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First Day Hikes - January 2021

Header image of hiking trail with CT State Parks sign

In Connecticut, on New Years Day, virtual and self-guided hikes and programs will be offered at 10 State Park and Forest locations as well as at several locations in the Litchfield area. Thank you to the Friends of CT State Parks; the various CT State Park and Forest Friends Groups as well as several organizations in the Litchfield area that are participating this year.  Thank you also to all the CT DEEP Park Supervisors, staff and seasonals for maintaining our parks and forests.

America’s State Parks First Day Hikes offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on January 1, 2021 at a state park close to home. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family.

 

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) State Parks and its partners are encouraging folks to get outside walking and hiking and to enjoy nature safely on January 1st. We ask all participating to wear a mask, social distance, not meet in large groups but in family units living in same household; to keep all safe-DEEP Staff, park and forest visitors, and friends groups, as CT takes part in celebrating with First Day Hikes. 

 

Please be sure to only park is designated parking areas. 

 

Below is a listing of the First Day Hikes:


1) Chatfield Hollow State Park

Visit:  Friends of Chatfield Hollow Facebook page for details
Contact: Cheryl Buckley ckbucks@sbcglobal.net 860-391-1919

Event Information:
Event inviting families to toast the arrival of 2021 and more importantly bid adieu to 2020 with a personal walk/hike. When families complete the walk of their choosing, they will be asked if they would like their group to be part of collage ( WELCOME 2021) of pictures to be posted on the site.

 

2) Machimoodus State Park

Visit: Friends of Machimoodus-Sunrise Friends Facebook Page or https://machsunwebsite.wixsite.com/mysite for details

Contact:  machsunfriends@gmail.com 

 

Event Information:
Photo scavenger hunt. People will be able to print, download or simply view the list on their smart phone and participate at their own pace. 

 

3) Mansfield Hollow State Park

Visit: Friends of Mansfield Hollow Facebook page
Contact: Ron Manizza,  860-428-3667

 

Event Information:
Virtual hikes with routes marked out and available using your smart phone with the app Ridewithgps

 

4) Pachaug State Forest

Visit: Friends of Pachaug Forest Facebook page

Contact: Ryan Snide, friendsofpachaugforest@gmail.com

 

Event Information:
H
osting virtual hikes at several locations within Pachaug that participants can do at their leisure.

 

5) Scantic River State Park 

Visit:  American Heritage River Commission Facebook page

Contact: Debbie Talamini, talamini@cox.net

 

Event Information:
Self-guided hikes. Please share photos of your First Day Hike 2021 to our American Heritage River Commission ("AHRC:) Facebook page or tag us in your personal posts.

 

6) James L. Goodwin State Forest

Visit the following to register: 

https://www.ctwoodlands.org/CFPA-events/new-years-hike-seek-goodwin-state-forest

 

Event Information:
Hosting a weekend long Hike & Seek event, where families/individuals register and get what is essentially a scavenger hunt checklist of nature-themed items to find throughout the trails and gardens at Goodwin (fire ponds, animal print, scratch marks on a tree, an invasive species, etc.). This event is on your own, socially-distant and safe. The event runs from Friday January 1, 2021 through Sunday January 3, 2021. If participants find a certain amount of the items they win a simple prize.

 

7) Meigs Point Nature Center

Visit: Meigs Point Nature Center Facebook Page

Contact: Russ Miller, Russell.Miller@ct.gov

 

Event Information:
Have you ever wondered what a state park looks like in the winter, what animals are still around or which ones come out in the winter? Visit the Meigs Point Nature Center Facebook page at 11:00 am on January 1st to join “Ranger Russ” for a live hike along the shore at Hammonasset Beach State Park.

 

8) Topsmead State Forest

Visit: Friends of Topsmead State Forest Facebook Page or https://www.friendsoftopsmead.org/ or Events link

Contact: Jane Golding, 860-480-9668, jane.golding54@gmail.com

 

Event Information:  

*History hike led with a guide or printed information to tour/ inform interested hikers about the history and grounds of Topsmead. (the house is not open).

*A songbird trail tour given by the Friend of Topsmead, Janet Blauvelt, who has established and maintained birdhouses at Topsmead.

*A serenity and scenic walk out to the Birdblind/Wildlife viewing building which overlooks vistas and fields. There’s a bench there at Topsmeads’ Pollinator garden and shelter inside the viewing blind.

 

Friends will be at the parking lot at 10:00 if any assistance is desired.

 
9) Gillette Castle State Park

Visit: Friends of Gillette Castle Facebook page

Visit: Gillette Castle YouTube Channel

Contact: Paul Schiller, info@gillettecastlefriends.org

  

Event Information:
Videos series includes a tour of the castle, trail walks and other fun stories and features of the park. 

 

Watch on YouTube: 

1) Train Trail Walk

2) Ferry Landing

3) Osaki's House

4) Aunt Polly Wreckage

 

10) Talcott Mountain State Park

Visit: Friends of Hueblein Tower Facebook page

Visit: https://www.friendsofheubleintower.org/

Follow on Twitter: @heubleintower

Follow on Instagram: @friendsofht

More Info: info@friendsofheubleintower.org

Contact: Dan Hinman, dan@spiralx.com or Jessica Hinman, jhinman@friendsofheubleintower.org

 

Event Information:

https://www.friendsofheubleintower.org/2020/12/26/ct-deep-state-parks-and-forests-first-day-hikes-2021/  

 

The Heublein Tower 2021 First Day Opportunities

 

1. Tour the Heublein Tower Virtually

 

2. Learn about the Heublein Tower

Heublein Tower History
Heublein Tower Timeline

3. Visit Talcott Mountain

While the tower is closed for visitors, you are still welcome to explore Talcott Mountain, hike up and view the tower grounds. Please follow CT COVID-19 Guidelines for safe visitation of state grounds and facilities.

4. Tag us on social media!

Whatever you choose to do, snap a photo or video and tag us on social media
#heubleintower #talcottmountain #2021FirstDayCT

 
11) Litchfield First Day Hiking Opportunities

Visit: Litchfield Land Trust ("LLT") trail maps link from our web site

Contact: Dean Birdsall, Litchfield Land Trust ("LLT") Stewardship info@litchfieldlandtrust.org

 

Event Information:
Litchfield Land Trust (“LLT”) self-guided First Day Hikes:

 

New Year vistas:

Apple Hill Trail – White Memorial Conservation Center

https://whitememorialcc.org/trails/ (Access to trail maps and trail descriptions). Self-guided hike.

 

Prospect Mountain Preserve Trails - Litchfield Land Trust https://www.litchfieldlandtrust.org/ (Access to trail maps and trail descriptions). Self-guided hike.

 

Scenic Serenity:

Bird Blind & Wildlife viewing - Friends of Topsmead A songbird trail tour given by the Friend of Topsmead, Janet Blauvelt, who has established and maintained birdhouses at Topsmead. Friends group members will be at the parking lot at 10:00 if any assistance is desired.

 

Boyd Woods Audubon Sanctuary – Litchfield Hills Audubon Marie Kennedy will be there at 9:00 am for those who would like a guide. 

 

Medicine Rock Trail - The Litchfield Land Trust (Access to trail maps and trail descriptions). Self-guided hike.

 

Vineyard/River Trail Loop - White Memorial Conservation Center (Access to trail maps and trail descriptions). Self-guided hike.

 

Local History:

Boyd Woods Audubon Sanctuary Marie Kennedy will be there at 9:00 am for those who would like a guide. 

 

Ice House Ruins Trail - White Memorial Conservation Center (Access to trail maps and trail descriptions). Self-guided hike.   

 

Shepaug Crossing Trail – Litchfield Land Trust (Access to trail maps and trail descriptions). Self-guided hike.

  

12) White Memorial Conservation Center

Visit: White Memorial Trail Maps  

Contact: Carrie Szwed, 860-567-0857, info@whitememorialcc.org

 

Event Information:

Self-guided hikes on several of the White Memorial Conservation Center trails (see section above for specific trails). 

 


Content Updated:  December 2020