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.
Little Laurel Lime Park
Of all the hikes I’ve gone on, I never quite imagined I’d be writing about my encounter with an ancient coral reef. But, that’s what once existed in the middle of what’s now Little Laurel Lime Park in Seymour.
Fast forward millions of years and that coral has morphed into marble rocks and caves – one of the top reasons I dragged my friend Jenn with me to check it out.
We parked at the dead-end road adjacent to the 136-acre park and set off from the trailhead. The hike began easily enough as we kept to the leaf-littered trail on our travels.
At first, we followed the blue-blazed markings, keeping right every time the trail looked like it was splitting off. It does get confusing however with all the paths to choose from - some forged by ATV riders, others by the original trailblazers themselves. At one intersection, who found what looked like a stone oven built around a tree. Its quirky presence was enough to grab our attention, but not enough to keep us from moving forward.
Keeping to the right, we began a steady climb to the top of a ridge. Huge pieces of bedrock left behind in the last ice age cover the ridge. And they are a great spot for sitting and enjoying the view overlooking the Housatonic River.
But, our break didn’t last long. We wanted to check out the caves that this park is known for. We detoured south on yet another trail towards the center of the reserve. We soon walked through a small valley that erupted into these intricate and scattered caves on either side of us.
After making our discovery, the skies opened up and a brief shower of hard rain came down. Scrambling up the side of one ridge, we sought shelter in one of the caves. Although the caves are only a few feet deep, they did offer us some relief and a chance to drink in our surroundings.
Taking a closer look, much of the rock we came across is covered by dark deposits. According to the Seymour Land Trust – it originally came down during a series of volcanic eruptions – that coated the reef at one point. Quite an impressive history to say the least.
Once the rain passed, we poked around a bit to explore the nooks and crannies of this place. It was fun but quite slippery due to the leaves and rain. But, it was still well worth the trouble.
Wrapping up our little expedition, we followed a trail that paralleled a dry brook, before we stumbled upon a beautiful rock wall on our way back to the car. Once again, the number of side trails could have had us exploring for hours. But, the true hero of this trip were the caves – the key to making this rugged hike a memorable one.
Directions: Take CT-15 S/Wilbur Cross Pkwy towards Orange. Take exit 58 to CT-8 N in Derby. Follow CT-8 N to CT-334 W/Wakelee Ave. in Ansonia. Take exit 19 from CT-8 N. Continue on CT-334 W about 2.5 miles. Take a left onto Laurel Ln. Drive straight over Tomlinson Rd. and onto Tibbetts Rd. to the end.
Trail Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Trail Distance: 2.5 miles