Walks for Winter Wanderers
Finding Peace During the Holiday Season
Photo by Ervin Edward
It is true that many people prepare to endure winter rather than to experience it. Yet winter is the perfect season to take up a new sport, discover a new hobby, or simply get out and enjoy a winter walk.
The fresh air can provide you with the inspiration needed for your next creative endeavor, peace of mind to calm you through a stressful holiday season, or simply remind you of nature’s wonder. Here are some of our favorite scenic walks in Litchfield County for a true, or aspiring winter wanderer.
Hidden Valley Preserve
Meander alongside the Shepaug River as you make your way towards the interior of Hidden Valley Preserve, one of three separate sections of Steep Rock Preserve. The variety of trails here are perfectly suited for walking, snowshoeing, and even cross country skiing (select trails) and a historic quartz quarry, along with two impressive footbridges, will provide additional sights along the way.
198 Bee Brook Rd, Washington Depot | Loop trails, Level: Easy to Moderate
River Walk, Kent
This segment of the Appalachian Trail guides hikers alongside the rushing waters of the Housatonic River on a flat six mile stretch perfect for walking, trail running, and cross-country skiing. Start at the Kent entrance which features a 1.8-mile section of dirt road. At the official trailhead, a wooded marker announces the beginning of the Appalachian Trail. You’ll walk through a beautiful section of saplings, follow a historic stone wall along the banks of the Housatonic, cross several log footbridges, and cut across three bucolic fields.
Entrance ½ mile from Kent Center on Skiff Mountain Rd. | Shuttle walk, Level: easy.
The Audubon Center, Sharon
For a small fee ($3) you can explore 11 miles of hiking trails, gardens, and aviaries. If you enjoy nature as a classroom, the audubon is the perfect winter retreat. Here you can learn about a variety of flora and fauna, with winter activities and guided walks available. Just a few minutes down the road (99 West Cornwall Road, Sharon) you can walk the 1.2 mile Pond Loop Trail at The Emily Winthrop Miles Wildlife Sanctuary, a part of the Audubon, free to both members and non-members.
325 Cornwall Bridge Rd in Sharon | Loop Trails, Level: Easy to Moderate
The White Memorial Conservation Lake Trail, Bantam
This is an easy 1.2 mile historic loop from the Conservation’s museum parking lot that heads west, passes an old carriage house, and heads south towards a scenic viewing point where you can watch people ice fishing and skating on the lake. The most unique facet of this trail is its history. Visible remnants of an ice house and ice conveyor that were once part of a bustling operation on the shores of Bantam Lake are still seen here today. Listen to this guided audio tour to make it an even more special experience: https://soundcloud.com/winterspast/winters-past-the-lake
80 Whitehall Rd, Litchfield | Loop Trail, Level: Easy
Whittemore Sanctuary, Woodbury
This 686 acre parcel belongs to Flanders Nature Center, and is perfect for birding, hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. The sanctuary features eight unique trail segments ranging in length up to four miles, as well as a plethora of sights including southbound views of Quassy Amusement Park. Follow the white blazes on a four mile loop along the perimeter with breathtaking views of Lake Quassapaug, or head to the interior on the yellow trail where you’ll discover an impressive bird blind overlooking “the bog.”
428 Sherman Hill Rd, Woodbury | Loop Trail, Level: Easy