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.
Finch Brook Preserve
In a little corner of Wolcott, there’s a preserve that provides people with a woodland escape just steps away from suburbia.
At more than 60 acres, Finch Brook Preserve is one of those places that defines what I see as a classic hike through the woods. The trailhead is located at the end of a cul-de-sac and enters seamlessly into the forest. The loop trail, blazed blue, cuts a winding swath through a scenic setting filled with an abundance of oak, maple, and hickory.
Even though it was likely clear-cut more than a century ago, the reforested land is thick in growth – dating back a good 80 to 100 years. Swampland also peppers the area making it difficult for development - and as I discovered - hiking too.
Now, don’t get me wrong, most of the trail is easy to manage. But, there are times where my dog Murphy and I had to negotiate rockier sections and muddy pools just to move ahead.
I was never far from the homes that surround the preserve, but the intrusion fell away pretty quickly as the trail’s twists and turns drove deeper into the woods.
Then, there’s Finch Brook itself. It’s not the grandest of waterways, but it has the power to bubble and flow all year round. After recent rains, it had an added boost on this particular morning. And, with a foot bridge in place, it was easy enough to cross.
The finishing touch on this hike, however, were the poems I found framed and mounted on trees along the way. Inspiring words from great poets such as Emily Dickenson and Maya Angelou detail nature’s true significance. Someone took the time to post them, so I took the time to read them. And, I’m glad. There are no truer words written.
Directions: Take I-691 W toward Meriden/Waterbury. Use the left two lanes to take Exit 1 for I-84 W toward Waterbury/Danbury. Merge onto I-84. Take Exit 25A for Austin Rd. Turn right onto Austin Rd. Turn left onto E Main St. Turn right onto Norris St. Turn right onto Meriden Rd. Turn left onto Morris Lane. Turn right onto Celia Dr. Turn right onto Barbara Dr. Park in the dead end circle.
Trail Distance: 2.5 miles
Trail Difficulty: Easy to Moderate