270 Mohegan Avenue New London, CT 06320 Phone: 860-439-5020
Connecticut's parks, nature centers, arboretums offer great walking trails
From riversides to hill country to the seaside, Connecticut has many wonderful places for walking and hiking. The state parks alone could provide a lifetime of great hikes.
151 Brookdale Road Stamford, CT Phone: 203-322-6971
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.
Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Fairfield
-- Larsen Wildlife Sanctuary
2325 Burr Street Fairfield, CT Phone: 203-259-6305
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.
Howe Avenue Shelton, CT Phone: 203-735-4311
Sweet riverside park for water sports and picnicking. Easy walking trails along the river.
33 Pent Road Weston, CT Phone: 203-226-4991
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.
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.
18 Ranger Road Haddam, CT Phone: 860-566-2304
Large state forest; good for fishing, hiking & walking, horseback riding, snowmobiling
Northern section map.
Southern section map.
Weber Woods map.
See Cockaponset State Forest and Pattaconk Lake Recreation Area for full description of this park.
366 Hopyard Road East Haddam, CT Phone: 860-873-8566
Popular hiking and camping area with scenic picnic spots and fresh-water fishing.
Farmington Canal Heritage Trail and Farmington River Trail
Granby, East Granby, Suffield, Unionville, Collinsville, Burlington, Canton, and Simsbury, CT Phone: 860-202-3928
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.
Route 85 Hebron, CT Phone: 860-295-9523
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.
67 River Road, off Route 82 East Haddam, CT 06423 Phone: 860-526-2336
Park offers riverside walks; fishing; picnicking; tours of unusual 1919 mansion
487 North Brooksvale Road (Route 42) Cheshire, CT 06410 Phone: 203-272-2743
Oak Grove Nature Center
Oak Grove Street Manchester, CT Phone: 860-643-0949
Hours: Trails are open dawn to dusk. Center open for museum activities and by arrangement.
Route 185, Simsbury Road Bloomfield, CT Phone: 860-566-2304
Roaring Brook Nature Center
70 Gracey Road Canton, CT Phone: 860-693-0263
Hours: Walking trails are open dawn until dusk.
Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area
Route 69 Burlington, CT Phone: 860-675-8130
Hours: Year-round, dawn to dusk.
Route 185 Simsbury, CT Phone: 860-242-1158
Heulbein Tower is popular for hiking, picnicking
East Hartland, Burlington, East Plymouth, Southington, CT
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. Information: www.ctwoodlands.org/trails
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
Hiking map for American Legion and Peoples State Forests.
See full description of American Legion and Peoples State forests
Route 41 three miles north of Salisbury Salisbury, CT
Bull's Covered Bridge River Walk
Bull's Bridge Road Kent, CT
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.
Flanders Nature Center
Flanders Road Woodbury, CT Phone: 203-263-3711
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
H.C. Barnes Nature Center
175 Shrub Road Bristol, CT Phone: 860-589-6082
Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 2-5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1-5 p.m.
State Route 272 Norfolk, CT
Breakneck Hill Middlebury, CT Phone: 203-263-3711
462 Kent Cornwall Road (Route 7) Kent, CT Phone: 860-927-3238
Cascading waterfall, covered bridge, hiking trails. Great for picnics, walking
Tomlinson & Laurel Ridge roads Seymour, CT
parts of Harwinton, Litchfield, Plymouth, Thomaston, Waterbury, Watertown, CT Phone: 860-567-5694
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.
Mine Hill Preserve
Mine Hill Road Roxbury, CT
Route 202 Litchfield, CT Phone: 860-567-8870
Water sports in the lake; hiking to tower at mountain top
See full description of Mount Tom State Park.
Naugatuck State Forest
[consult map] Cheshire/Hamden/Naugatuck/Oxford/Beacon Falls, CT
123 Mad River Road Wolcott, CT Phone: 203-879-8100
Saugatuck Reservoir Trails
Route 53 Redding, CT Phone: 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 Phone: 860-364-0520
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
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
Walking Tour of Plymouth Center
Begins the Town Green, 10 Park Street Plymouth, CT Phone: 860-585-4001
White Memorial Conservation Center and Museum
Route 202 Litchfield, CT Phone: 860-567-0857
Open: Year-round, daily
Woodcock Nature Center
56 Deer Run Road Ridgefield, CT Phone: 203-762-7280
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.
Palmer Neck Road Pawcatuck, CT
See full description of Barn Island Wildlife Management Area.
Route 171 Union, CT
Large forested park with lots of hiking trails; water sports at one lake and 3 ponds
See full description of Bigelow Hollow State Park and Nipmuck State Forest.
Depot Road, off US Route 1 Groton, CT Phone: 860-444-7591
Walking in wooded peninsula and along rocky coast; seabird watching; shell fishing allowed
Center at Pomfret (Audubon Bird Conservation area)
218 Day Road Pomfret Center, CT Phone: 860-928-4948
Hours: Trail Wood Sanctuary, year-round, daily, dawn to dusk
Dennis Road Pomfret, CT Phone: 203-568-6270
Hours: Dawn to dusk.
off of Route 6 at 23 Potter Road Hampton, CT
Great for hiking on short or long trails; enjoying nature; a boat ramp is available
See full description of James L. Goodwin Forest.
Moosup Valley State Park Trail
Main Street Moosup, CT
Mountain Laurel Sanctuary in Nipmuck State Forest
Near intersection of routes 89 and 190 Union, CT Phone: 860-424-3200
Hours: 8 a.m. to sunset.
Quinebaug River Trail
Danielson and Putnam, CT
Rock Spring Wildlife Refuge / Preserve
Pudding Hill Road (Route 97) three miles south of Route 6 Scotland, CT Phone: 203-568-6270
Birch Road Mansfield, CT
Small park near UConn; nice for quiet walks and picnicking near brook and waterfall
Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center
10 Deerfield Lane Ansonia, CT 06401 Phone: 203-736-1053
Hours: Daily sunup to sundown; interpretive center open 9 a.m. t o 5 p.m. daily except on major holidays.
Edgewood Avenue New Haven, CT Phone: 203-946-8028
Lovely urban park; good for strolling, tennis, skateboarding, bird watching, relaxation
Grove Street Cemetery
New Haven, CT
Mattabesett Trail -- Route 77 to Route 17
Route 77 and Fire Tower Road (north of Bluff Head Cemetery) Guilford, CT 06437
Hours: Dawn to dusk
Quinnipiac River Gorge Trail
Oregon Road and River Road South Meriden, CT 06451
Hours: Dawn to dusk
Walking Tours of Art at Yale University
New Haven , CT
Similarly, the city offers a walking tour of New Haven architecture, which includes part of the Yale campus, along with Science Hill and the Yale Medical Center. The tour visits buildings by Louis I. Kahn, Paul Rudolph, Cesar Pelli, and Eero Saarinen. On the tour, you can soak in a wide range of architectural styles and see how those styles mesh to create a distinctive city.