View from the Matabessett Trail

Get Outside!

We in the CT River Valley are fortunate to have so many opportunities and world-class choices for outdoor recreation.  Below, you will find links to trail systems that are open to the public.  You will also find some information on trail map technology and an archive of outings to try.  Where ever you go, be sure to understand the rules and what you can and cannot do on the trails; it’s the best way to keep safe and have fun.  Check back as we add information and opportunities that will help you explore!


Trail Tech

GPS Friendly Maps –  CT State Parks offers some trail system maps that can be used with a free app called “Avenza pdf-maps“.  Download the app to your phone then visit the State Parks website.  The app will allow you to see the State Park or Forest trail map and your location in real time.  You will know where you are and can plan where you want to go.  You can also track your trip.  Give it a try!

MapMyHike –  MapMyHike is a tracking application that enables you to use the built-in GPS of your mobile device to track your location.  Understand  that you will not see, for example, that you are on a specific trail.  You will see where you have been and on a map or satellite background similar to any mobile mapping app. Its kind of fun if you want to track fitness goals or join an online community.  They also provide suggestions for trail systems in other states.  Fun!

Hikes with CT River Views

riverhighlandsVisit these State Park and land trust properties for views of the Connecticut River:

River Highlands State Park in Cromwell                 Selden Neck State park in Lyme

Hurd State Park in East Hampton                         Watch Rock Preserve in Old Lyme

Haddam Meadows State Park in Haddam

Hike Anytime!

Explore new areas of our river valley through our State Parks, local Land Trusts and the CT Forest & Park Association.

Blue Blazed Hiking Trails – interactive map.

WalkCT – Find walks near you as well as places to eat or events nearby.

Local Land Trusts:

Chester Land Trust
Clinton Land Conservation Trust
Connecticut River Land Trust
Deep River Land Trust
East Haddam Land Trust
Essex Land Trust
Haddam Land Trust
Lyme Land Conservation Trust
Lynde Point Land Trust
Middlesex Land Trust
Old Lyme Land Trust
Old Saybrook Land Trust
Salem Land Trust
Westbrook Land Conservation Trust

Hike of the Week – Archive 

Denali’s Ten Essentials for Hiking

Navigation…map and compass…learn the basics as apps do not always work. Sun Protection…so that is a hat…sunglasses…and sunscreen. Insulation…always bring extra clothing… Illumination…headlamp is often preferred as hands can be free…but at least a good flashlight. First Aid Supplies…a must and can be very light..they come already put together… Fire..so[…]

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Chatfield Trail – Killingworth

This trail is part of the Connecticut Forest & Park Association’s Blue Blazed Hiking Trail system, foot travel only.  The whole section we are describing here is less than 5 miles, so it’s an easy day hike for those who are ready for it. Stephen Shaw (one of our guests[…]

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Quinimay Trail – Westbrook to Higganum

“Quinimay” roughly means “long trail” in the Pequot language. At almost 15 miles in length, it may not be the longest in the area, but it’s certainly one of the most varied. Suitable for individuals and families, dogs and horses, mountain bikers, cross-country skiiers and snowshoers, the Quinimay Trail is[…]

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Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge – Westbrook

Yes!  You live near a National Wildlife Refuge!  It’s a real privilege to be able to walk around a federally protected wildlife habitat. Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of 10 units stretched across 70 miles of Connecticut’s coastline. It was established in 1972 and was originally called[…]

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Bluff Head – Guilford

Work off all of that turkey!  This is a challenging hike up and down and up and down basalt ridges.  Did I mention the ups and downs?!  There is a lot of walking on loose trap rock and along steep cliffs so keep an eye on the youngsters and keep[…]

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A Loop Combining the Reservoir Loop and Mattabesett Trails in Middletown

Most short hikes require turning around halfway and backtracking. While Christine Woodside and her husband Nat, CT Forest & Park Association Trail Managers, found most trails look different from a new direction, it’s nice to find a good loop.  Only about a 10-minute drive from downtown Middletown lies a network of paths and reservoirs. Try[…]

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Nyantiquit Trail-Lyme

The Nyantiquit Trail is one of the Connecticut Forest and Parks Associations Blue Blazed Trails.  This trail and its loop, are located in the Nehantic State Forest.  This volunteer maintained trail offers a bit of everything-hiking, wildlife viewing, stone foundations, seasonal views of Long Island Sound and picnicking nearby at[…]

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Cockaponset State Forest- Pine Ledge Section-Chester/Deep River

Short on time, but need to get out?  Looking to start building up some endurance?  Like to explore or rock climb?  Then, the Pine Ledge Section of Cockaponset State Forest, in Chester and Deep River, may just be the place for you. Three roads, Cedar Swamp, Hoopole and North Pine[…]

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Parmelee Farm Trail System – Killingworth

What a great surprise!  We had heard about the trail system here but never had a chance to explore until recently.  The trails are easy to moderate difficulty and take you through fields, woodlands and a gorge and as shown in our photo, a sea of blueberry bushes!  There are[…]

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The New England Trail (NET) – Guilford to Durham

Are you up for a challenge?  This section of the New England National Scenic Trail delivers!   You will begin following some gentle terrain along soft, wide trail bed taking in forests and stream habitats.  The trail becomes more of a single track as you climb over, through (you actually will[…]

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