Four Nature Hikes to Explore Connecticut’s Outdoors

February 18, 2012 9:00 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

By Dani Frank

From the deer holding court in your own backyard to the Hostas growing in your front yard, a three-course meal for said deer, Connecticut’s native wildlife and plant life are reminders of the state we live and love. While a walk around the neighborhood or drive to the grocery store will introduce you to many species of unique greenery and animals, who has the wherewithal to take in their surroundings? These hikes and guided tours will have you remembering why you love the Nutmeg State in the first place. Lace up your hiking boots and hit these nature-filled trails.
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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Greenwich Audubon Society
613 Riversville Road
Greenwich, CT 06831
(203) 869-5272

Ever wonder which feathered friends are outside of your window chirping and lounging on your bird feeder? The Greenwich Audubon Society has the answers, and much more. Guided nature walks are offered regularly, from nature photo hike, with professional photographers leading guided tours of the property’s sanctuary, to family bird watches revolving around the birds in your own backyard. Nature walk, pond watching, birding sessions and more are free of charge and hosted periodically throughout the year.

Bear Mountain
3 miles north of Salisbury Center on Route 41
Salisbury, CT 06068 mountain is a favorite of Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and more. A section of the southern Taconic Mountains, as well as the highest summit in CT, hike Bear Mountain beginning in the city of Salisbury, and be prepared for a strenuous hike. Reaching the highest summit via the Undermountain Trail will take you on a two-mile vertical hike, before connecting with the Appalachian Trail. Continue a few hundred yards and reach the top, rewarded with a stone pyramid, views into Massachusetts and greenery as far as the eye can see.

sleepinggiant Four Nature Hikes to Explore Connecticut’s Outdoors

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

One of the state’s most popular parks for hikers of all fitness and skill levels, Hamden’s Sleeping Giant State Park will provide a scenic view and an energetic hike. Walk the one and a half mile scenic route to arrive at the stone observation tower, on the highest point, the Left Hip. Feeling ambitious? Grab your hiking stick and a camera, and set out on the 23-mle long blue trail, the Quinnipiac Trail. Stretching the length of the Giant’s defined head, chin, knee and more, you’ll see the sheer cliffs and rock faults that rock climbers flock to, as well as the oak savannas and clumps of hemlock covering the Giant.

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Connecticut College Arboretum
270 Mohegan Avenue
New London, CT 06320
(860) 439-5020
Hours: Open from sunrise to sunset
Tours take place on Sundays from May 1 to October 30 at 2 p.m.

A sanctuary of trees, flowers and plants that is open to the public at no cost, the Connecticut College Arboretum is a must-see for nature lovers. Spend your Sunday admiring the arboretum’s native plant collection, international tree collection and more, on a free, guided tour offered by the school. Visiting the arboretum for a stroll, run or even hike can also be performed at your leisure; free entry to the arboretum is an enticing offer to visit every day. Take a self-tour of the 750-acre arboretum, and stop to smell the Pasture, Virginia or guilder species of roses.

Dani Frank is a fashion, travel and culture enthusiast and writer living in Easton. A recent graduate of Hofstra University, she is most happy when traversing the East Coast and beyond and documenting it all for curious readers. Check out her blog for additional articles and pieces.