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.
Quinnipiac Linear Trail
In winter, you expect snow. But, the constant barrage of storms we've had of late, have kept many of us homebound. But, during a recent lull, I decided to sneak in a hike and took my oldest daughter Belle along for the ride.
So, we headed to Wallingford to tackle the Quinnipiac Linear Trail. It's a path I've explored before, but only in summer. Now, with a blanket of snow on the ground, its landscape was transformed - offering a new look at some familiar gems.
The trail is easy enough to spot setting off from the parking lot parallel to the Wilbur Cross Parkway. If you choose, there is an offshoot near the entrance of the lot that takes you by Community Lake. The trail is only a ¼ mile long. But, with all that snow cover we decided to concentrate on the Linear Trail itself.
And so we set out, honing in on a small worn path in the snow. Packed down by cross-country skiers and hikers, the snow supported our weight as we drudged along. The sound of cars whizzing by on the highway was a constant drone, but it was soon forgotten as we made our way down the trail.
Sometimes we'd find ourselves veering off the path, bringing the snow right to our knees. But, it proved entertaining for Belle who bounced around unhampered by the weight of it all. Also catching our attention were the number of dogs out and about with their owners – unimpeded by the cold, wet snow all around them.
But, there's much more to see on the trail besides the four-legged traffic. A little less than a mile in, stands a grand red oak tree to the left of the trail. It's described as one of the largest red oaks in Connecticut standing at more than 98 feet. A signpost at its base details the particulars.
As we passed the tree, we soon came across the quick-moving Quinnipiac River on the other side of the path. A couple of benches line its shore calling to the weary traveler. For my daughter and I, just standing by the rushing water gave us a chance to catch our breath and marvel at the beautiful scenery.
On the trail again, we made our way across the iron bridge that spans the river. The path then led us through a tunnel under Route 15 and back to the water's edge. It's here where we turned around and headed back -- wrapping up a refreshing trek that's impressive no matter what the season.
Directions: Take the Wilbur Cross Parkway (Route 15) to Exit 65 toward CT-150. Merge onto River Rd. Turn left onto Masonic Ave./CT-150. Parking is less than a mile away off Hall Ave./CT-150 on the left.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Trail Distance: 2.5 miles