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.
Wadsworth Falls State Park
The winter – with all its snow and bitter cold – may feel long and drawn-out but, it does have its advantages. A recent hike to Wadsworth Falls State Park in Middlefield-Middletown is proof of that.
With snow - now measured in feet - blanketing the ground, I, along with my friend Jenn and our kids tackled the 267-acre park with a vengeance.
Starting out from the main parking lot, we headed up into the tree line staying to the left of the Coginchaug River. Here, it resembles little more than a small stream, but we knew that would soon change as we made our way on the snowy path.
We chose the main trail for our journey which was well-blazed in orange. A winter's worth of foot and ski traffic left behind a decent trail that was easy to maneuver. We found other paths veering off the main trail - attractive for those who want to venture deeper into the woods.
But, the promise of the park's two waterfalls is what kept us committed to the path we were on. And, so we did, for about a half mile. Here, the trail divided yet again, this time signaling to hikers a chance to visit Little Falls.
So, we made our way down the blue blaze. The kids sprinted ahead of us, slipping and sliding down the narrow path headed toward the river. Mind you, with three kids in tow, we weren't the quietest inhabitants of the park; evidenced by the grown deer that bounded across the hillside in hopes of escape. Its appearance was so jarring in a landscape of pure white, it had us glued to our spots.
Once it passed, we continued on our way and soon heard the whoosh of water from Little Falls.
But, although heard, the falls were hidden out of sight - sheathed in thick ice and snow. It appeared as mini glaciers of sorts that looked frozen in mid-cascade down an impressive rock face.
It's a beautiful sight, one many don't often get the chance to see. And, it proved to be a bright spot in a winter hike that had the kids clamoring to see more.
So, after a brief pause we climbed up the slope and found our way back to the main trail before heading off to see the park's namesake – Wadsworth Falls.
The trail was easy to follow as we crunched our way over the packed snow. And, soon enough, we could hear the roar of the falls. We quickly found a make-shift path that cut through the woods towards the river. The snow here made the cut-through a bit dicey, so we made sure to be careful as we maneuvered our way down the hill.
Once below, we crossed some train tracks and slogged up yet another hill in order to reach our destination. And, after some slipping and sliding - there we were.
Looking down on the falls, it appeared as an eruption of water from a mountain of snow and ice. Its power – so strong – that the smell from the spray tinged the air. The noise from the gushing water was also deafening; the sight so amazing it left even the kids speechless.
So, we took the time to stop, watch, and listen, before time reared its ugly head and we began our trek back home; a reminder that even in a long and agonizing winter such as this, moments like these aren't easily duplicated.
Directions: Take Route 66 (Middletown – Meriden Exit 15). Follow Route 66 into Middletown. Look for the Wadsworth Falls State Park sign and turn onto Route 157. Stay on Route 157 to the park.
Total Distance: 2.75 miles