Best of Fall Foliage Hikes: Scenic Vistas for Fall Foliage

October 1, 2011 9:00 AM

Photo credit: Patrick Pleau/AFP/Getty Images

By Kim McNeill

13 Best of Fall Foliage Hikes: Scenic Vistas for Fall Foliage

Photo credit: Patrick Pleau/AFP/Getty Images

Fall in Connecticut is beautiful. The rolling hillsides with varied hardwood trees provide a canvas of warm colors. Leaf color in Connecticut is generally best the second week in October, right around Columbus Day. The state Department of Environmental Protection has a handy site to help us figure out the best time for leaf peeping, as the traditional forays to see nature’s brilliant display are called. The best time to view nature’s color change depends a lot on nature. The season can come early or late depending on the weather at the end of the summer.

heubleintower Best of Fall Foliage Hikes: Scenic Vistas for Fall Foliage

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Talcott Mountain State Park
Route 185
Simsbury, CT 06070
(860) 242-1158
Hours: 8 a.m. to sunset and the tower is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Labor Day weekend through October 31st.
No fee
Reviews, Directions & More Info:

The Heublein Tower is 165 feet tall on top of a mountain and overlooks the Farmington River Valley. A moderately difficult 1 ½ mile hike on Tower Trail will take you to the tower. The tower is 1000 feet above the surround area. You can see over 50 miles from the observation room. Hikers at the top will be able to see Long Island Sound to the south and Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire. Enjoy scenic views and history. The tower is a bit of a museum as well.  This is where General Dwight D. Eisenhower was asked to run for the office of President.

sleepinggiant Best of Fall Foliage Hikes: Scenic Vistas for Fall Foliage

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Sleeping Giant State Park
451 Sport Hill Rd
Easton, CT 06612
(203) 261-3306
Hours: 8 a.m. to sunset
Price: There are parking fees on weekends from Memorial Day through October 31st.

Sleeping Giant State Park is known for its vistas from the edge of the sheer cliffs. Taking the Blue Blaze hiking trail will take you over approximately six miles of difficult terrain and along some of the cliff edges. Alternatively, the Tower Path is a more gentle way to ascend the ‘left hip’ of the giant to the stone observation tower.

covered bulls med Best of Fall Foliage Hikes: Scenic Vistas for Fall Foliage

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Bull’s Bridge
Bulls Bridge Rd.
Kent, CT 06757
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

With Connecticut’s Northwest corner firmly in Appalachian territory, it is no surprise it is considered one of the most beautiful areas in which to view fall foliage. Kent is a town that offers New England charm as well as beautiful scenery. Bull’s Bridge is one of the last covered bridges in Connecticut and it is close to the Appalachian Trail. Park near the bridge and descend toward the river for some lovely shots of the bridge with changing leaves—but don’t get too close to the slippery rocks by the river. The Housatonic in this area is very dangerous attracting expert white water rafters. Another option is to head up and take a look out of the river overlook. Across the street from the bridge parking is a blue-blazed trail that leads to the white blazes of the Appalachian Trail in Connecticut.

14 Best of Fall Foliage Hikes: Scenic Vistas for Fall Foliage

Photo Credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Giuffrida Park
800 Westfield Rd
Meriden, CT 06450
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Giuffrida Park has a very difficult trail that is nine miles long and takes you up to 900 feet in elevation. The views from Lamentation Mountain and Chauncey Peak will be a wonderful reward during fall foliage season. For a more moderate hike, the Lamentation Loop is only about four miles but still gets you up to 470 feet of elevation. While views across valleys are gorgeous, the Crescent Lake white blazed trail is only two miles with very little elevation giving you ample opportunity to choose which vantage point across the lake has the most beautiful trees along with their reflection.

kettletown1 Best of Fall Foliage Hikes: Scenic Vistas for Fall Foliage

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Kettletown State Park
1400 George’s Hill Road
Southbury, CT 06488
(203) 264-5678 for May through September
(203) 938-2285 for October through April
Hours: 8 a.m. to sunset
Price: Parking fees on weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day

Kettletown offers two options for hiking to moderately elevated views across the Housatonic and Lake Zoar. The more moderate trail, which could be as short as half a mile, is the William Miller Blue Blazed trail that starts next to the picnic area. Keep to the right while driving into the park. The more rewarding view and harder hike is the to take the Pomperaug Trail, starting close to the guard house, until reaching Hull’s Hill and then connect to the Crest Trail for two more opportunities to view the color up the hillside across the lake.

Don’t feel like hoofing it? Check out Best Fall Scenic Drives!

Kim McNeill is an editor and writer for Fairfield County Kids Out and About and also blogs about more Connecticut family fun at Hearst Connecticut Media Group.

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