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.
If you are searching for a hike that has a little bit of everything, check out Northwest Park in Windsor. This town-owned park sits on a 473-acre parcel of land and offers a multitude of programs for families. Its animal barn and nature center are staples for the large droves of children that come here for educational programs and camps.
But beyond the barn buildings and outdoor pavilion lie several miles of trails that intersect with a variety of landscapes that offer choices for the casual hiker. On this particular day, my curiosity took me to a couple of spots, beginning with the pond trail.
It took about 15-20 minutes to reach the trail head, and that's the case for most of the treks at this park.
Many of the trails stem off of old farm roads which then lead to the start of the trail you choose.
These paths are wide and well-marked, with posts detailing in which direction the traveler should go.
And as soon as you hit that path, you find yourself surrounded by the natural elements. Birds flicker past on the grassy fields that line the road. And, as you enter the wooded grove, the rustle of trees adds to your sense of wonder. On this hike, the only sounds of the ‘civilized world' came from nearby Bradley Airport as an isolated plane or two flew overhead.
Before long, I found myself on the Pond Trail which is pretty easy to maneuver. Again, painted symbols on the trees helped lead the way on this ½ mile trek. After navigating a steep, downhill turn, I found myself at the pond's edge. The pond is connected to the larger Rainbow Reservoir which also features its own waterside trails.
But, on this trip, my focus was on the pond which was inundated with broken trees and swampy vegetation, a great environment for the little critters that live here. The area is free of litter and the boards that line this boggy area are sturdy and well-built.
Heading back uphill, I took the Pond Trail as far as it could go before dumping out onto the Hemlock Trail. The change was easy to navigate and offered a different feel for the hike I was on. Back on the farm road, well-placed information boards at key points also educate the hiker about their surroundings.
From this point it was another short ½ mile trek back to the field and barns that grace the centerpiece of this park – just more great reasons to pay this place a visit. And, one on my list to visit again.
Directions: Take I-91 to Exit 38. Take a right on Poquonock Ave. (Rt. 75 north) for about one mile. Take your first left after the traffic light at Prospect Hill Road. Go to the traffic circle bearing right on Lang Road. Continue down Lang Road. Parking is on the right.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Trail Length: .5 - 1 mile