Get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Biking and hiking are great ways to explore Connecticut and get some exercise at the same time. We put together this roundup of popular biking and hiking trails to help you get started.
Popular Biking and Hiking Trails in Connecticut
Avalonia Avery Preserve, Ledyard Avalonia’s Avery Preserve in Ledyard is one of our oldest preserves. The West Tract, where we will hike, was donated by Amos Avery in 1970. It was part of a 1653 land grant to the Avery family that had been handed down through 10 generations.
Ayer’s Gap Preserver, Franklin Ayers Gap is a rugged place that conceals an exquisite cascading waterfall amidst crags of exposed rock outcrops. A loop trail brings the visitor well into the preserve and provides easy access to the sights to be enjoyed there
Bluff Point State Park and Coastal Reserve, Groton Bluff Point Coastal Reserve offers the visitor a delightful mixture of wooded hiking and biking trails coupled with spectacular wildlife viewing on Long Island Sound.
Devil’s Hopyard State Park, East Haddam The park offers free parking, picnic tables, and a fish platform as well as hiking and bicycling trails. The park is open from 8 am to sunset. Pets on a leash are permitted in picnic areas and on hiking trails.
Connecticut College Arboretum, New London Some areas of the Connecticut College Arboretum are available for running, and all trails are suitable for hiking or casual strolling. Take a free guided tour on Sundays or grab a tour guide and stroll at your own pace any day of the week.
Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill The park features free parking, an exhibit center, bathrooms and picnic tables. There is a daily admission fee at Dinosaur State Park. Adults ages 13 and up are $6 youth ages 6 – 12 are $2 and children under 6 are free. Connecticut seniors over 65 years of age are eligible for a Charter Oak Pass (proof of residency is required). If you like dinosaurs, you’ll love our 200 million-year-old fossil trackway, interactive exhibits and the chance to cast your own dinosaur footprint to take home.
What to Bring on a Hiking Day Trip
A well-equipped hiker is a happy hiker. Proper preparation will make any outdoor event enjoyable and help you stay out longer. Here are some of the things you should consider taking on your outdoor excursion.
- The Guide to 50 Hikes in Connecticut
- Comfortable shoes: running shoes, trail running shoes, or hiking boots
- Good pair of hiking socks, either wool or SmartWool. Cotton socks will be miserable once they get wet
- Water and snacks (Pepperidge Farms Goldfish, Planter snacks, beef jerky, Craisins, Clif Bars
- Clothing that breath. Do not wear cotton!
- In Spring: lightweight rain jacket
- In hot weather: sunscreen, sunglasses
- In cold weather: hat, gloves, fleece, wear layers
- Small hiking backpack
- Smartphone or pocket digital camera
- Apps to help you if you get lost including Google Maps, Google Earth,
- Longer Hikes: Small flashlight, matches, and Swiss Army Knife, First Aid Kit, hiking pole
Other Popular Hiking Trails in Connecticut
Farmington Heritage Canal and River Trail The Heritage Canal trails stretches from New Haven to the Massachusetts border before continuing into Massachusetts for a total length of 80.5 miles and 13 towns. The multi-use trail runs along abandoned rail corridors and canal tow paths through urban, suburban and rural areas of Southern Connecticut and the Farmington Valley.
Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park, Groton This historic park includes a museum, picnic tables, free parking and flush toilets. Add a touch of reality to your Revolutionary War history lesson with a visit to Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park, site of the 1781 massacre led by the traitorous Benedict Arnold.
Haley Farm State Park, Groton The park has been preserved as open space and is used for passive recreational purposes. A 0.8 mile bike trail winds its way through the scenic old shoreline farm. The Haley Farm Bike Trail, which is wheelchair accessible, is part of a 7 1/2 mile town-owned bikeway routed from Mystic to Groton on local roadways.
Hammonasset State Park, Madison Connecticut’s largest shoreline park offers over 2 miles of beach to enjoy swimming, strolling along the boardwalk, or just relaxing in the sun and surf. Hammonasset is a great place to bike and hike and offers bathrooms, concessions, a nature center, picnic tables, and showers
Mohawk Mountain State Forest, Cornwall/Goshen View the rugged hills of this wildlife sanctuary or visit a black spruce bog to experience a unique plant community. From 1,683 foot Mohawk Mountain, on a clear day, the view is literally “forever”. The park offers pit toilets, picnic tables, drinking water, and permanent grills.
Rocky Neck State Park, East Lyme The beautiful, gently sloping, soft sandy beach, picnic areas, train watching, diverse trail systems and salt marsh viewing platforms make this park ideal for families. Try crabbing or fishing. Look for ospreys, cranes, and herons or other waterfowl. Rocky Neck provides something for all members of the family. The park offers bathrooms, food concessions, a pavilion, and picnic tables
Sleeping Giant State Park, Hamden Two miles of mountaintop resembling a sleeping giant give this park its name, and make it a distinguishing feature on Connecticut’s skyline. Bathrooms, picnic shelter, picnic tables, lookout tower, nature trail, stream fishing, scenic vista.
Talcott Mountain State Park, Simsbury The Tower Trail is 1.25 miles long; a walk to the Tower takes approximately 30 – 40 minutes. The beautifully appointed Heublein family dining room awaits hikers at the top of the mountain in the Heublein tower. The park offers bathrooms and a picnic shelter.
Wadsworth Falls State Park, Middlefield/Middletown Enjoy hiking or biking the varied trails of the park or spend some time enjoying the beautiful falls. For a longer stay, visit the designated swimming and picnic area of the park. Please note that swimming and picnicking are prohibited at the Big Falls – it is an area intended for short visits to view the scenic falls. The park offers bathrooms and picnic tables.