Connecticut has hundreds of miles of trails that provide endless opportunities to explore the state and enjoy the surrounding scenery. Each trail is unique in its difficulty level, ranging from easy and flat to more rugged and challenging. If you are itching to get out of the house and enjoy the fresh air, hiking is the perfect way to have fun and exercise at the same time.
Here are a few of the top-rated hiking trails throughout the state.
West Rock Ridge Loop
Located three miles northwest of downtown New Haven, West Rock offers visitors a reprieve from the busy city. This trail has an intermediate rating and is 7.9 miles in length. This park has something for everyone and offers fishing, boating, mountain biking and horseback riding.
The hiking loop offers superior views of the Judges Cave, Lake Wintergreen and the South Overlook. Following this long hike, many visitors choose to partake in a snack under the covered picnic pavilion located at the trailhead.
Bigelow Hollow State Park
Bigelow Hollow State Park has over 500 acres acres filled with numerous recreation opportunities. This park is located within the Nipmuck State Forest in the northern part of the state.
The 18 acre Bigelow Pond located within the park is a popular swimming spot during the summer months. Many people choose to take part in recreation activities here including swimming, fishing, boating or simply relaxing and enjoying the sunshine.
Sleeping Giant State Park
Named for its two miles of mountaintop that resemble a sleeping giant, this park is one of the state’s most popular hiking trails. The most trafficked route takes you to the mountaintop lookout where you can enjoy amazing views and a great place to relax before starting your descent.
Bear Mountain Trail
At 2,323 feet, Bear Mountain claims the title of Connecticut’s highest peak. This trail is located in Salisbury and offers visitors a 5.4 mile round trip out-and-back of gradual incline and beautiful views. The trail tends to be heavily trafficked, which solidifies it as one of the state’s most popular hiking destinations.
Talcott Mountain State Park
This 574 acre park extends throughout the towns of Avon, Bloomfield and Simsbury. This park is home to the Heublein Tower, a 165-foot-high mountain top lookout. The main route consists of a 1.25 mile hike that will lead you to the tower. Once you reach this point, many people choose to explore the tower and have a picnic.
Mohegan Park Loop
Mohegan Park is located in Norwich and features a 1.9 mile round trip loop that is perfect for families with young kids or people who are looking for a less challenging route. The flat trails allow for relaxing walks through the park and provides a great location for a post-hike picnic. The only downside to this park is that it is not pet friendly.
These are just a few of the many amazing outdoor parks, hiking trails and recreation spots located around the state. Visit the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for a full list of state parks and find your next adventure.
Emma Gehr is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.