Hartford Has It (Getaway Edition): A Tour of Hartford’s Best Outdoor Parks, Attractions, and Hiking Locations

3 min read

Julia Pecora ’25

Staff Writer

As spring approaches, many students at Trinity College are looking for ways to get outdoors and enjoy the warm weather; luckily, the Hartford area is full of hiking trails and parks that offer a chance to get some exercise and fresh air. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just looking for a casual walk, there are plenty of options for students to explore. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best hiking trails and outdoor spots in the Hartford area that are perfect for college students looking to get active and enjoy the great outdoors.

One popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts is the Talcott Mountain State Park, located just a short drive away from Trinity College. The park is home to several hiking trails, including the popular 1.25-mile Talcott Mountain Trail, which offers stunning views of the Hartford skyline from its summit. It offers a challenging 51-mile trek from the Massachusetts border to Long Island Sound. The park’s Metacomet Trail has become one of the most popular hiking trails in Connecticut. The Metacomet Trail is challenging but rewards hikers with stunning views of the Connecticut River Valley and the surrounding countryside. Along the way, hikers can take a break at the Heublein Tower, a historic landmark that offers breathtaking views of the city.

Another nearby option is the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail, an 84-mile trail that stretches from New Haven to Northampton, Massachusetts. The trail runs through several towns in the Hartford area, including Farmington and Simsbury. It offers a flat, paved surface that’s perfect for biking or walking. Along the way, you’ll pass through historic towns and scenic countryside, making for a relaxing and enjoyable outing.

For those looking to stay closer to campus, Bushnell Park is a popular spot for picnics and relaxed walks. Located just a few blocks from Trinity, the park offers a peaceful respite from the city and features several walking paths, a pond, and plenty of green space to relax in.

Another great hiking trail is the Shenipsit Trail, which is part of a larger New England Trail. This trail is 42 miles long and runs through Manchester, Glastonbury, and East Hampton. The Shenipsit Trail is a moderate hike that passes through wooded areas, fields, and streams, making it a great option for families and novice hikers.

For those who prefer a more leisurely outdoor experience, the Riverfront Recapture park in downtown Hartford is a great option. This area spans over 148 acres along the Connecticut River and offers a wide variety of activities, including jogging, biking, walking, and picnicking. The Riverfront Recapture also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including concerts and festivals.

In addition to hiking and the Riverfront Recapture park, Hartford also has several parks and nature preserves that offer an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Elizabeth Park is one of the most popular parks in the area and is known for its stunning rose garden, while the West Hartford Reservoir offers hiking trails, fishing, and birdwatching.

Hartford can be a great place for nature enthusiasts to get outdoors and explore. Whether you prefer hiking, biking, or just enjoying the beauty of nature, there is something for everyone in Hartford.  No matter what your skill level or preferred activity, Hartford has plenty of outdoor options for students to explore. So grab some friends and get outside to enjoy the beautiful spring weather!

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