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.
Enders State Forest
Sometimes the shortest of hikes are often the most dramatic. And on this particular trip that was especially true – as my sister, Chris, and I set out to explore a series of waterfalls that are said to be among the best in the state.
The place? – Enders State Forest. The forest covers 2,100 acres in the towns of Granby and Barkhamsted. But, it’s the park’s cluster of waterfalls that draw most visitors to a half-mile swatch of land that’s by far the most popular.
The number of waterfalls is debatable. But, we found at least five on our short trek – including one that is just yards away from the parking lot.
So, without losing another moment, we entered the woods and followed the sounds of rushing water. The small cascade we came across is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Enders. This particular waterfall is pleasant enough and easy to explore, but nothing like what’s in store further along.
Further along the trail, we came across the second set. The falls here stand at an impressive height. The water pours over the rocks and crevices and continues downstream in an extension of the Salmon Brook’s west branch. But, the roar of falls further down the trail continued to draw us in.
Within a few yards, we neared some of the most impressive falls yet. Here, ledges add to the dramatic plunge of the falls to a bubbling pool below. On hot days, the water is quite a draw for visitors. And on this particular morning it was no different, as we came across a group of teens taking a dip in the cooling waters here.
We pushed on knowing there were at least two more sets to see. But, take care. The path closest to the falls becomes tougher to maneuver. Moss coats the rocks here and are slick with water from the falls - making the trek more treacherous.
Ironically, the next set of falls is less dramatic than the hike was to reach them. Visually, it looks more like an infinity pool than an explosion of turbulent water running off an overhang. But, just consider this the lead-up to the finale.
Divided into two segments – the plunges here mark our last spot. As the water thunders down, fallen trees add a dramatic flair in this final display of wonder. Before heading back to the trailhead, we made sure to take the time to enjoy the sights and sounds, traipsing across the boulders that nearly kiss the falls.
We returned the way we came, grabbing hold of slippery boulders and ledges to gain purchase. It not only gave us a workout, but also provided us with a fresh perspective of the falls. For those looking for a different route out, there’s a parallel path visitors can also use to round out this short, but action-packed hike.
Turns out the possibilities at Enders seem endless – whichever path you choose.
Directions: Take I-91 N to Exit 40 for CT-20 toward Bradley Airport. Continue onto CT-20 W. Take CT-20 W exit toward E Granby/Granby. Continue on CT-20 W. Take slight left onto CT-20 W/W Granby Rd. Turn left onto CT-219 S. Follow for about 1.5 miles. Parking at Enders will be on your left.
Trail Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Trail Distance: 1 mile (round trip)