Where to Go Hiking in Connecticut

 
Chapman Falls at Devil's Hopyard State Park, ConnecticutConnecticut is a state filled with history and an astonishing number of natural resources. The state boasts 17 state forests, dozens of state parks, several full-fledged Greenway systems and a portion of the Appalachian Trail. Finding a great place to hike won't be a problem, no matter what kind of terrain or trip you're planning.

Mohawk Mountain State Park

For wildlife, unique native plant species and some true wilderness, visit the nearly 3,000 acres of Mohawk Mountain State Park, located in the Cornwall area. The park is a wildlife sanctuary and features one of the country's few protected black spruce bogs. Available activities off the trails include a lookout tower, skiing area and camping. It's nicely centralized next to three other recreation areas: Housatonic Meadows State Park, Kent Falls State Park and Macedonia Brook State Park.

Mohawk Mountain State Park

Sleeping Giant State Park

For a twist on your hiking trip, visit Sleeping Giant State Park to see the large mountain formations laid out like a man sleeping on his back. Climb on and head up to the lookout tower (a 1.5-mile hike) to check out the views all the way to Long Island Sound! Or, if you're still feeling adventurous, head over to Devil's Hopyard State Park, so named because of the legendary Chapman Falls (picture above) pothole stone formations, which are perfectly cylindrical holes worn through by rocks washing over the falls. Of course, it might be because a farmer in the area, named Dribble, long ago grew hops in his garden for making beer, and his name may have just "translated" over the years into the Devil's Hopyard. The park offers trails, camping and many fishing locations.

Sleeping Giant State Park

Appalachian Trail and Metacomet-Manadnock Trail

The state's portion of the Appalachian Trail is a total of 52 miles through the northwest corner, traversing the Litchfield Hills with a moderately difficult elevation gain. For another long-distance hike on your way out, try the Metacomet-Manadnock Trail, which runs from the Metacomet trail at the Connecticut state line all the way to New Hampshire's Mt. Manadnock, a 117-mile trail with various day hikes scattered along the way.

Metacomet Trail

Appalachian Trail in Connecticut

Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails

But perhaps the most amazing of Connecticut's possible hikes is the Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association. The state's first non-profit private conservation group, the CFPA has worked since 1929 to preserve and maintain more than 825 miles of trails through 88 Connecticut towns. The trails are volunteer-maintained, and some offer camping amenities in designated areas--a truly amazing regional resource.

Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail Interactive Map

Whether your preference is long-distance, short trips or something in between, you're sure to find it in Connecticut--a small state with a very big plan for trails and recreation.

 

Article Written By Emily Elder

Emily works as a Greenway coordinator and parks project manager in her local community, and has been hiking, camping, fishing and riding all over the mountains of western North Carolina. She enjoys being outside with her family, especially her two children, Creedence and Mason, and her husband, James, and lives on a small farm surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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