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Currently, the main map is only capable of displaying the 200 most recently added locations. If you want to see more of the hiking locations in your area try removing one of the categories from the sidebar. Or plug your town into the URL (i.e. exploreCT.org/mansfield). You can also use the search bar at the top of the page to narrow the search by activity (hiking, mountain biking), county (Windham, Tolland), or feature (waterfall, overlook)

Newest Additions

Seven Falls

Seven Falls

in Middletown and Haddam, CT

Parking: Shoulder parking near 1 Saybrook Rd, Higganum, CT

Trail Map


While this is a state-owned property Seven Falls can’t be called a state park. That implies something else, it’s much closer to “scenic reserve” status and is actually termed a “picnic area”.

Just off the road is the good-sized picnic area next to Bible Rock Brook.  The area looks like it floods pretty often which steals some of its scenic beauty.  Despite recent rains and a rushing brook, the falls were underwhelming too.  A creative counting of the drops does add up to seven though none are more than a couple of feet.  In aggregate it’s still a peaceful spot.

The trails start on the other side of the bridge along Rt 154 and fork as they head into the woods.  The blue blaze Mattabesett heads off to the right and the yellow Seven Falls Loop to the left.  This section of the Mattabesett is surprisingly great.  It has been rerouted recently due to an expansion of the utility corridor but the trail selection is well done.  From the shaded section along the brook, the CFPA could have taken a direct shot just to get across the powerlines as quickly as possible.  Instead, they worked interesting rock features and ledges to navigate through the corridor.  It is well marked and has a scramble or two.  Beyond the powerlines, you reenter the woods and wind through more ledges and mountain laurel.  After about a mile the trail splits to the yellow-blazed Seven Falls Loop.  I continued a bit further along the Mattabesett crossing Freeman Rd and Rt 410 with not much to note before turning around.

The return trip on the yellow blaze is much wetter.  There are several interesting water features that could be added to the seven falls.  There are also a couple of marshy sections before returning to the utility corridor.

There are also a number of climbing and bouldering opportunities that can be explored at the link below

History:


Links:

New England Waterfalls – Seven Falls

Mountain Project – Seven Falls Bouldering Climbing

The information shown here is for general reference purposes only. exploreCT.org gives no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or reliability of this data. Parking in all areas, whether designated here or not, is at your own risk. exploreCT.org is not responsible for any damage or loss to vehicles or contents.
Last updated May 6, 2019
Tunxis : Tory Den

Tunxis : Southern Terminus / Tory Den

Connecticut Blue Blaze Trail

in Plymouth and Burlington, CT

Parking: Small pull-off for 4 cars near 290-400 E Plymouth Rd, Terryville, CT

Trail Map


The southern terminus of the Tunxis Trail is currently nothing special, which is actually typical if you look at the Nipmuck, Shenipsit, or Quinebaug Trails.  The Trail starts at the southern end of Old Marsh Pond, also known as Bristol Reservoir #7.  There isn’t any parking so you’ll have to hike the extra .8 miles south to see it.  You’ll pass through some nice pine forest and get a nice view of the reservoir, but it’s hardly worth it.

From the initial parking along East Plymouth Rd the trail follows an old woods road north towards Tory Den.  The trail splits with the yellow-dot trail that leads to Miles of Ledges at around .75 miles.  When I hiked this loop I did it clockwise past Tory Den to Greer Rd and then looped back through the ledges.

Less than a mile in we already hit Tory Den, a pile of boulders with a rich history.  The trail passes by the front entrance to the den and it is easy enough to crouch inside.  The space is about 30 feet long to the back exit and a small area in the middle that has a height of about 5’8″.  The “cave” apparently used to be a bit larger, but a collapse narrowed it.

The trail then climbs up and down hills as it heads north.  There are several odd spots where the blazed trail briefly detours from the worn path over rock outcrops.  They certainly make the trail more interesting, but I’d guess most hikers skip them.  At 1.8 miles there is a connector with a rocky descent to Greer Rd.  I took this in order to complete the four-mile loop through Miles of Ledges.

History:

Tory Den was a hidden place deep in the woods during the American Revolution where loyalists could hide to avoid persecution from the pro-independence group Sons of Liberty.  See the links below for further reading.


Links:

Edgar Pond – The Tories of Chippeny Hill (1909)

Steve at CTMQ – Tory Den

Peter Marteka – ‘Tory Den’ is Rich with History (2009)

Peter Marteka – A Storied Tory Place in Burlington (2008)

Jesse Leavenworth – Revolutionary War Hideout Still Visible (1996)

The information shown here is for general reference purposes only. exploreCT.org gives no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or reliability of this data. Parking in all areas, whether designated here or not, is at your own risk. exploreCT.org is not responsible for any damage or loss to vehicles or contents.
Last updated Apr. 29, 2019
Natchaug State Forest

Natchaug State Forest

Connecticut State Forest

13,438 acres in Chaplin, Eastford, and Hampton CT

Parking: Plenty of parking down the road near 235 CT-198 Eastford, CT

Trail Map


There is a huge network of trails here including six miles of the blue blaze Natchaug Trail, a yellow/blue CCC loop, and multi-use trails.

History:

Established as a state forest in 1917.


Links:

The information shown here is for general reference purposes only. exploreCT.org gives no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or reliability of this data. Parking in all areas, whether designated here or not, is at your own risk. exploreCT.org is not responsible for any damage or loss to vehicles or contents.
Last updated Apr. 22, 2019
Cohen Woodlands

Ruby and Elizabeth Cohen Woodlands

Colchester Town Park

206.21 acres in Colchester, CT

Parking: Medium lot near 96 McDonald Rd, Colchester, CT

Trail Map


The Cohen Woodlands is a picturesque little town park.  Pulling into the parking area provides a view of a large field of bright grass,  a small pond off to the side is lined with old stately pines, and a gazebo for viewing it all.

A pollinator garden is just off to the right as well as the start of a StoryWalk in Spring 2019 the story was ‘When Spring Comes’ by Kevin Henkes.  This StoryWalk is run by the Cragin Memorial Library and I would guess it changes seasonally.

Hiking

I started off walking past the pines to the back corner of the field and the start of the wide blue trail.  It leads gently uphill until it forks.  I took the left fork and caught the red trail which was narrow and winding.  It seems the spur to the backside of the pond has faded out of use.  The red trail brings you right back to the start of the blue so I rehiked the blue section.  There are several posts where a guided nature walk used to sit, however, as is common with these trails, the signs are missing.  The only one remaining highlighted an old wolf tree.  At the backside of the blue loop is an impressive old foundation perhaps one belonging to a barn.

The blue trail along Cabin Brook will likely be wet if there have been recent rains.  The brook itself runs shallow and clear and follows its own winding path near the trail.  The short yellow loop heads up a small hill to a spot with a marsh view.  My hike around the outer trails was 1.8 miles.

History:

Preserved in 2001. From the town’s website,

Over the years, local Boy Scout Eagle projects have created 3 hiking trails on different areas of the property including a park/trail map, as well as a 6-panel educational board near the gazebo. Cohen Woodlands is certified as a wildlife habitat through the National Wildlife Federation. Additionally, Colchester earned the NWF Community Wildlife Habitat certification in 2010 being the first such community in Colchester and the 36th in the United States.


Links:

Peter Marteka – Preserve Named for Family

The information shown here is for general reference purposes only. exploreCT.org gives no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or reliability of this data. Parking in all areas, whether designated here or not, is at your own risk. exploreCT.org is not responsible for any damage or loss to vehicles or contents.
Last updated May 1, 2019
Whitehall Park and Forest

Whitehall Park and Forest

Ledyard Town Park

in Ledyard, CT

Parking: Small lot near 991 Shewville Rd Ledyard, CT

Trail Map


This is a partial/incomplete page as I have not yet explored this property.

History:

The Whitehall Preserve was designated a National Wildlife Fund Certified Wildlife Habitat.


Links:

Peter Marteka – A Forest Where All Can Sit on a Throne

Ledyard Garden Club – Whitehall Preserve Conservation Project

The information shown here is for general reference purposes only. exploreCT.org gives no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or reliability of this data. Parking in all areas, whether designated here or not, is at your own risk. exploreCT.org is not responsible for any damage or loss to vehicles or contents.
Last updated Apr. 8, 2019