Though small, the state of Connecticut has a lot to offer hikers, as there are trails or nature preserves near almost every city, town, and village. With a little help from Trails.com and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, we've highlighted five of what we think are some of the best hikes in Connecticut, so lace up, and let's go.
Farmington Canal State Park Trail
The Farmington Canal State Park Trail, also known as the Farmington Canal Heritage Greenway, is an 8-mile linear state park trail that runs from Cheshire to Hamden, Connecticut, and is part of the much longer Farmington Canal Heritage Trail. Hikers find this trail to be a well-maintained path through thick forests and expansive wetlands that passes remnants of the Farmington Canal, which was built but never used.
Airline State Park Trail
You'll follow a 50-mile linear path that dates back to the 1870s (though back then it was a railway) through 11 towns in eastern Connecticut on the Airline State Park Trail. Hikers are treated to an easy, level walk, quiet solitude, and awe-inspiring panoramas of the surrounding valleys and hills on this trail.
The Undermountain Trail is a 6-mile loop up Bear Mountain that's popular with hikers for the opportunity to see wildflowers, birds, and seasonal forests. The Undermountain Trail gently climbs through shady woodlands filled with striped maple, hickory, ash, and oak trees as well as wild azaleas, mountain laurels, and sarsaparillas.
Mianus River Park Nature Trail
Visitors pass 13 marked points of interest in the Mianus River Park hiking the 2.5-mile Nature Trail, including a vernal pool, swamplands, cliffs, a dam, and Dan's Bridge. The Mianus River Park Nature Trail is a peaceful walk that offers some of the best opportunities to see Connecticut's native birds and wildlife.
Appalachian Trail (CT Portion)
Through 51 miles of what was once called “iron country” and the “Arsenal of the Revolution,” the Appalachian Trail cuts through the northwestern corner of Connecticut, giving hikers the opportunity to see old charcoal pits, a large man-made canal, and the Schaghticoke Indian Reservation. The CT portion of the Appalachian Trail is heavily wooded, very popular, and managed as a primitive footpath, so pack light!