Updated: May 11
“The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot.” ― Werner Herzog
The simplest way to describe hiking is by definition, “an activity of going for long, vigorous walks, especially in the country or forest.” Some people think that mountains need to be involved in order for a hike to be real, however, hiking takes place without mountains by following pre-planned out trails through mountainous areas or through the forest. The trails can be steep or flat, long, or short, much like skiing on the winter snow. Trails are marked with color codes, and it mimics cross country skiing on the flatter trails.
If you are or have been thinking about embarking on a hike, spring, summer, and fall are perfect times of year to begin your adventures. Whether you are walking challenged like those folks that use a wheelchair or sweat adverse or bugged out on bugs of any kind, hiking can take place anywhere in the open field or through the woods, up a mountain side or through a waterfall. Nature doesn’t care about your physical or mental challenges; nature just wants your attention and appreciation.
Connecticut is a prime location for hikers. Our state has every hiking level from beginner to expert and everything in between. The prime equipment you will need is stamina, maybe a camera, a partner if you don’t enjoy trying this sport alone, definitely a backpack to hold things like a first aid kit, water bottle, face towel, extra shoelaces, sunscreen, and a map. You will also need the proper hiking footwear depending on what kind of hiking you are embarking on. A good website to check out is: https://bit.ly/3n6i1Bn
In case you are wondering, here are 16 benefits to going on a hike:
1- Exercise: Develops and strengthens muscles and bones, lowers blood sugar and cholesterol, may reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease, and improves your sleep. Improves balance and cardio fitness (think stronger core)
2- A natural mood enhancer
3- Low cost to no cost in most places
4- Solo or with family and/or friends or a meet-up group
5- Builds endurance.
6- Always changes difficulty levels and scenery.
7- Can take your low amount of gear with you on vacation.
8- Relieves stress and boosts mental abilities.
10- Can hike near home or as far away as you would like.
11- Fresh air adds strength to your lungs.
12- Keeps you present focused and alert.
13- Boosts creativity
14- Year- round sport
15- Weight loss
16- New research suggests improvement in disease prevention.
(Image of Sleeping Giant State Park, Hamden, Connecticut)
“Hiking is not escapism; it's realism. The people who choose to spend time outdoors are not running away from anything; we are returning to where we belong.” ― Jennifer Pharr Davis, The Pursuit of Endurance: Harnessing the Record-Breaking Power of Strength and Resilience
A quick guide to the 11 best trails in Connecticut, as presented by 2023 Best 10 Trails and Hikes in Connecticut | AllTrails and rated from Easy to Difficult:
1-Sleeping Giant Blue Trail: Difficult * 3.1 miles * Estimated time of hike: 1hr 31min * Elevation: 597’ * Location: Hamden, Ct across from Quinnipiac University
2- Ragged Mountain Blue and Red Blazed Loop: Hike Type: Moderate * 5.6 miles * Estimated hike time: 2h 29m * Elevation: 843’
3- Bear Mountain Trail: Hike type: Moderate * 6.1 miles * No estimate of trail length due to camping options * Elevation: 1,683’ * Located in Mount Riga State Park
4- Wadsworth Falls Loop: Hike Type: Easy * 3.6 miles * Estimated time of hike: 1h 24min. * Elevation: 364’ * Located near Middletown, Ct.
5. Talcott Mountain Yellow Trail: Hike Type: Moderate * 2.5 miles * Estimated time of hike: 1h 9 min. * Elevation: 423’ * Located at Talcott Mountain State Park, near Simsbury, Ct.
6. Chauncey Peak Trail: Hike Type: Moderate * 2.2 miles * Elevation: 351’ * Located near Meriden, Ct. * Great views
7. Bluff Point State Park and coastal Reserve Trail: Hike Type: Easy * 3.6 miles * Elevation: 154’ * Estimated time of hike: 1h 11min. * Located near Groton, Ct.
8. Mirror Lake, Castle Craig, Merimere Reservoir Loop: Hike Type: Moderate * 4.4 miles * Elevation: 797’ * Located near Meriden, Ct at Hubbard Park
9. Vista and Devil’s Oven via Orange Trail Loop: Hike Type: Moderate * 2.2 miles * Elevation: 462’ * Estimated time of hike: 1h 7 min * Located near East Haddam, Ct. at Devil’s Hopyard State Park
10. Rattlesnake Mountain via Metacomet Trail: Hike Type: Moderate * 2.5 miles * Elevation: 396’ * Estimated time of hike: 1h 8 min * Located near Farmington, Ct
11. Macedonia Brook Loop: Hike Type: Difficult * 6.8 miles * Elevation: 1,735’ * No estimated hike time due to camping * Located in Macedonia Brook State Park, Kent, Ct.
(Image of Wadsworth Falls, Middletown, Connecticut)
Some precious tidbits to always remember:
· Don’t pollute. Pick up after yourself or your pet wherever you go on these beautiful trails.
· Be considerate of other hikers. If you go biking or roller skating or running, always invoke the out loud communication of “on your left/right” so more leisurely people know what is coming up behind them.
· Do not leave the official park trail.
· Do not disturb the environment around you. No picking flowers, or loud music, or breaking branches, etc.
“I walked slowly to enjoy this freedom, and when I came out of the mountains, I saw the sky over the prairie, and I thought that if heaven was real, I hoped it was a place I never had to go, for this earth was greater than any paradise.” ― Daniel J. Rice, The UnPeopled Season: Journal from a North Country Wilderness
Want some fun hiking new hiking gear? Check out the shop before your next hiking trip!