5 Beautiful Scenic Hikes in Connecticut

5 Beautiful Scenic Hikes in Connecticut

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No matter the time of year, Connecticut’s nature can be best enjoyed on its acres upon acres of preserved land. In the summer, see if you can spot monarchs on milkweed or frog spawn in small pools. These lesser-visited yet stunningly beautiful hiking areas in Connecticut provide natural vistas and a calming experience in nature. You may even encounter some charismatic wildlife at one of these locations! Here are five beautiful scenic hikes in the Nutmeg State. 

1. Macricostas Preserve

Macricostas Preserve is your best bet for a long hike since it has trails as long as four miles spread over its 368 acres. The habitats here consist of meadow, farmland, a wooded ridge, wetlands, and a mountain. The mountain, a pinnacle overlook, is the highlight of Macricostas and it provides stunning views over Connecticut and Lake Waramaug. For families and nature lovers, the yellow blazed tail provides educational signs describing habitats and organisms found in different areas. 

2. Jones Mountain

With about three different trails, including a historic carriage trail to an old family home, Jones Mountain Preserve is a pristine location for a hike. With a maximum loop of 2.5 miles, this scenic hike passes up the peak of a mountain (Jones Mountain), through an ancient stone bridge, and past native Connecticut flora. Listen carefully to see if you can identify any unusual bird species! 

3. Salem Land Trust, Salem, CT

Salem Land Trust is a scenic, mostly flat parcel of land that is well cared for by volunteers. The hiking at Salem Land Trust is really lovely, with meadows, marshlands, and ponds. Visiting in each season brings different experiences, and visitors can expect to encounter numerous species of flora as well as some charismatic wildlife such as bunnies, foxes, birds, and turtles. Come in the summer to see milkweed blooming and monarchs, or in the winter to see cardinals and beaver dams. 

4. Cobble Brook Vista, Kent, CT

Maintained by the Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust, Cobble Brook Vista is a preserved area of 158 acres featuring a roundtrip trail of 2.5 miles. Along the trail, hikers will see Cobble Brook Valley and surrounding hilly lands. The soil here is mostly composed of sand, so the flora is different here compared to the other natural preserves mentioned. That means you’ll see junipers, lichen, mountain laurel, and grasses. When hiking at Cobble Brook, be sure to bring along a copy of the trail map with you since trails do run along private property.

5. East Haddam Land Trust

To protect Connecticut’s waterways, East Haddam Land Trust has protected several acres of land surrounding rivers and streams. It even features a beautiful walking bridge over Eightmile River within the Chapal Farm Open Space area, providing an overlook onto the river below, and is a great place to spot wildlife. In addition, hiking and kayaking events are schedule frequently and they are also seeking volunteers to help measure large trees within the associated preserves.