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.
North Haven Tidal Marsh Trail
Hidden and mostly forgotten – there’s a stretch of the Quinnipiac River that flows out of sight and out of mind.
But it’s there - just beyond the thousands of shoppers that descend the popular Target shopping plaza in North Haven every day.
I, myself, have come here dozens of times and never imagined what lies just beyond the big red bullseye that looms large in this parking lot.
You can spot the entrance by traveling to the back of the Target building and looking for the big, trailhead sign. It’s a window into a natural wonder that largely goes unnoticed.
But, the view is literally right in front of you. The spot is about 10-20 feet above the water’s edge and offers a sweeping look at Sleeping Giant and the river’s marshlands.
The trail is a short one – only about a half mile in one direction. But, it is a draw for those hoping to see eagles and ospreys that call this river home. I wasn’t lucky enough to spot one on this visit, but I did catch glimpses of a great heron in flight and Canadian geese on the move.
Venturing further south led me into a lightly-wooded forest where I came upon the abandoned Cedar Hill Rail Yard – one of the largest railyards ever built in the U.S.
Another railyard closer to the highway is still in use. But the one before me was in disarray and long abandoned. Rusted tracks strewn all across the ground resembled the bones of a prehistoric dinosaur – many of its ribs reclaimed by the roots of tangled trees.
And that’s the story I’ve seen woven over and over again – nature’s never-ending drive to survive and ultimately thrive …… just out of sight and out of mind.
Directions: Take I-91 S to Exit 9. Take the Montowese Avenue Extension to Universal Drive North. There are signs for the Tidal Marsh Trail you can follow. But, if you miss them, cross over the bridge and take a left into the shopping complex. Go all the way back behind the Target store and park in the back lot. The trailhead is there.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Trail Distance: 1 mile
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