5 Family Friendly Hikes and Activities in Fairfield County
Outdoor enthusiasts rejoice when autumn arrives. Cooler temps and fall’s clear blue skies mean better conditions for running, rowing, and hiking. Gear up and take advantage some of Fairfield County’s most beautiful open spaces – our parks and land trusts – many offer guided hikes and special events too (check the captions below the photos for info!). These trails wind into the history of our home-state, so keep your eyes on more than just the footpath for a glimpse into the past while enjoying nature in all her autumn glory!
Our local parks provide abundant opportunity to enjoy nature!
Celebrating its 100th Anniversary in October, the Bartlett Arboretum property features 91 acres of open space highlighting the best of what Connecticut's native landscape has to offer:
magnificent award-winning Champion trees, charming gardens, wildflower meadows, red maple wetlands and boardwalks, woodland walking trails, varied wildlife and native habitats.
Several well-marked trails are easily walkable for most children.
This Sunday, they will offer a one hour guided tour of the Red Maple wetlands and wildflower meadow at 11am for adults and children 9 years and older.
Younger children are invited to participate in a Family Fun Forrest Hike on October 14, where they will learn about native trees and spy on animals preparing for colder weather.
Please see their website for fees and reservation info. http://bartlettarboretum.org/
The Aspetuck Land Trust was founded in 1966 to preserve open space in Fairfield County.
The group of open spaces under the Trust's protection includes 44 trailed nature preserves and other conservation-only properties on over 1,700 acres of land and provides abundant opportunities for people to learn about and enjoy nature while preserving the flora and fauna and rural characteristics of our towns.
Their children's hike series (a.k.a. Small Hikes for Small People) for kids 6-13 provides a hands on nature experience while educating children on the importance of conservation and preservation.
On October 5, the Trust will host Hurricane Hike at Poindexter Preserve in Easton. This two-hour hike will focus on the impact that Hurricane Sandy had on the environment.
Please see their website for fees and reservation info. http://www.aspetucklandtrust.org/
Lake Mohegan and its surrounding open space comprise a total of 170.4 acres off Morehouse Highway in Fairfield.
The Conservation Commission administers the open space with its many easy-walking trails surrounding a lake and waterfall (The Cascades) on acreage donated by the G.E. Corporation. Beautiful scenery, wooden bridges, lush trees that canopy over the trails, waterfalls, a shallow river leading to the lake, and of course, the lake itself are spectacular, especially as nature's paintbrush starts to dapple the trees with color!
Dogs can roam leash-free here, so feel free to bring Fido along.
John Hannan / John Hannan
Get your binoculars and prepare to be amazed by the sights at the Greenwich Audubon Society!
Known as the Quaker Ridge Hawk Watch, it is one of the best and most accessible locations in the Northeast United States to view the fall migration of raptors passing overhead. The all time record of 30,000+ broad-winged hawks counted in one day has not been matched in the region, even at Hawk Mountain, PA. Golden and Bald Eagles, Common Ravens and Black Vultures have also been spotted.
Classroom and field workshops are offered to develop identification skills.
A Hawk Watch Weekend Festival is held each September - this year the event will be held on September 28 and 29, from 11-5.
Check their website for special classes and events. http://greenwich.audubon.org/
As long as there have been artists, there has been art inspired by the the landscape.
At Wilton's Weir Farm, both are blended into nature's canvas at the only National Park Service site dedicated to American painting.
Three generations of artists have called the farm home, including Julian Alden Weir, a leading figure in the development of American Impressionism.
Today, the 60-acre park, which includes the Weir House, Weir and Young Studios, barns, gardens, and Weir Pond, is one of the nation's finest remaining landscapes of American art.
This Sunday, September 22, when you're through strolling the trails (take one of their free guided tours or sketching classes!), relax in the gardens to the sounds of another American classic - jazz. Weir Farm is hosting their 18th annual Jazz in the Garden featuring the Grace Kelly Quintet from 3-5pm (registration required).