10 Best Hikes In Connecticut For Adventure Lovers

By Dhruvalakshmi Paithankar on Oct 31, 2018
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Connecticut is the U.S. state that is dotted with sleepy towns and vibrant forests making it a paradise for nature-lovers and enthusiastic hikers. It perfectly blends the land filled with bare rocks with mountains and hills that are densely forested. You can opt for Bear Mountain - one of the best hiking trails in Connecticut or you can explore Zoar Lake that is still not known to many. Go to the Tunxis Trail for finding ancient caves and stop by Tarrywile Park for easy hikes. Want to know what will be the best hiking spot for you? Check out this detailed list of trails waiting to be explored in Connecticut and pick the best one - 

1. Quinnipiac Trail in Sleeping Giant State Park

Quinnipiac TrailImage Source: Flickr.com

Quinnipiac Trail in Hamden is ideal for all types of hikers. When it comes to exploring the traprock mountain in Sleeping Giant, this trail takes you through its taxing terrain. It is one of the best places to hike in Connecticut as it covers everything from the rocky patches and through the forested land. You can take a nature trip or also go for mountain biking. Remember that the best time to explore Sleeping Giant is usually from March to October. 

Total distance - 6.7 miles 

Elevation gain - 1,059 feet

Difficulty level - Easy 

2. Blue/Red Blazed Ragged Mountain Loop

Blue/Red Blazed Ragged Mountain LoopImage Source: Wikipedia.org

Blue/Red Blazed Ragged Mountain Loop in the town of Berlin is a meandering trail that introduces you to the beauty of Wassel Reservoir. The Ragged Mountain, Ct that is known for rock climbing and hiking in Connecticut can be explored from this trail. It is open year-round and offers seasonal activities as well. Come here for snowshoeing in winter or take a walk around in the fall to admire the changing colors of leaves. Do not forget to carry a map as marking at some places are easy to miss. 

Total distance - 5.5 miles 

Elevation gain - 816 feet 

Difficulty level - Moderate 

3. Bear Mountain Trail

Bear Mountain TrailImage Source: Pixabay.com

Bear Mountain, the tallest peak in Connecticut, is known for the tremendous growth of wildflowers. Accurately marked and dog-friendly, no doubt this trail in Salisbury makes for one of the best hikes in Connecticut. Generally used from March to November, you will get to enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding mountains in a clear weather. If you are looking for a day-trip, head off to the trail to get away from all the hustle and bustle. 

Total distance - 6.5 miles

Elevation gain - 1,676 feet

Difficulty level - Hard 

4. Tunxis Trail  

Tunxis TrailImage Source: Wikimedia Commons

Tunxis Trail is a group of 18 trails covering the distance of 79 miles (127 kilometers) that help you explore the western ridge of the central Connecticut Valley. If you do not have enough time in your hands, you can opt for the basic 9-mile out and back trail. This is among the top hiking spots in Connecticut as you will get to see everything from an ancient cave to scenic streams that define this area. 

Total distance - 9 miles 

Elevation gain - 1,440 feet

Difficulty level - Moderate 

5. Appalachian Trail 

Appalachian TrailImage Source: Wikimedia Commons

The famous Appalachian Trail, also known as A.T., passes through Connecticut and is spread over 52 miles in total. This challenging trail is only for the experienced hikers who are physically fit. It will take you to the bare rocky terrain as well as around the woods of Housatonic River valley and southern Taconic mountains. If you are planning to go for difficult tracks like this one, then remember that such hiking trails in Connecticut do not allow campfire and camping is also permitted in designated places. 

Total distance - 52 miles 

Elevation gain - from 260 feet to 2316 feet

Difficulty level - Hard

6. West Hartford Reservoir Loop

West Hartford Reservoir LoopImage Source: Flickr.com

West Hartford Reservoir Loop is ideal for all age groups. Its well-paved paths and picnic areas attract many throughout the year. The beauty of the western edge of West Hartford marks the trail perfectly. It can be one of the great day hikes in Connecticut if you are traveling with family and looking forward to spending some quality time together. You can relax on the lake shores or you can explore the woods where you may catch a sight of deer. 

Total distance - 4.9 miles

Elevation gain - 426 feet 

Difficulty level - Easy

7. Bigelow Hollow Pond Trail 

Bigelow Hollow Pond TrailImage Source: Flickr.com

Be it a charm of the lake or ruins of the castle, Bigelow Hollow Pond Trail has it all. When it comes to places to go hiking in Connecticut, this trail in the town of Berlin can rank on the top. You can go mountain biking, or you can go for bird watching and after all the wandering around, you can simply sit on the shores of the pond and take in the stunning view. You can even bring on-leash dogs here! 

Total distance - 11.8 miles 

Elevation gain - 1,023 feet

Difficulty level - Moderate 

8. Tarrywile Park 

Tarrywile ParkImage Source: Wikimedia Commons

If you are looking for a place that is not far from the city and yet in the heart of nature, head off to Tarrywile Park straight away. Nestled in Danbury and spread over 722 acres, this park offers several hiking trails. Wander through grasslands, explore the rolling hills, and stop by the historic castle on the premises. If you take an appointment, you will get to tour the mansion. You may spot rabbits or a red fox around here as well.  

Total distance - Depends upon the trail you select

Difficulty level - Easy 

9. Talcott Mountain Trail

Talcott Mountain TrailImage Source: Wikimedia Commons

One of the simplest and popular hiking trails in Connecticut, Talcott Mountain Trail combines nature and history. The sweeping view of the Farmington River Valley and the tour of 20th-century Heublein Tower are enough to keep you engaged. It has some steep inclines as well as flat areas making it a family-friendly trail in Connecticut. If you are visiting this area in summers, carry a bug spray. 

Total distance - 2.5 miles

Elevation gain - 433 feet

Difficulty level - Easy 

10. Zoar Trail 

Zoar TrailImage Source: Pixabay.com

If you are in Sandy Hook and want to go hiking, then Zoar Lake is perfect for you! With only some challenging parts and mostly easy terrain, this loop trail is popular amongst hikers. The vista of a couple of lakes and the Housatonic River are worth all the efforts. It would be better for you to use this trail from March to October when the weather is mostly clear. 

Total distance - 6.1 miles 

Elevation gain - 1,072 feet

Difficulty level - Moderate 

Now that you know where you can go hiking in Connecticut, tie your shoe laces and get ready to explore the unexplored! 

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