Getting Outdoors in Mystic Country Last Updated: June 2021
Some of the greatest memories are made off the beaten path. Whether you’re a Connecticut native looking for something different or are visiting from the big city, unique outdoor adventures are plentiful in Mystic Country. From Putnam to Mystic and out to Niantic, there are plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy a breath of fresh air while doing something you have never done before.
Stroll by the Shoreline
Enjoy the fresh sea breeze on your skin and soak in the sunny glow of the coastline sun along the shore in Mystic Country. Hikes along the water are fitted with the sounds of the shore including the calls of seagulls, the calming presence of the breaking waves, as well as the sound of sand and gravel underfoot. Whether hiking along the beachfront in Niantic or New London or on coastal trails like Bluff Point Coastal Reserve and Haley Farm State Park both located in Groton and Barn Island Wildlife Management Area in Stonington, Mystic Country’s extensive open spaces are must-see experiences. The views of the Long Island Sound and its tributaries can be experienced from many parks and hiking trails. The numerous vistas allow you to watch as ferries cross the Long Island Sound and sailboats and yachts adventure along the Sound. You maybe even lucky enough to see harbor and gray seals, as well as the occasional humpback whale. Ospreys are very common to spot along the shoreline and the occasional eagle can be spotted along the mouths of rivers like the Thames River.
Explore Lakes, Ponds, and Reservoirs
Whether dressed in a tank top and shorts or a warm winter coat with ice-skates thrown over your shoulder, Mystic Country’s vast lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and other bodies of water are perfect for any season. These delicate environments are perfect places to spot wildlife like white tailed deer, beavers, spotted salamanders, and other woodland creatures. Walk under the treetop canopy, which provides necessary shade in the summer and take in the calls of nature as birds and other native wildlife. Explore these lakes and ponds such as the West Thompson Lake Trail in Thompson by hiking around and enjoying a picnic lunch or snack break on a lakeside rock. In Mansfield, take in the water views at Mansfield Hollow State Park on the trails or enjoy an afternoon fishing. Be sure to be mindful of your surroundings and always leave these beautiful nature trails just as you found them.
Views from the Hilltops
Fall foliage is the perfect excuse to visit your local hiking trails and enjoy a sweeping vista perfect for viewing the changing landscape. Snowy wintertime in Mystic Country may require more safety precautions like microspikes and trekking poles, but places like Lantern Hill in Ledyard make for beautiful hilltop experiences. With a fresh blanket of snow, looking down on trees and frozen ponds makes for a magical experience and the deep quiet of the environment adds to the magic. Celebrate the end of the cooler months with a Spring hike and experience the newly green leaves on the trees and the wildflowers that bloom along the trails. Escape the heat in the summer months and seek some elevation for a nice cool breeze and panoramic views at the peak of nature’s verdant beauty. Another option in the town of Killingly, hike the trails and experience a 10-mile view at Old Furnace State Park. You can also have fun fishing in this park.
Hikes for Everyone!
From wheelchair and stroller accessible to walks of ranging grades and distances, Mystic Country has a perfect path for you! In Mystic Country, there is always a walk or hike that suits everyone of all ages. Whether you choose to walk along the coast or explore the inland waters and hills, Mystic Country is sure to please. Hikes like Pachaug State Forest, the Last Green Valley, and the Air Line State Park Trail are great spots to explore. Hiking is an amazing way to get active and experience the natural beauty of the region we live in without disrupting the environment.