What's The Trail Mix
Since childhood, my love of the outdoors has always been a part of me. And as an adult, I hope to share that passion with my own children.
So, I offered this challenge to my family, to join me in exploring the hidden treasures and more popular gems Connecticut and the surrounding region have to offer.
From hiking to biking to kayaking, I hope my window into the outside world inspires you to explore as well.
Our visit to the Swan Hill Trail in Higganum
There are countless trails that weave through Connecticut. So, it's difficult to pick any which one to start with.
But with my two children, 10 and 4, in tow, and my husband along for the ride, I picked one that seemed to work best for our family dynamic. So, with a random glance at Google Maps, we came across this quiet path, the Swan Hill Trail in the Higganum section of Haddam.
Located behind the right side of Haddam Elementary School, the trailhead lies just beyond a grassy field.
A map kiosk greets you at the start, with a marker on the other end of the field detailing yet another entry point.
But, on this day, we forged ahead past the kiosk, to begin the 1.25 mile loop. Just stepping onto the path feels like entering a world devoid of people. The quiet all around us only shattered by my own family's loud trek among the trees.
And the trip begins easily enough, with a simple walk on the HES Pond Trail. The relatively flat path winds through some wetlands and takes you over a couple of wooden bridges before spilling onto the Deer Run Trail.
A bridge over a babbling brook greets you soon after heading right onto the Bible Rock Brook Trail. It's a perfect place to stop and explore, especially with children. From here, you have a choice to go either right or left on the Upland Loop Trail, both of which take you to yet another path, the Old Cart Trail.
The choice is yours, once again, to go either right or left. We chose to go right, and it didn't take long before the trek led us upwards onto the Swan Hill Trail. The trail may be well kept, but keep a sharp eye for tree markers. It's fairly easy to step off path, as we discovered pretty quickly on our venture!
But, with a rock ledge in sight, we headed to our destination, with our little one hitching a ride on dad's shoulders.
And then, there it was. The big reveal. Even the kids stayed quiet long enough to take in the view of the Connecticut River. You can just imagine what it looks like at the peak of autumn! And, with church bells chiming in the background (it was noon) and a weekend sports crowd cheering off in the distance, the moment was textbook New England.
So, after savoring the peace, we headed back down, continuing on the loop and traipsing our way back over the brook and onto that serene field. A short trip…but oh, so sweet.
Directions: The trail is located at 272 Saybrook Rd. in Higganum behind Haddam Elementary School. Turn left at the end of Rt. 9 Exit 9 ramp. Proceed two miles to traffic light and turn left onto Rt. 154. The school is about a ¼ mile on the right.
The trail is owned by Regional School District 17. Hiking is permitted outside of school hours only.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Trail Length: 1.25 miles
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