Connecticut's Top 10 Hiking Trails
With so many beautiful state parks and trails in Connecticut, getting active and outdoors this fall is a breeze. Hiking trails of all levels beckon visitors with breathtaking views and serene natural surroundings.
Pick a destination from Helium.com’s list of the Top 10 Hiking Trails in Connecticut, and plan your trip using our “My Trip” feature and selecting nearby attractions and places to stay while experiencing Connecticut’s beautiful outdoors.
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- Bear Mountain - Mount Riga State Park Trail, Salisbury
A popular hiking destination, trails.com offers a beautiful description of the challenging 6-mile Mount Riga trail: “A grand stone pyramid crowns its summit, offering unrestricted views which include broad valleys, shimmering lakes, and rugged mountains in three different states. In addition to the vistas this walk takes you on a long loop through ancient forests where animals such as fisher, deer, and coyote roam. There are ponds and bogs, songbirds and wildflowers, and much, much more.”
- Ragged Mountain Preserve Trail, Berlin
Ragged Mountain attracts experienced hikers and rock-climbers from throughout the region with its scenic views of the Quinnipiac River, vertical cliffs and unique flora. Several trails for hikers of all levels traverse the mountain, which is also a part of the 51-mile Metacomet Trail and the New England National Scenic Trail.
- The Appalachian Trail: Falls Village to Salisbury, Falls Village
This 9.9-mile section of the Appalachian Trail route travels through the northwestern corner of Connecticut with particularly scenic views of the Housatonic River Valley to the east and the Taconic Range to the west. Hiking is mostly moderate, with steep, fairly challenging sections that are short in duration, and a section that is wheelchair accessible. Views are often pastoral.
- The Devil's Den Concourse, Georgetown
This eight-mile hike through an extensive 1,700 acre environmental sanctuary is perfect for any level hiker. Take a leisurely stroll past ponds, streams, gorges and ravines, taking in the natural formations and varied wildlife. Or challenge yourself to ascend the steeper ridges – the view of the Saugatuck Reservoir and nineteenth-century lumber mill below are worth it.
- The Hanging Hills, Meriden
Trek more of the Metacomet Trail at the Hanging Hills, where the park road leads to Castle Craig Tower at an elevation 976 feet, and outstanding views from the Quinnipiac River Valley to Long Island Sound. Adjacent to the mountain range is Meriden’s Hubbard Park, where visitors enjoy a large flower garden, picnic areas and outdoor concerts and festivals. While on the mountain, keep your eyes peeled for the Black Dog of Hanging Hills, a rumored canine spirit said to make its home on the ridge.
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Connecticut to Massachusetts
The truly adventurous may endeavor to hike the entire Connecticut/Massachusetts section of the Appalachian Trail. The 138-mile route passes through forest, streams, fields and mountains and reaches from the northwest corner of Connecticut along the western edge of Massachusetts.
- Appalachian Trail: Kent to St. Johns Ledges, Kent
This exciting five-mile trek is better suited for the more experienced hiker, but well worth the challenge. With a highest elevation of 1,100 feet, the scenic trail ends with a thrilling yet manageable descent.
- Devil’s Den Preserve, Weston
One of the largest preserves in the Tri-State Area, the 1,746 acres of the Devils’ Den Preserve are home to more than 500 types of trees and wildflowers and 140 species of birds. With 20 miles of trails ranging from daring to serene, the preserve is a favorite destination for hikers, walkers, and wildlife enthusiasts.
- Appalachian Trail: Housatonic River Walk, South Kent
The 4.8-mile Housatonic River Walk is a unique section of the Appalachian Trail – it is one of few long flat parts of the entire trail. The easy, relaxing walk on an old farming road provides ample opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty and varied wildlife along the river.
- The Indian Council Caves Trail, Barkhamsted
A unique, 4.2-mile section of the Tunxis Trail, the Indian Council Cave Trail is an enchanting experience which winds past hidden caves, abandoned homesteads, ridgetop views and acres of ferns and forests.
For more information about Connecticut hiking trails and parks and up-to-date trail closures and changes, visit www.ctwoodlands.org.
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