5 great hikes located near campus

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A view of the UConn Forest over Horsebarn Hill. The UConn Forest comprises several separate parcels of land in Mansfield, South Willington and Coventry and is open to the public for various recreational activities, like hiking and cross-country skiing, as well as being used used for educational and research purposes. File photo by Avery Bikerman / The Daily Campus.

Getting outside for a hike can be a great way to relieve stress and also enjoy the beautiful scenery near campus. There are many great parks and trails located near campus that students can take advantage of while the weather is still nice.  

New England offers hikers and outdoor enthusiasts beautiful views at this time of year, and with the peak-foliage window coming to a close, consider checking out these five hikes near campus.  

UConn Forest  

The UConn Forest comprises several separate parcels of land in Mansfield, South Willington and Coventry. The UConn Forest is open to the public for various recreational activities, like hiking and cross-country skiing, and is also used for educational and research purposes. The wide diversity in plant and animal species located within the forest allows it to serve as an outdoor classroom with ample teaching opportunities for UConn students.  

The Fenton Tract is located within the forest and spans 580 acres, making it the largest continuous parcel in the forest. With a majority of the forest located in the Fenton River watershed, which supplies water to UConn and the town of Willimantic, importance is placed on protecting the water supply. 

Coney Rock Loop 

If you’re in the mood for a quick hike with great views, Coney Rock Loop is the place for you. The hike is located within the Coney Rock Preserve, which is partly owned by Joshua’s Trust, and is only a quick drive from campus. This two-mile loop trail will challenge you with steep inclines in the beginning with rewarding views of Mansfield Hollow and Naubesatuck Lake once you reach the summit. AllTrails rates this hike as moderate. 

Schoolhouse Brook Park  

This park is located in Mansfield and offers over eight miles of trails for visitors to explore. The Nipmuck Trail, a 40-mile trail that extends from Mansfield to the Massachusetts border, runs through the park and features open fields and ridges. The hike also features a steep ascent to Coye Hill, the highest point on the trail, with an elevation of 1,050 feet. AllTrails rates this hike as moderate. 

Bigelow Hollow State Park and the adjoining Nipmuck State Forest offer visitors over 9,000 acres of recreational area with many hiking trails woven into the park. The extensive trail system within the park is a joint effort with the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, which volunteers its time to maintain the trail system. Photo courtesy of @morrowlong on Flickr.

Bigelow Hollow State Park 

Bigelow Hollow State Park and the adjoining Nipmuck State Forest offer visitors over 9,000 acres of recreational area with many hiking trails woven into the park. The extensive trail system within the park is a joint effort with the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, which volunteers its time to maintain the trail system.  

This hike is located about 20 minutes from campus and offers picturesque views of the foliage and the 18-acre Bigelow Pond. If hikers are in the mood for a challenge, the Breakneck Pond Loop Trail is six miles and is rated hard by AllTrails. 

Case Mountain 

If you’re in the mood to escape campus for the day, Case Mountain is located about 25 minutes away in Manchester and offers visitors 640 acres of recreational space.  

The Case Mountain Trail is a 6.1-mile loop located within the recreational area. The summit of this hike offers spectacular views of the Hartford Skyline and the Connecticut river valley. AllTrails rates this hike as moderate. 

If you are looking to get outside and enjoy the amazing fall weather, consider checking out one of these hikes! 

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