Great Local Hikes
There’s no better way to connect with nature than to actually get out there and take a hike. Want to spend real quality time with the family? Take them hiking. Connecticut is blessed with dozens of great hiking sites. This list includes links to sites with good trail maps and hiking locations throughout Connecticut, tips for being a safe hiker, and even how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly by leaving no trace. To find those special hiking spots in your town, contact your town/city hall, Parks and Recreation Department, or even your town’s park ranger.
Top Ten Hiking Tips:
1. Start small and easy. Take a ½ mile hike on a clearly marked trail with a well-marked trail map in your pocket. If you are hiking with children be sure to walk slowly and make plenty of stops for fascinating wildflowers, cool rock formations and to listen for bird songs.
2. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and thick, absorbing socks. Nothing ruins a hike faster than a blister. And pack a light jacket, the woods are usually cooler than you think.
3. Pack a light back or fanny pack with healthy snacks and carry adequate water for your hike and
then remember to drink that water!
4. Carry a small first aid kit; many are specially made for hikers.
5. Always carry out what you carry in. Never litter. Take only pictures, leave only footprints.
6. Never hike alone. And when you go with a group be conscious of how loud you are speaking. You won’t see much wildlife if you scare them all away!
7. Wear a watch when you hike. It will help you consider your pacing and remind you to take a rest.
8. Always sign in at the trail registers.
9. Be sure to pack a small, powerful flashlight with working batteries. Miscalculating time and distance in the woods when the sun is sinking on the horizon can be a scary feeling.
10. Cell phones can be useful in an emergency. Make sure someone in your group has one with them but leave it switched off unless you need it.
Connecticut Forest & Parks Association Information on the Blue Blaze trail system as well as safe hiking tips
Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Hiking information, downloadable trail maps, locate the state parks and forests near you<
Appalachian Trail The AT runs from Maine to Georgia, with beautiful sections of trail passing through CT as well as Massachusetts and New York
Appalachian Mountain Club Local branch of an organization of outdoor enthusiasts, conservationists, and hikers
Leave No Trace Explore this site to learn how to walk lightly on the earth, leaving little or no impact
Audubon Many of our local Audubon centers have great hiking and birding opportunities
The Nature Conservancy The CT chapter has preserved over 45,000 acres of natural land, look for places in your area