Fish the lake and hit the trails, active endeavors
This 10-mile bike ride starts off with hills, then becomes easier. Beginning at the entrance to White Memorial on Rte. 202, right onto Bissel Rd., right onto Alain White Rd., right onto East Shore Rd., right onto Rte. 109, right onto Rte. 209, right onto North Shore Rd, right onto Rte. 202.
Open 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. See syrup being made in mid-February to the end of March. Phone ahead. Maple syrup sold year round.
69 Goose Green Road
They produce and sell maple syrup. Open all year. Call ahead.
390 Norfolk Road
(at Route 44)
This hike is steep and can be a challenge, but the once you reach the top, the views are beautiful. The trail is clearly marked and well maintained.
If you are looking for rafting and canoe trips with scheduled drop-off and pick-up, then Clarke’s is for you. Rafting on the Housatonic River is generally safe as it moves at a steady pace. Canoeing can be a bit nerve wracking because of the currents and rocks. They provide all of the equipment.
Rob Nicholas is a veteran angler, expert fly tier, and guide in the area. He will show you the best places for fishing. Tends to be booked up, so plan ahead.
Whether you ski downhill, snowboard, or just watch, Mohawk is a great place to be on a beautiful winter’s day. The full-service alpine ski center offers rentals, and lessons, and has a ski shop. There are cross-country trails for snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing at the top of the mountain, but they are not maintained or connected to the ski area. Don’t forget there’s dining in the lodge.
46 Great Hollow Road
Known for its fabulous views and fall foliage, there’s 30 miles of hiking trails complete with bogs and ponds at this wildlife sanctuary. Bring a picnic. Access to the state park is off of Route 4 in Cornwall.
Falls Village (Canaan)
Worth the easy 10-minute hike to get to the spectacular waterfall. Should not be missed, year round. Bring the kids.
Part of the legendary Appalachian Trail, the River Walk trail is flat, well maintained and easy to follow. It is about 4 to 5 miles along the river. Enter the trail from either side, Cornwall or Kent. Enjoy the many types of birds, insects, mammals, water fowl, and plant life.
South Kent School
40 Bulls Bridge Road
Located 5 miles north of Kent on Route 7, this park has a trail loop that goes over the falls and into the forest, and is a designated trout park. But the main attraction is the stunning waterfall dropping 250 feet in under a quarter mile. There’s swimming in the basin at the bottom of the falls. Beautiful all year round. Bring the kids and have a picnic. Can be crowded on weekends in the summer.
This popular state park consists of 95 acres and is located in Kent. The breathtaking views from the small beach on Lake Waramaug are wonderful. There’s swimming, picnic tables, barbeque grills, kayak and canoe rentals. The campground is very popular, too.
If you like open skating, this is the place for you. Check the local papers for schedule.
This is the tallest peak in Connecticut. Undermountain Trail is the a popular trail and part of the legendary Appalachian Trail. It’s a long and steep hike, but there are streams, waterfalls, and woodlands, so take your time and enjoy. It is about a 5 to 6 mile round trip, best to plan the day around it.
Another all-day excursion, this is a challenging walk. The reward is the gorgeous view from the top. Along the way, enjoy the wildflowers and the songbirds.
251 Canaan Road
Open for visits mid-February through March. Maple syrup sold year round. Call ahead.
79 East Chestnut Hill Road
Open 7 days a week, 8am-6pm. There are extended hours for sugaring season. Visitors are encouraged to stop by anytime. Free tours of facilities. School groups welcome. For tours larger than 7, please call ahead to schedule.
74 Wilson Road
The short hike to the top reveals a 34 foot stone tower with 360-degree view, which is amazing. To cool off, you can take a swim in Mount Tom Pond, which is spring fed. Bring a picnic.
Part of White Memorial, this lovely boardwalk circles the marsh. A great place to walk with kids and view birds and beavers.
The White Memorial Conservation Center operates an Environmental Education Center and Nature Museum, and is located in the heart of the 4000-acre White Memorial Foundation. The outdoor arena includes the wildlife sanctuary. The Foundation comprises fields, water, and woodlands, trails, campgrounds, boating facilities, and special areas for large outdoor educational and recreational gatherings. The White Memorial has miles of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. It is free and open to the public.
Fifteen trails serviced by 5 lifts with one hundred percent snowmaking coverage offering varied terrain choices for skiers. Day and night skiing and snowboarding from early December through late March. Fifteen downhill trails serviced by 5 lifts with one hundred percent snowmaking coverage offering varied terrain choices for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. Full service rental and repair shop, snowsports shop, modern and spacious lodge with two self-service food courts, apres ski lounge and mountain view decks. Showsports School offers group and private lessons for ages 4 and up.
Maple syrup for sale year round. Sugarhouse open during the season. Small groups welcome. Call ahead.
525 West Hill Road
Open weekday mornings for skating: Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesdays from 9 to 10:15 a.m., and Fridays from 9 to 11:15 a.m. through February. The fee is $5 per skater per session.
101 Aspetuck Avenue
Operated by The Youth Agency, the Sugarhouse is open to the public and syrup is sold year round. Educational tours of the sugaring operation are available. Call for info and availability. Open house weekends, which include displays of early sugaring techniques, are held during March. Call ahead for dates and time.
140 Park Lane
Walk the meadows, hike the mountain, or feed the farm animals. Pratt’s scenic 201-acre nature preserve has five hiking trails. The White Trail will take you to the top of Mt. Tom. Indian Caves Trail begins after you cross the foot bridge alongside the W. Aspetuck river, and will take you to the Indian caves on the left. A map is posted at the kiosk. Check their website or facebook page for workshops and events.
In February and March, the staff and students tap over 1600 trees, producing some of Connecticut’s finest maple syrup. They offer blacksmithing courses, trail making jobs for teens, and sugarhouse tours.
140 Park Lane, New Milford
The Anstett family welcomes you to tour their farm specializing in maple syrup for the past 30 years. Check the web site for hours and boiling times during the months of January through April. Hours are by appointment only during the off season; call to schedule a time.
Loon Meadow Farm’s Horse & Carriage Livery has fun horse drawn sleigh rides. The size of your sleigh or wagon is up to you. Comes with blankets and hot cider.
Roughly nine hundred acres of Mattatuck State Forest are in Plymouth. The Forest is open to many kinds of outdoor recreation, including hiking and birdwatching. The Mattatuck Trail runs through the Forest. The Whitestone Cliffs, located off of Rt. 262, are a popular rock climbing area.
The Plymouth Land Trust owns almost 75 acres in Plymouth. The 30-acre Leach Stanton parcel has trail access on North and Main Streets. It is included in the “Walking Tour of Plymouth Center”. The trail passes by Sunset Rock, with views overlooking Peat Swamp, and the stone foundations of the 1850-era Shelton Tuttle Carriage Factory. The Land Trust also owns the Kleindienst Preserve on Armbruster Road, which has a level 1/2-mile trail ideal for small children. All trails on Land Trust property are marked with white blazes and are open to the public free of charge.
The Town Forest is a 53-acre woodland that was donated to the Town as open space for the Plymouth Heights subdivision. The Forest is located near the end of Watchtower Road, about 0.3 miles from the intersection with Mt. Tobe Road. The town owns a 50′ wide right-of-way between two houses for access. Look for a weatherbeaten sign at the trail entrance. A 1-mile hiking trail, marked with white blazes, leads from the entrance sign into the forest. The first half of the trail goes downhill, and the last half is uphill, but not excessively so. But you’ll work up a sweat, so be prepared. The Town Forest is not well known, but it is a beautiful place for a hike.
This spectacular nature center has over 11 miles of hiking trails. It’s a wildlife sanctuary and there are nature programs throughout the year.
Open year round. Watch syrup being made during February and March. Free tours. Sugarhouse is accessible to the handicapped. Groups welcome. Call ahead.
998 Saw Mill Road
Visitors may watch sap collection and syrup being made during February and March. Groups always welcome. Call ahead.
28 Sunny Ridge Road
Start at the Washington town beach on East Shore Road in New Preston and follow the road around the lake for a total of 8 miles. Beautiful scenic road.
Ice skating. Open to the public for family skates on Sundays from 4:45 to 7 p.m.
99 Green Hill Road
They offer three family skates to the public each year. Dates for the remaining two open skates will be announced. They also offer lessons to students and their siblings who wish to learn to glide across the ice.
201 Romford Road
Hiking trails in the northern section of Macricostas Preserve go up the slope of Waramaug’s Rock, a forested ridge that rises to an elevation of 1250 feet. At the summit is an incredible vista of Lake Waramaug in the distance. In stark contrast, the southern part of the Preserve treats hikers to idyllic views of an expansive, gently-rolling meadowland. Totaling about 50 acres, this sprawling field of grasses and wildflowers is a charming throwback to the pastures of 19th-century Connecticut. Meeker Swamp sits in the middle of the Preserve.
This place is popular with the locals in Washington. There are several trails on the 974 acres. Pinney Loop is 1.7 miles or take the longer Steep Rock loop, which is 4.2 miles. You can also ride your mountain bike or ride your horse along the river.
This community building and park has a full-season garden and a 45-foot sculpture made of polished granite called Currents was gifted by talented, local artist Mark Mennin, who carved it by hand. The sculpture was conceived to be used by the public as a place to sit and converse, and it was created to encourage people to engage with art. The Saturday Farmers Market is very popular, and art exhibits and local events are held inside the building. The park is run by The Washington Park Foundation.
Located in the center of Washington Depot on Green Hill Road (Route 47).
Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust was founded in 1963 by Natalie Van Vleck, artist, farmer, businesswoman and environmentalist. Her legacy is a vision become reality of a place where others could experience the beauty of art in nature, learn about the importance of protecting the environment and sustain the rural traditions of the land she loved. The Nature Center promotes the understanding and appreciation of nature and supports the conservation, preservation and management of natural resources. The Nature Center holds in trust more than 2,100 acres of open space in Woodbury, Bethlehem, Southbury and Middlebury, Connecticut, including seven nature preserves and sanctuaries. Each of the properties has its own character and attributes, from historic buildings, stone walls and marked trails to expansive vistas of woodlands, lakes, ponds, streams, fields and a bog. These pristine, undeveloped areas offer moments of reflection, relaxation and recreation.
Each year Flanders taps and collects sap in February and March from dozens of trees at the nature center and around town. They have a lovely sugar house, which is open for tours.
It is the closest Connecticut ski area to New York City and the largest tubing park close to Manhattan. Known as the first ski mountain to open in New England, the 100-acre property has 18 trails from five lifts, 20 tubing runs and four lifts, two of which are magic carpets, and night skiing. Lights and snowmaking on 0.36 miles of cross-country trails. This year-round ski destination offers down-hill skiing, snow tubing, snow boarding, cross-country skiing, and skateboarding. There is a ski shop and food service.