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Get Some Exercise with the 20 Best Walking Trails in CT (Paved and Unpaved)

Connecticut has so many walking trails, it is hard to pick the best, but we managed to get the most beautiful walking trails in CT all in one list. We have included both paved and unpaved Connecticut walking trails on our 2 separate lists.

There are over hundreds of miles of hiking trails in Connecticut, so you know that no matter which one you choose, you are experiencing a piece of Connecticut’s flora and beautiful nature reserves. If you aren’t looking for a strenuous hike, many of these trails are actually great for just a leisurely stroll.

Need to destress? Then you will definitely love one of these trails.

With so many options and a few with modern amenities, the 10 best walking trails in Connecticut offer a blissful getaway and time to be one with nature – one of our favorite outdoor activities here.

Sound good? Keep reading to find one of the best walking trails in CT to check out!

10 best walking trails in ct pinterest image.

10 best unpaved walking trails in CT

1. Mattabesett Trail- Central, Connecticut

 If you are good with following directions, then the Mattabesett Trail will be a welcome challenge for you. The trail has great views of central Connecticut, if you make it to the top then you can experience the traprock ridges and a great vista.

Once you climb up Meriden’s Giuffrida Park through Chauncey Peak, you will reach Lamentation Mountain and be at the peak elevation. Once you’re there though, you will get an uninterrupted view of Hartford, almost to New Haven!

Then, when you’re done basking in all the beautiful Connecticut views, descend back to the ground and check out the lake, from the bottom to the top, it’s just a 2-mile walk!

2. Bigelow Hollow State Park- Union, Connecticut

 Northeast Connecticut is known for its wild, yet refined lands. Here at the Bigelow Hollow State Park, you can take in the amazing forest and water views.

It is inside Nipmuck State Forest, and the trail branches off in each direction so you can try something new if you return.

The seasoned hikers out there love the Nipmuck Trail entrance of the hike that reaches Breakneck Pond, because it offers some amazing rock formations and all the great parts of Connecticut’s nature.

3. Mattatuck Trail- Wolcott, Connecticut

 Inside Wolcott’s Peterson Park, the Mattatuck Trail is right off Route 69 and leads through to the Mad River.

It’s serene, quiet, and surrounds you with a natural amphitheater that would be hard to leave! If you walk the trail up to the 5-mile mark, then you will cross some roads that go through a residential area, and lead to Buttermilk Falls, which is like a Connecticut treasure buried in the woods.

The entire hike is a little under 6 miles, so you may be able to make it both ways, if not, bring some friends and park on either side of the entrance and exit!

woman on walking trails in CT.

4. Mine Hill Preserve- Roxbury, Connecticut

If you are a walker or a hiker, then the Mine Hill Preserve won’t disappoint! There are a couple of natural preserves perfect for walking, but the granite quarries, iron mines, and 19th-century iron-making complex are an awesome sight to walk through.

The blue loop trail leads to the Donkey Trail that hosts a reservoir, air shafts, and mine tunnels. It’s like walking back in time!

The trail is about 4 miles and has some huge granite cliffs that extend into the Shepaug River Valley. Overall, the Mine Hill Preserve is basically a museum you can walk through outside!

5. Farm River State Park- East Haven, Connecticut

This is a smaller park that makes it easier to explore. The Farm River State Park is about 62 acres, and has some hiking portions, but is mostly for walking in the shorter trail lengths.

There are seaside views, the sound of freshwater, and salt marshes that you can get up close to! The park is super diverse and offers so many of Connecticut’s best nature traits.

There is marshland, wetlands, and some animals like gulls and ducks, even blue herons!

6. Trout Brook Valley State Park Reserve- Weston, Connecticut

 Now this one is a huge trail! With over 300 acres, the Trout Brook Valley State Park Reserve is a valley preservation effort that has over 700 acres of land in the towns of Weston and Easton.

You can walk right into the park through Bradley Road in Weston, and use the dirt roads for cross country exploring.

The rugged hills, valleys, wetlands, wildlife, and watercourses make for a perfect walking trail experience!

7. White Memorial Conservation Center- Litchfield, Connecticut

 Okay, this has to be the biggest walking trail in Connecticut. The White Memorial Conservation Center is 4,000 acres and boasts as the example for nature and environmental awareness.

You can camp here, so you can rest and walk through all the sights, but you can boat or picnic here as well.

They even have birding and over 30 miles of hiking trails, a boardwalk trail with wetland habitats, and an interpretative nature trail!

image of person with backpack on Connecticut walking trail.

8. Macedonia Brook State Park- Kent, Connecticut

With about 2,000 acres of space, the Macedonia Brook State Park has an array of peaks and mountains for visitors to come and submerse themselves in Connecticut’s walking and hiking offerings.

It is one of the most popular trails and has the blue-blazed Macedonia Ridge Trail to call home. It’s about 6 miles and crosses over Cobble Mountain.

If you make the 1,000-foot trek up, you will see an incredible view of the Taconic and Catskill mountains.

9. Tunxis Trail- Barkhamsted, Connecticut

Ever wanted to get lost in a cave? Well, you won’t get lost, but the Tunxis Trail has some caves for you to check out.

The walking trail is 4 miles and leads to the Indian Council Caves. Then, you can cross over into the woods off of Route 219.

The ‘magical romp’ got its name from Peter Marteka from the Hartford Courant. The wind blows through the evergreen forest and makes the pine needles fall like snow!

10. Steep Rock- Washington, Connecticut

Nestled into Litchfield County is the lush, serene walking trail of Steep Rock.

It has been hailed Connecticut’s most beautiful land trust property because of its natural, gorgeous scenery. With over 900 acres of land to explore, Steep Rock is a natural wonder.

The Steep Rock leads through a couple of the preserve’s features, mainly the Green Circle trail that’s 3 miles and leads you to the sparkling Shepaug River.

Top 10 Paved Walking Trails in CT

1. Air Line State Park Trail- Middlesex, Windham, Tolland, New London, Connecticut

The Air Line State Park is perfect for the Connecticut natives who want to spend time outdoors and see some sights along the way.

The trail is 55 miles, and can even reach all the way to Massachusetts. The paved gravel and crushed-rock surface are easier to walk on, it’s a bit challenging for bikers but if you are into that, then it’s fine!

The fall is so beautiful here too, and the trail is essentially a link between the New England Rail-Trail

2. Hop River State Park Trail- Tolland, Hartford, Connecticut

 The Hop River State Park is like a storybook trail in real life. The covered bridge and tunnels are in the 20-mile trail that goes through eastern Connecticut.

The woodlands are spread through the deep railroad cuts that are awesome for shelter and for taking a break during your walk.

The winter is also super gorgeous here since the woodlands ice up perfectly. It was also once the trail of the month!

3. Vernon Rails-to-Trails- Tolland, Connecticut

This is probably the best way for you to explore all the historical scenery in Rockville.

Northern Connecticut is a massive undertaking, but the Vernon Rails-to-Trails area has 4 miles of paved stone trails for you to take your time strolling on through.

The wooded corridor in the trail comes after the Tankerhoosen River and drops off at the National Register of Historic Places district, so this won’t just be a walk in the woods, it’s an adventure!

4. Farmington Canal Heritage Trail- Hartford, New Haven, Connecticut

This trail is a perfect show of the history from railroad to trail. The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail is 48 miles long, starts at the Yale Campus, and continues through Hartford nearly to Massachusetts.

The corridor came from an old canal that is now the completed corridor. It is the longest paved trail in Connecticut, has a smooth asphalt surface, and is close to some population centers. 

You can follow the trail to the East Coast Greenway, and it shares a connection with the New England Rail-Trail Spine.

5. Farmington River Trail- East, Connecticut

The Farmington River Trail is shaped like a ‘c’ and has a lot for you to come check out! It runs through some forests and small communities in Hartford and connects to the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail.

The loop is 26 miles and is used often to make that connection. This trail is 16 miles though, so not bad for a couple of days’ worth of a walk.

It is completely paved, with maybe a mile of crushed stone, so it is definitely easier to follow the path and still catch some beautiful sights like the Farmington River and the Canton Historical Museum.

6. Pequonnock River Trail- Fairfield, Connecticut

This historic part of Bridgeport has been the perfect spot for lots of walkers.

It groups the developed trails along the Housatonic railroad. The trail walkers love the Riverside parkland as it’s the perfect place to stop and relax.

The Pequonnock River Wildlife area is 5 miles long and close to the Beardsley Park and Zoo, so this will definitely be a fun destination!

7. Charter Oak Greenway- Hartford, Connecticut

The Charter Oak Greenway is near the Hop River and has 16 miles of paved walking trails. It is 16 miles from the downtown district of Hartford and the State Capitol.

Pass through the downtown green space, and land at the Colonial-era town of Manchester from the trail.

It also meets the Hop River State Park Trail, so you can check out a couple of different walking trails in one go!

8. Larkin State Park Trail- New Haven, Connecticut

 Immerse yourself in a woodsy, quiet walking trail at the Larkin State Park Trail.

This is a great destination for a shady walk outside. It is an 11-mile trail, and runs through Naugatuck and Southbury, so the location is great!

It was founded at first as the Larkin State Bridle Trail for equestrians, so the pathway is popular for horse-riders and bikes too!

9. Middlebury Greenway- New Haven, Connecticut

This one is fun and perfect for a family trip! The paved trail is about 5 miles long and crosses through Middlebury, so you can check out the historic districts, parks, and business centers while you are here!

The amusement park is also about a century old, so there is so much history to explore at the Middlebury Greenway.

It’s not just a walking trail, it is like a trip to an outdoor museum!

10. Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail- Hartford, Connecticut

This is another trail that meets a few other destinations. The Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail is wooded, has wildlife like bald eagles, and takes up the land between the Connecticut River and the Enfield Falls Canal. It’s entirely gorgeous and easy to navigate.

The bald eagles are also protected because the park closes from November and into the spring so that they are safe!

We hope you have some ideas about where to visit! These are the best walking trails, paved and unpaved, in CT and will certainly leave you with some gorgeous photos and incredible memories.

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