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.
OLD CEDAR MOUNTAIN HIGHWAY TRAIL
It's an out-of-the-way trail that many may not be aware of. But, the views from the top make this trip to Newington worthwhile.
The Old Cedar Mountain Highway is only about a half mile in length, but it packs a good punch. It's part of the Cedar Mountain-Balf Park Ridgeline Vista Trail, one of four corridors belonging to the Newington Greenway System.
The trail has two different access points. One, is from Mountain Road, where there is on-street parking. The other entrance is located behind the Connecticut Humane Society on Russell Road.
From here, a simple sign alerts hikers to a trail. Some folks take their dogs. Others, like myself, hike it alone. There are connector trails here that are well-kept and mulched. But, the main trail you'll want to look for, continues straight ahead.
As you walk along, the path begins to get a bit rockier and about half-way into the short hike an offshoot appears on the right. This path leads to the outlook point. And after a brief climb upward, an outcrop appears.
The vantage point is stunning. Not only can you view the town below, but you can clearly see for miles around as well. But, despite its beauty, be aware of the sheer drop and keep kids clear of the edge.
Once you get situated, take a moment not only to scan the horizon, but to appreciate the area behind you as well. A variety of maple, ash, and oak trees dot Cedar Mountain. And, if you are lucky enough, you'll see some wildlife scampering by.
Something unusual to note. Back in July of 1995 and again in fall of '66, there were published reports of UFO sightings over Cedar Mountain. It's a neat little nugget of local folklore that still gets some buzz and adds to its allure.
After getting my fill of the sights from atop, I trekked back to the main trail and headed downhill just to check it out. The path continues to be rocky for a short distance before you hit a paved area with a big tank situated on the left. If you continue downhill, the path eventually leads out to Mountain Road.
I chose to go back up the mountain in order to take advantage of the nice workout and to explore the small trails that branch out into the meadow right behind the Humane Society. It's yet another reminder of how little slices of nature can be a welcome reprieve to the suburban landscape just a few steps away.
Directions: From the Berlin Turnpike, take 175/East Cedar Street towards Newington. Take a right onto Genova Drive. Take a left onto Mountain Road.
Parking: On-street parking available on Mountain Road
Trail Distance: .5 miles one-way