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.
Hurd State Park
For more than a year now, I’ve hiked in forests and preserves all over the state – each time going to a different town or city to explore the natural wonders each has to offer.
But, recently, while the fall colors were at its peak, I chose to visit an old favorite: Hurd Park.
It was a rare morning in which my husband Tom and I were free from our usual routine of hauling our children to play dates or sporting events. So, we seized the moment, and loaded the kids and dogs into the car and headed to East Hampton.
We parked in a lot off Hurd Park Road - one of a handful of entry points to the park. Here, the 1,000-acre woods, starts off with one of several trails found within its borders – this one marked white.
Kids and dogs alike took to the trail pretty quickly, enjoying its wide span and rocky surface. Along the way, we past full swaths of ferns acting as ground cover and huge trees that seem to touch the sky.
Our happy parade shattered any type of true quiet the woods could possess. But, then again, no one was within earshot of our chaotic adventure.
A little less than a mile in, my youngest was showing signs of fatigue. But, luckily, the scenery changed a bit as we came upon a parking circle and veered off on a red trail toward the water. The change of pace was welcome news for the kids who were curious enough to carry on.
This leg of the hike takes a downwards trek weaving in and out of the foliage. Before long, we came upon a small break in the tree line and found ourselves on a sliver of beach by the water’s edge.
From here, at the height of autumn, the view of the Connecticut River is a beautiful one. The glow of the colors bounce off the shimmer of the water. And even so late in the season, a passing sailboat went sliding by.
The bark of other dogs with their owners reached us here as well. And as we continued on the trail, we stumbled upon a small camping site where we came face to face with one on a fishing errand.
The spot is ideal for man’s best friend and for the avid fishermen who come here - the nooks and crannies of the land calling to those who love the sport. The kids took some time to explore the area too - checking out the water’s edge and climbing a large boulder in a makeshift ‘king of the mountain’ stunt.
Once they tired of that a bit, we changed course and headed uphill making a loop back to our original starting point. Spent from our hike, our return trip was a bit quieter – much to the relief of the critters hiding out in the woods, and to me, as I enjoyed these last moments with an old favorite.
Directions: Take Route 66 East to CT-151 S. Take a right onto CT-151 S for 2.5 miles. A small lot is on the right where CT-151 and CT-439 split. Other parking is down CT-439/Hurd Park Rd.
Trail Distance: Easy
Trail Difficulty: 2 miles