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Leah’s List: Top Summer Hiking Trails in CT

You might think of our neighbors to the north for natural beauty, but Connecticut has pockets of beautifully kept walking trails and hikes that put Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine to shame. Here are our top five Connecticut walking trails perfect for springtime.

1. Hammonasset State Park

Photo credit Connecticut Office of Tourism

After a lazy day tanning on Hammonasset Beach, stroll along the boardwalk, touted as Connecticut’s largest shoreline park. Located in Madison, this breathtaking two-mile beach walk is bike, wheelchair, and dog friendly. Explore all that Connecticut wildlife has to offer, from walking along the jagged coastline to discovering little critters in the salt marshes, Hammonasset State Park will entertain the whole family for hours. The campground opens the third weekend in May, but for now, pack a picnic, rent a bike, or, for very brave souls, start swimming. The Park is accessible by 1-95 onto Boston Post Road. Free for CT vehicles.

2. Shoreline Greenway Trail

East Haven trail, photo credit SGT

This all-volunteer run project links 5 shoreline towns (New Haven, East Haven, Branford, Guilford, Madison) together by pristine trails perfect for biking or walking. It’s only a 25-mile stretch from New Haven to Madison (less than a marathon!), with trail entrances in each of the 5 towns. Shoreline Greenway Trail aims to provide a safer alternative to biking through curvy, unsafe shoreline roads. SGT also preaches ditching your car to walk, lowering greenhouse gas emissions while increasing your heart rate. Through their project, SGT brings 5 beautiful shoreline towns together for some of the best shopping and dining in the state. Please consider donating to the project here.

3. Lantern Hill Trail

Photo credit The Day

Stick with this two-and-a-half-mile hike in North Stonington and you’ll be greeted by beautiful views at the end of it. Shorter and steeper than the other ones, Lantern Hill is ideal for those who want a quick but challenging day outdoors. Situated near Foxwoods Casino, this hike could be the perfect addition to a weekend trip to the shoreline. On a clear day, take pictures of Lantern Hill Pond and Long Island Sound. Dog and family friendly, but may not be suitable for smaller dogs and children.

4. Bluff Point State Park and Coastal Reserve Trail

Photo credit CT DEEP

Despite the packed parking lot on sunny days, this walking trail is quiet, peaceful, and scenic. Rocky in spots, this is a relatively smooth and flat walk that is dog and bike friendly. You might even see an occasional horse passing by. A little over three miles, you know you’ve gone halfway when you reach the Bluff. If you’re not feeling up for the full three miles, pack a picnic and have lunch on the beach.

5. Niantic Bay Boardwalk

Photo credit Hartford Courant

Discover this one-mile boardwalk smack dab in the middle of Niantic’s quaint Hole-in-the-Wall beach. Walk underneath the Acela Express train tracks (how many beaches can say that?) and onto this straight path facing Niantic Bay and Long Island Sound. A sturdy handrail encloses this concrete walkway with benches placed along the way to rest (or just eat ice cream).


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Bar Rated Trivia in CT, things to do