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.
RIVERVIEW TRAIL PARK
When I think of Coventry, I think of a town steeped in history – from its rich, rolling farmlands to its revolutionary gems such as the Nathan Hale Homestead. But, its river systems and streams have also placed this rustic wonder on the map.
The Willimantic River is one such place. It was once a vital resource used to power a thriving mill industry. Now, it’s a scenic byway for hikers and paddlers alike.
Being that it’s winter, I decided a hike was my best bet and began my trek within the boundaries of Riverview Trail Park.
There’s one main path within this 30-acre town-owned property. But, it provides visitors with a chance to observe the river and its wildlife in action.
The trail I set off on is easily accessible and simple enough to follow despite a coating of snow on the ground. Traipsing over a wooden bridge, I quickly came upon the river itself, following its path upstream.
All along the path, wooden signs share interpretive information about the region. One of the first denotes the history of Merrow Mill which began as a gun powder plant in 1887. Across the river, you can spot the remnants of the mill village in the stone walls that still exist there.
As I continued on, I found the low rumble of the river a soothing companion on my trip. This, as the water engaged in a constant tug-of-war with chunks of ice clinging tenuously to the river’s banks.
In warmer times, I can see why this would be a popular place to fish. The path follows the river closely, and offers key spots to catch trout and other species such as perch and small-mouthed bass.
Wildlife can be spotted elsewhere as well. The tracks I found in the snow were abundant and varied. You can tell deer use the path often. And evidence of the occasional bunny is easy to see too. Some tracks are harder to figure out, but that’s what makes it so fun to explore.
Despite the vanishing act of some animals, others are not so shy. Flittering through the canopy, numerous birds call out to each other and forage for food. Their sweet calls followed me at every turn of the river before I made my way to the trail’s end where a bench calls to the weary.
But, it wasn’t weariness I was feeling at the end of this journey, but rather - joy - to have discovered this little slice of wonder so close to home.
Directions: Take I-84 E to Exit 68 for CT-195 toward Tolland/Mansfield. Turn right onto CT-195 S. Turn right onto CT-32 S for a little less a mile. Parking is on the left by the sign.
Trail Distance: 1 mile (round trip)
Trail Difficulty: Easy
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