Ten Connecticut State Parks are among hundreds of parks across the nation celebrating the new year with free guided hikes.
According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, America’s State Parks First Day Hikes offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on January 1, 2019 at a state park close to home. First Day Hikes are designed to get people outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family.
DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee said there is wide variety of trails for all hiking skill levels.
“We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our state parks. Whether you join a guided hike or venture out on your own, you will not be disappointed in the variety of hiking trails that our state has to offer. Connecticut has hundreds of miles of trails appropriate for all age levels to enjoy as we celebrate the first day of 2019.”
In Connecticut, hikes will be offered at the following locations and times:
Gillette Castle State Park
67 River Rd., East Haddam, CT.
The hike will begin at 12 noon. Meet at the Visitor’s Center. Hike will follow the old rail bed, easy hike for approximately 45 minutes to an hour. After the first hike, a second hike of approximately ¾ of a mile will be offered; this hike will include river views.
James L. Goodwin Conservation Center
23 Potter Rd., Hampton, CT.
The hike will begin at 12 noon. It’s a moderate, two-hour hike covering 3-4 miles; dogs on leash allowed.
Haddam Meadows State Park
Route 154, Haddam, CT
1:00 PM start
Easy 2-mile hike. Meet at the parking lot entrance. Walk along the Connecticut River, learn about the background geology, floodplain habitats, and human impact on landscape. Bring water, snackand snowshoes, if needed. Dogs on leash allowed. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Kettletown State Park
Miller Trail – 1:00 hike – 2 miles
This hike will allow for hikers to see much of the damage in the park from the May tornado that struck Connecticut and devastated Sleeping Giant and Wharton Brook State Parks.
Hammonasset State Park
1:00 p.m. hike – 1 mile
Meet at the Meigs Point Nature Center. Hike will be led by Dr. Don Rankin and Friends of Hammonasset. Don will share his knowledge of Native Americans and geological formations.
Rocky Neck State Park
10:00 a.m. hike – 2 miles – No strollers or pets.
Registration is helpful, but not necessary. Fresh snow greater than 1 foot cancels the hike. Outhouses are within walking distance to hike start.
Mansfield Hollow State Park
Bassett’s Bridge Rd., Mansfield, CT,
11 AM (arrive by 10:45 AM), moderate, 2 hikes – 4.5 mile & 2.2 mile
Meet in the Mansfield Hollow Recreation Area parking lot. Dogs on leash allowed.
Peoples State Forest
Matthies Grove Picnic Area, 106 East River Road, Barkhamsted, CT
1:00 PM, moderately strenuous, 2.5 miles.
This loop hike will start on the Robert Ross Trail,turn onto King Road, and return on the Agnes Bowen Trail. Bring water. No dogs, please. Sponsor: The Friends of American Legion and Peoples State Forests (FALPS). Website: www.ct.gov/deep/PeoplesCancellation: www.facebook.com/ctfalps.Contact: Janet Bumstead, firstname.lastname@example.org or (860) 882-9632.
Scantic River State Park
Melrose Road, East Windsor, CT, 1 PM, moderate, 2.5 mile hike, 2 hours.
Meet in parking area at end of Melrose Road off Broad Brook Road. Donations will becollected for the local food pantry (human and pet items). Dogs on leash welcome.
Sessions Woods #1, 341 Milford Street, Burlington CT 10:00 AM, moderate 5.5 mile loop hike. Meet by kiosk in the Sessions Woods parking lot.
Sessions Woods #2 – Sky’s the Limit Hike, 341 Milford Street Burlington CT 1:00 PM, hike will follow the Beaver Pond Trail and last between 60 and 90 minutes. Join us for cocoa inthe Conservation Education Center afterwards.