Top Summer Backpacking Trips In Connecticut

May 3, 2014 8:00 AM

Photo Credit: Bud Symes/ Getty Images Sport

Warmer temperatures trigger cabin fever and the love of the outdoors. Backpackers and hikers prepare their gear and head out to find the best and most challenging trails. Connecticut is the perfect place to find your next challenge, especially along the Appalachian Trail that passes through the state. Even beginners can find trails that match their experience at one of these top backpacking locations.

Bear Mountain
Route 41
Salisbury, CT 06068

If you’re looking for a challenge, you’ve come to the right place. Bear Mountain is Connecticut’s tallest peak, standing at 2,316 feet. It is part of the Appalachian Trail running through Connecticut. Hikers will find a variety of levels in its challenges, from easy to moderate, long and steep. The scenic views, streams and waterfalls make this workout worth it. Choose from the Undermountain Trail or Lion’s Head as your starting point. Undermountain Trail is located three miles north of Salisbury off of Route 41 with parking in a dirt parking lot off to the side of the road. Starting at Lion’s Head, you will follow the Appalachian Trail on a longer yet less challenging journey.

Haystack Mountain
Route 272
Norfolk, CT 06058
(860) 482-1817

Haystack Mountain can be a popular backpacking attraction for out-of-town visitors. However, this does not equal busy trails on your backpacking path. This hike is a great starter for those interested in hiking and great for walkers. The most challenging portion is the straight shot hiking up to the tower. Take advantage of the free parking at Haystack Mountain.

Sleeping Giant State Park
200 Mt. Carmel Ave.
Hamden, CT 06518
(203) 287-5658

Sleeping Giant State Park is located across the street from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT. Expect parking fees during certain parts of the year. The fees won’t break the bank and the views are worth it. Sleeping Giant has trails for all difficulty levels. The easiest and most populated is the Tower Trail taking you from the car parking lot on a 1.5-mile hike to the tower located at the top of the mountain. Alternative and more challenging trails are blue, white and red. Grab a map before leaving on your backpacking journey, as the park covers a large area and cliffs. Views from the tower include New Haven and Long Island Sound.

Related: Top Playgrounds In Connecticut

White Memorial Conservation Center
80 Whitehall Road
Litchfield, CT 06759
(860) 567-0857

Nature lovers will fall in love with White Memorial Conservation Center hidden in the hills of Litchfield County. At first sight as you enter, you will notice the education center and picnic tables. Consider this a friendly welcoming to what this place has to offer. The land is rich with wildlife, plants, scenic trails, rivers and streams, a lake, forest and swampland. It provides a perfect mix to your backpacking plans, with hiking, canoeing, fishing or camping. Expect to run into birds, deer and rabbits. White Memorial prides itself on conserving nature at its finest and providing education to its visitors.

Bull’s Bridge
Route 7
Kent, CT 06757

Bull’s Bridge is most known for its historic covered bridge. Take in the scenery along the way. Bull’s Bridge is part of the Appalachian Trail in Connecticut. As you plan your excursion at Bull’s Bridge, be open to all of the activities offered including fishing and kayaking. Beautiful waterfalls are tucked away through the paths in Kent, Connecticut.

Related: Top Summer Vacation Activities In Connecticut

Kimberly Ord is a freelance writer and lifetime resident of Connecticut. Her work can be found at

Listen Live