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.
BETHANY FARMS TRAIL SYSTEM
I went in search of a lake, located a farm, and ultimately, found myself in a forest.
Bethany has a handful of lakes and waterways that seem promising for a hike. But, this small New England town has much more to offer as well.
Lush hills and postcard-like farms helped sidetrack my original plans for a hike by the water. And on my travels, I stumbled upon what’s known as the Bethany Farms Trail System.
Run by the Bethany Land Trust, five trails span this 70-acre section that crosses over into neighboring Woodbridge. The main trail, blazed in blue, parallels a small stream on the edge of the property.
That trailhead served as my starting point, hidden in the heavy foliage along a quiet suburban neighborhood. And, of the two and half miles of trail, you’ll find much of this path system weaving in and out of homes and woods here.
According to the Trust, the parcel offers a ‘peaceful retreat’ among one of the town’s largest housing developments. And, it sure appeared to be the case during my own visit to the reserve.
With conditions muggy, buggy, and blustery, I slowed my own hike down a bit reveling in the remarkable quiet so close to near-by homes.
It wasn’t long before the well-marked trail took me deep into the woods. A few images of The Blair Witch Project (a-la the 1999 version) crept into my head. But, I soon tossed those thoughts aside as I gingerly made my through the heavy foliage.
Plenty of rocks and a few downed trees made it a bit rough. And, the fact I left my hiking boots at home didn’t help either. But, taking it steady and slow got me through any real headaches.
It didn’t take long to notice the yellow-blazed offshoots that lead hikers to other adventures. I took one up a nearby hill and was rewarded with a view of a small field overgrown with late-summer wildflowers.
There are four yellow trails in all, each with a different vantage point of the entire property. Some bring you over steep inclines or along a ridge, while others follow the path of another small brook that flows over the town border and reconnects to the blue Naugatuck Trail.
You don’t have to experience them all. Just take the time to enjoy what’s before you. You may be surprised at what you can discover.
Directions: Take CT-15 S/Wilbur Cross Pkwy to Exit 59 for CT-69 toward CT-63/New Haven/Woodbridge. Turn left onto CT-69 N. Turn left onto Lucy St. Turn right onto CT-63 N. Turn left onto Round Hill Rd. Turn right onto Briar Rd. Briar Rd. turns slightly left and becomes Chelsea Cir. Chelsea Cir becomes Farm View Rd. Parking is along the road. Roadside parking is also available along Chelsea Circle and Country Lane.
Trail Distance: 1 mile
Trail Difficulty: Easy