecture. A very helpful map and self-guided walking tour (PDF) of art on the Yale campus is available, with explanations and directions to public works by Maya Lin, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, and others. Also, the Yale Visitor Center at 149 Elm Street leads free group walking tours of public art at Yale by request; call a week before the requested date.
Barn Island State Wildlife Management Area

Palmer Neck Road Pawcatuck, CT Phone:

This wildlife management area displays the varied and beauty of coastal Connecticut. It has four miles of trails for walking and hiking, through forest and tidal marshes, with great views of birds and waterfowl. Watch for a rare New England cottontail rabbit. Hikers should be aware of the presence of deer hunters in hunting season.
White Memorial Conservation Center and Museum

80 Whitehall Road (off Route 202) Litchfield, CT Phone: 860-567-0857

This wildlife sanctuary and museum is on 4,000 acres of many habitats and 35 miles of trails. The Little Pond trail is a one-mile wooden boardwalk through wetland areas and around a pond. History buffs will enjoy the ruins of an old ice house off Bantam Lake. Bring your smart phone to access via QR code the oral and pictorial history of the ruins. Programs for adults and kids are varied, and include guided walks. There is a gift shop.
Open: Grounds open year-round, daily. Museum is open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m. Closed major holidays
Campbell Falls State Park

Route 272 to Campbell Falls Road Norfolk, CT Phone:

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. - Hiking Trails
Mashamoquet Brook State Park

147 Wolf Den Drive Pomfret Center, CT Phone: 860-928-6121

Good park for camping, swimming, boating, hiking; cool rock formations to explore

There is plenty of hiking in the woods at this popular state park. - Trail Map
See a full description on our State & Local Parks page.
Mountain Laurel Sanctuary in Nipmuck State Forest

Near intersection of routes 89 and 190 Union, CT Phone: 860-424-3200

Leisurely walking trails wind through the mountain laurel, Connecticut's official state flower. Viewing is best in June and July, when the laurel are in bloom. The sanctuary entrance is a short distance from the intersection of routes 89 and 190 and is well marked. Pets must be leashed.
Hours: 8 a.m. to sunset.
Quinnipiac River Gorge Trail

Oregon Road and River Road South Meriden, CT, 06451 Phone:

The paved, multi-use Quinnipiac Gorge Trail starts at Lions Club Park. The trail follows a former rail bed westward along the Gorge with several beautiful views of the Quinnipiac River. Walking, bicycling, roller blades, wheelchairs welcome. Rating is Easy. Distance: 1.3 miles.
Permitted Activities: The trail is handicap accessible. Hiking and canoeing are permitted. Fishing is allowed with a state license. Motor vehicles prohibited.
Directions and Parking: Access is off River Road (CT Route 70). Handicap accessible parking is on Oregon Road. General parking is at the Dossin Beach near Hanover Pond. More parking is on Finch Avenue at the Cheshire town border.
Town of Meriden: 203-630-4259. - Map of Quinnipiac River Gorge Trail
Peterson Park

123 Mad River Road Wolcott, CT Phone: 203-879-8100

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.
Farmington Canal Heritage Trail and Farmington River Trail

The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail stretches from New Haven to the Massachusetts border before continuing into Massachusetts for a total length of 80.5 miles, passing through and 13 towns. The trail, for walkers and bicyclists, runs along abandoned rail corridors and canal tow paths. The Farming River Trail is an 18.2-mile loop trail that connects to the Heritage Trail at location in Farmington and Simsbury. It touches on the towns of Unionville, Collinsville, Burlington, and Canton. Much of the trail hugs the banks of the Farmington River.
Online trail maps provided by the Farmington Valley Trails Council show the full trail and its various segments, with helpful information on parking and other needs.
Indian Rock Shelters

76 Lake Drive Madison, CT Phone:

The Indian Rock Shelters trail offers an unusual opportunity to visit the natural rock shelter home sites of early Native Americans. As you walk you can see excellent views of a rock ledge parallel on the other side of a low area. The forest HAS beech, maples, oaks, birches, white ash and hickory. The trail is a loop. Distance is one mile. Walking time is about an hour.
Permitted activities: Only hiking is allowed. Dogs are allowed, but must be leashed.
Parking: Trailhead on Lake Drive.
Mianus River Preserve & Park / Cary Road Nature Preserve / Mianus Pond

Cary Road Greenwich/Stamford border, CT Phone: 203-977-4692

This preserve begins 1,000 feet north of the Post Road on the eastern side of Mianus Pond. It is a haven for hikers, with undisturbed woods and a steep shoreline and lovely views. Foot access is from the northern ends of Westview Place and Cary Road.
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.
Oak Grove Nature Center

Oak Grove Street Manchester, CT Phone: 860-643-0949

This 52-acre nature preserve and nature center is operated by the nearby Lutz Children's Museum. The property has a pond, a covered bridge, and two easy walking trails totaling about 3 miles of walking distance on dirt paths.
Hours: Trails are open dawn to dusk. Center open for museum activities and by arrangement.
American Legion & Peoples State Forests

Between Center Hill Road (Route 181) and East River Road [see map] Barkhamsted, CT Phone: 860-379-0922

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). - Hiking Map
See a full description on our State & Local Parks page.
Black Rock State Park
Black Rock State Park

Watertown Road (Route 6) Thomaston, CT Phone: 860-283-8088

Camping, trout fishing, water sports, picnicking

Black Rock offers excellent swimming, hiking, scenic views, and Indian legend all tucked into the scenic rolling hills of the western highlands of Connecticut. - Hiking Map
Hours: April until Memorial Day, weekends only, 8 a.m. to sunset; Memorial Day to October 31, daily, 8 a.m. to sunset.
Admission: There is a daily parking fee in season. Campsite fees are charged separately.
Enders State Forest

Route 219 West Granby, CT Phone: 860-379-2469

Open: Year round.

This wildlife sanctuary features a walking trail that leads to beautiful, scenic waterfalls.
Flanders Nature Center

Flanders Road Woodbury, CT Phone: 203-263-3711

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.
East Rock Park

bounded by Livingston Street, Davis Street, State Street and the Mill River New Haven, CT Phone: 203-946-6086

Walking, fishing, paddling, picnicking, and more are done at this riverside park

This 425-acre park offers nature and walking and bicycling trails, playgrounds, recreational areas, a bird sanctuary, and a spectacular view of Long Island Sound. Recreational opportunities include baseball fields and basketball courts; bicycling on paved roads; paddling on the Mill River; fishing and crabbing; football and soccer fields; ice skating; picnicking and playgrounds; an 800-foot self-guided nature trail; sledding.
Highlights of the park are climbing to the Summit of East Rock, which is accessible by foot, bicycle or car; the Trowbridge Environmental Center; the Pardee Rose Garden and Greenhouse (203-946-8142); and the Soldiers & Sailors Monument. Park Map
Hours: Open sunrise to sunset.
Rocky Neck State Park

244 West Main Street (Route 156) East Lyme, CT Phone: 860-739-5471

Bordered on the west by a tidal river and to the east by a broad salt marsh, Rocky Neck is popular for swimming, sunning, camping, picnicking and hiking. People who love to walk and hike will find many trails in the Rocky Neck network, and you may wish to combine a couple for your out-and-back. Nearer the shoreline, look for Look for ospreys, cranes, and herons or other waterfowl - Park Map
Mattatuck State Forest

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.
Whiterock Trailhead: 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.
Greystone Trailhead: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
New Canaan Nature Center

144 Oenoke Ridge New Canaan, CT, 06840 Phone: 203-966-9577

Take a fascinating look into the science and nature in the area. Set on 40 acres, the nature center features gardens and a solar-heated greenhouse, as well as many trails, exhibits, an arboretum, live animals, and a maple sugar shed.
Read a detailed description, including information on hours and admission, at our science and nature page.
Roaring Brook Nature Center

70 Gracey Road Canton, CT Phone: 860-693-0263

This nature center features walking trails, live animals and an Indian longhouse. The Nature Center uses the 100-acre Werner farm property and woods, and maintains its hiking trails, bluebird boxes, and wildlife habitats. The trails are used hiking, cross-country skiing, and passive enjoyment of the outdoors. A self-guiding trail guide, and trail maps may be purchased at the nature store.
Hours: Walking trails are open dawn until dusk.
James L. Goodwin Forest

off of Route 6 at 23 Potter Road Hampton, CT Phone:

Great for hiking on short or long trails; enjoying nature; a boat ramp is available

This state forest has a very extensive trail system for walking, bicycling, horseback riding, and enjoying nature. Trail range from short and easy to long. Some have printed brochures with information on the plant life of the area. Trail Map
See a full description on our State & Local Parks page.
Squantz Pond State Park

178 Shortwoods Road New Fairfield, CT, 06810 Phone: 203-312-5023

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
See a full description on our State & Local Parks page.
Shelter Falls Park

Birch Road Mansfield, CT Phone:

Small park near UConn; nice for quiet walks and picnicking near brook and waterfall

Nice walks along a brook to a lovely waterfall are found at this small public park, only a short distance from the University of Connecticut at Storrs. - Trail guide
See a full description on our State & Local Parks page.
Lake Saltonstall Walking Trails

entrances off Hosley Avenue Branford, CT Phone: 203-401-2654

Lake Saltonstall is home is many species of birds and forest animals. Here you can hike, jog, or bicycle along nine miles of trails, and learn about local wildlife on a one and one-half -mile interpretive nature trail. There is good freshwater fishing in the lake, which is stocked. A wheelchair accessible floating pier is located on site.
There are several named and marked walking trails, of various degrees of ease or difficulty. The Lake Saltonstall Trail is a loop trail and it is perfect for jogging, hiking, bicycling, or cross-country skiing. The inland trail weaves through spruce and pine groves and has spring wildflowers. The Ridge Trail is a dead-end trail that runs along the top of the Saltonstall Ridge, offering scenic views. The Vista Trail provides an overlook to the west.
Little-Laurel Lime Ridge Park

Tomlinson & Laurel Ridge roads Seymour, CT Phone:

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.
Haystack Mountain

State Route 272 Norfolk, CT Phone:

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.
Bluff Point Coastal Reserve

Depot Road Groton, CT Phone: 860-444-7591

This coastal reserved offers beautiful walks through a wooded peninsula and along a rocky coastline. The 4-mile loop trail to the bluff passes along the Poquonock River and through wooded and open areas until opening entirely onto the Sound. Fun for bird watching. - Park Map
Farm River State Park

Mansfield Grove Road East Haven, CT Phone: 203-287-5658

This is one of Connecticut’s newer and lesser known state parks – 61 acres along the west bank of the Farm River as it flows into Long Island Sound. Taking its headwaters to the northeast, the Farm River flows 16.5 miles on its way past the Park where visitors enjoy the sun, sights and salt air of Long Island Sound. There are several walking trails here, and they will take you across bluffs or along marshland to some lovely seaside views. - Park Map
Saugatuck Reservoir Trails

Route 53 Redding, CT Phone: 203-452-3511

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.
Earle Park

1325 Main Street Glastonbury, CT Phone:

This 50-acre park, owned and managed by the town of Glastonbury, is mainly wooded and undeveloped. There are many walking trails along Holland Brook. Trails also are used for horseback riding. A Connecticut Audubon Center facility is right at the park’s entrance. - Trail Guide
Hetzel Refuge

Breakneck Hill Middlebury, CT Phone: 203-263-3711

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.
Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center

10 Deerfield Lane Ansonia, CT, 06401 Phone: 203-736-1053

This park has two and one-half miles of nature trails. The land encompasses 104 acres of wooded hills and grassy fields bisected by streams, a two acre pond, wet meadows, and an upland swamp. The site provides habitat for many species of New England plants and animals.
Hours: Daily sunup to sundown; interpretive center open 9 a.m. t o 5 p.m. daily except on major holidays.
Admission: Free.
Information: ansonianaturecenter.org
Moosup Valley State Park Trail

Main Street Moosup, CT Phone:

This trail runs for 6 miles along the bed of an old railroad. The surface is ballast, crushed stone, dirt, grass, gravel, and sand. It is used by walkers, bicyclists, and cross country skiers. Much of the trail follows the Moosup River into Rhode Island. The trail begins with a large, re-decked trestle bridge and later it becomes more rural and wooded. Views of a quarry.
Lock 12 Historical Park

487 North Brooksvale Road (Route 42) Cheshire, CT, 06410 Phone: 203-272-2743

Walk along this historical park’s 2.9-mile hiking and biking trail, then enjoy a picnic in the great outdoors. Grounds are open year-round. Be sure to explore the restored Canal.
Bull's Covered Bridge River Walk

Bull's Bridge Road Kent, CT Phone:

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.
Information: http://bit.ly/12G3VC6
Woodcock Nature Center

56 Deer Run Road Ridgefield, CT Phone: 203-762-7280

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.
Admission: Free.
Dennis Farm

Dennis Road Pomfret, CT Phone: 203-568-6270

The Nature Conservancy maintains this two-mile trail, which is an old farm road, through former farm property. It is now mainly a forest of oaks, The Route passes a beaver pond and returns by way of Old Kings Highway, a grass-covered walk. Also a good site for cross-country skiing and bird watching.
Hours: Dawn to dusk.
Niantic Bay Boardwalk

Near McCook Point Park, 8 Atlantic Avenue Niantic, CT Phone:

The Niantic Bay Boardwalk, rebuilt in 2016, provides a 1-mile promenade along Niantic bay, with stunning views of Long Island Sound, lapping waves, and the whoosh of trains passing on nearby tracks.
H.C. Barnes Nature Center

175 Shrub Road Bristol, CT Phone: 860-589-6082

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.
Gay City State Park

Route 85 Hebron, CT Phone: 860-295-9523

This rustic, rural park is the perfect place for fishing, along with biking, hiking, walking, and cross-country skiing on numerous trails. - Hiking Map
Hours: The park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset. Season is the Saturday in April through Columbus Day weekend. Winter parking is available.
Bear Mountain

Route 41 three miles north of Salisbury Salisbury, CT Phone:

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.
Indian Well State Park

Howe Avenue Shelton, CT Phone: 203-735-4311

Sweet riverside park for water sports and picnicking. Easy walking trails along the river.

This park along the Houstonic River has mapped walking trails through beautiful woods. - Park Map
See a full description on our State & Local Parks page.
Walking Tour of Plymouth Center

Begins the Town Green, 10 Park Street Plymouth, CT Phone: 860-585-4001

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.
Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Fairfield -- Larsen Wildlife Sanctuary

2325 Burr Street Fairfield, CT Phone: 203-259-6305

The Larsen Sanctuary is next to the Audubon Center at Fairfield. The land has streams, ponds, forest, fields, and seven miles of trails and boardwalks with information signs. There is a wheelchair-accessible trail call the Chiboucas Trail. A brochure and trail map are available at the Center. There is an admission fee except for Audubon members and Fairfield residents.
Grove Street Cemetery

A beautiful, peaceful, and historic walk in an older city can usually be found at a garden cemetery. Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven, surrounded by regal Yale University, sits behind a stone wall and iron fence along Grove and Prospect streets. The cemetery, which has been called the Westminster of Yale, contains the graves of Yale luminaries, like Eli Whitney and Noah Webster. The cemetery was established in 1797; it beauty if enhanced by the architectural gem of an Egyptian Revival-style gateway entrance on High Street.
Tunxis Trail

The Tunxis Trail, in north-central Connecticut, is part of the blue-blaze trail system, composed of 22 trails in four sections. The Northern Trail is 22 miles long, from the Massachusetts border through Tunxis State Forest. Nepaug region trail is 7.2 miles long, through New Hartford, over Garret Mountain and through Nepaug and Burlington. The Burlington region trail is a network west of Burlington. The Southington region 14 miles of trails crossing Southington, Compounce, and South Mountains. These trails are maintained by volunteers and are among the most popular Connecticut trails for walkers of all abilities.
Best resource for trail maps and trail access is the Connecticut Walk Book (West). You can purchase the book from Connecticut Forest and Park Association's online bookstore, some local bookstores or some local libraries.
Talcott Mountain State Park

Route 185 Simsbury, CT Phone: 860-242-1158

Heulbein Tower is popular for hiking, picnicking

The Tower Trail is one-and-a-quarter miles long, and will lead you on a 30-40 minute walk to Heublein Tower and breathtaking views of the landscape, including Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire and the mountains of the Berkshires in Massachusetts. A section of the Metacomet Trail also intersects the park.
See a full description on our State & Local Parks page.
Hubbard Park Hiking Trails

999 W Main Street Meriden, CT Phone: 203-630-4259

Hubbard Park has 1,800 acres of parkland that includes woodland, lake and stream, flower gardens, and picnic areas, and Mirror Lake.
Activities: Hiking and biking. Fishing allowed in Mirror Lake for youth age 15 and younger. Picnic tables are available. Swimming, rock climbing, and boating are prohibited.
Directions and Parking: Take I-91 South to I-691 West to the exit for Southington/Route 322. At the exit off ramp, turn left onto West Main Street. Hubbard Park is a mile down the road on the left. Parking is at the park at the start of the trail head adjacent to Mirror Lake.
Many trails are available. Total length is 15 miles. Blue Trail (Metacomet Trail) is 7.27 miles, easy to difficult. Red Trail is 1 mile. Yellow Trail is one-third of a mile White Trail is 2 miles. Orange Trail is one-half mile. All trails are rated easy to difficult.
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