Nathan Hale State Forest
1,529 acres in Coventry, CT
Parking: Large lot at 2299 South St, Coventry, CT
No Official Trail Map. Trails: 12 miles Rating: ★★★☆☆
There are easily a dozen miles of trails in this varied state forest. There seem to be three types of trails here:
- Wide forest cart paths
- Flowing mountain bike singletrack
- Horse trails.
I hiked a 4.5 mile loop in the southeastern corner of the forest. The section of trail is well worn by mountain bikes and I saw a few in course of my hike. There are a number of branching trails as the topo map shows, though even this fails to capture them all. The trails are relatively level and, while unblazed, are easy to follow. Some sections along the wider paths are mud pits though they are easily skirted on foot. The forest is actively managed with softwood thinning and shelterwood occurring as late as 2016.
I came back a year later for a trail run with a friend intending to do roughly the same route as before. Instead we did a weaving mix of mountain bike trails and ended up in the southern section by Bear Hill Rd. The area was interesting for its old foundations and rockwalls but because we didn’t expect to come out there it made navigating back a bit more difficult. Many of the trails are unblazed or poorly blazed but all essential lead back to the Homestead.
Established as a state forest in 1946 and carefully managed by George Dudley Seymour (who has a scenic reserve named for him). It is the site of the Nathan Hale Homestead and the Coventry Farmer’s Market.
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