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.
SESSION WOODS WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA
It’s that time of year when cool, crisp air and touches of color transform many of Connecticut’s forests. And a great spot to see autumn unfold is at Session Woods in Burlington.
It’s a popular retreat for hikers and dog walkers. But, it also serves as an education center for school kids and the public at large. But, perhaps the true draw of this place is the vast number of nooks and crannies available to explore.
The Beaver Pond Trail is the property’s main access way circling the site via a graveled, 2.6-mile trek. I found it easy enough to tackle except for the occasional uphill climbs I had to push through. But, even those were no big deal, as I was easily distracted by the many cool landmarks peppering my hike.
The first I came across was the Summer House. Built in 1926, it sits atop an outcropping and provides a little R & R for anyone passing by. It also offers a nice view of the surrounding hills of Meriden and Southington.
But, that little window into this wild landscape is just the start.
I found myself making a number of side trips along connecting trails to spots like Beaver Marsh and Lookout Tower.
The tower took me up three flights of stairs and offered up a beautiful view of the hills and valley below. The landscape is just as stunning by the water, where burgeoning shades of yellow and red bookend the marsh.
For me, it was the highlight of my hike. An elevated boardwalk makes the journey into the wetlands both dry and easy. The wooden path ends at a waterfowl blind that juts out onto the water and offers a sweeping look at the large pond. While here, I spotted at least two massive beaver dams here and heard the call of ducks echoing across the water.
And, if you want to learn more about the natural history of spots like this, well-placed signs here and all along the trail provide hikers with additional details.
And that’s the thing, there is so much to see and learn in this place. There are trails that offers insight to new forest growth and meadow lands; and for tree-lovers, a path that pinpoints close to two-dozen native species and the valuable role they play here.
So, it isn’t hard to imagine why my own simple hike turned into an all-morning adventure with the promise of even more to see the next time I visit.
Directions: Take CT-72 W. Take exit 33 for CT-72 W toward Bristol. Keep left. Use right lane to take CT-177/North Washington Street ramp. Use right two lanes to turn right onto CT-177 N. Turn left onto Morea Rd. Continue onto Stevens St. Turn right onto Jerome Ave. Turn left onto Shrub Rd. Turn right onto CT-69 N/Burlington Ave. Parking is on the right.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Trail Distance: 4.5 miles