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The Sky's the Limit

2019 Sky's the Limit Hiking Challenge

The “Sky’s the Limit Hiking Challenge” was designed to promote hiking in Connecticut’s State Parks and Forests. For 2019, the theme is "Supervisors’ and Staff Picks.” We have gone to the experts, our folks in the field, and asked them for their recommendations on the best hike in their park unit.

In getting out to their choices, you’ll find some old favorites back again and some new places you’ve probably never heard of.  You'll enjoy them all and be astounded by the beauty of each and every location.

Participants in this friendly competition will once again have the opportunity to receive a hiking staff medallion or Sky's the Limit lapel pin for visiting ten designated locations. On January 1, 2020 names will be drawn from those who visited all fourteen locations and fifty winners will receive a hand-carved hiking staff.  All entries are due Friday, December 6, 2019.

If you post your photos on social media, please use the #CTSTL.

Before you head out:
  • Dress for the weather. It is best to dress in layers so as you warm up hiking you can remove outer layers.
  • Bring water, a whistle, sunblock, map and insect repellant.
  • Hunting is allowed in most state forests and some state parks so check out the CT Hunting and Trapping Guide and don’t forget to wear orange during hunting season.  Also, bring a whistle and make noise so hunters know you are in the area. 
  • Be Bear Aware and do make your presence known by making noise while hiking. Hike in groups. If you see a bear, make enough noise and wave your arms so the bear is aware of your presence.
  • Remember to protect yourself from Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.
  • Dogs must be on leashes for their safety, the safety of wildlife and fellow hikers. 
  • Don’t forget to bring a map and know what the trail blazes mean (don’t think just because there is a wide open trail that is the correct way to go, there might be a spur trail that is not as obvious.)
    Trail Blazes
  • Be aware of your surroundings and check out options.  There might be a trail that takes you around a steep area, consult your map. 
  • Remember to check to confirm the park is open and plan your trip accordingly. With the Passport to Parks Program, Connecticut residents are no longer required to pay a parking fee at CT State Parks and Forest recreation areas, due to DMV collecting a $10 fee ($5 per year) on behalf of DEEP at the time of registration and registration renewals for non-commercial motor vehicles.

Please follow the steps below.
Step 1:  Hike to one of the 14 CT State Parks or Forests listed. The photo locations are described below.

Step 2:  Snap a photo of yourself by a designated sign in the park or forest, this could be a state park shield sign, a sign in a kiosk with the name of the state park or forest, or a trail sign identifying the location.

Step 3: Take a second photo of yourself at the location described in the specific write-up below.  Please note:  Harkness requires 7 photos.

Step 4: To receive a medallion or lapel pin and certificate, email your 2 photos from each of ten parks listed below, along with your name and home address, to or mail to CT DEEP State Parks, Sky’s the Limit, 79 Elm St., Hartford, CT 06106. Entries must be received by Friday, December 6, 2019.

Step 5: To be entered to win a hiking staff, send your two photos (at the front sign and specific location) from all fourteen locations, along with your name and home address to the above address. On January 1, 2020, 50 winners will be chosen to receive a hand carved hiking staff. Entries must be received by Friday, December 6, 2019 to be entered into the drawing. 

Note:  When submitting photos, please provide a separate email for individuals, 18 years or older, so you can be contacted regarding special announcements.  Also, please provide attachments, (photo or document) not links to external sources (Google drive, Facebook, etc.).  We often have a difficult time accessing external sources.

2019 Sky’s the Limit Locations:

1.  State Park or Forest:  Mohawk State Forest, Cornwall/Goshen
Trail Name: Blue Trail
Map:  Mohawk State Forest Trail Map
Parking Area: Choose one to create a hike of your liking
Photo Locations:  Entrance and Cunningham Tower
Degree of Difficulty:   Various, Depending on where you pick up the blue trail   
Approximate Length: Various

2.State Park or Forest:  Kettletown State Park, Southbury
Trail Name: Miller Trail
Map:  Kettletown State Park Trail Map
Parking Area: Beach area or road
Photo Locations:  Rules and Regulations Board just beyond entrance and Charcoal Hearth site/lookout
Degree of Difficulty:   Moderate
Approximate Length: 1.5 miles

3. State Park or Forest: Rocky Neck State Park, East Lyme
Trail Name: Red Trail to Blue Trail to Yellow Trail (Tony’s Nose Overlook)
Map:  Rocky Neck State Park Trail Map
Parking Area: Lot on north side of Beach Access Road, the second entrance to the large parking lot on the right
Photo Locations:  Marsh area, just beyond parking lot and Tony’s Nose Overlook
Degree of Difficulty:   Easy
Approximate Length: 2 miles

4. State Park or Forest:  Barn Island Wildlife Management Area, Stonington
Trail Name: Unnamed
Map:  Barn Island Trail Map, Image of Display Area Map
Parking Area: Roadside, north of Barn Island Boat Launch, enter at second kiosk on Palmer Neck Road.
Photo Locations:  Sarah Ann Martin Stone Monument (41º20’593”N, 71º52’238”W) & Impoundment #2
Degree of Difficulty:   Easy
Approximate Length: 3 miles

5. State Park or Forest:  James L. Goodwin State Forest, Hampton
Trail Name: Blue/Yellow to Blue/White to Red and back
Map:  James L. Goodwin State Forest Trail Map
Parking Area: Conservation Center, 23 Potter Road Hampton
Photo Locations:  Conservation Center Building & Governor’s Island
Degree of Difficulty:   Moderate
Approximate Length: 3 miles

6. State Park or Forest:  Pachaug State Forest -- Green Falls Area, Voluntown
Trail Name: Blue/Orange
Map:  Pachaug State Forest Trail Map
Parking Area: Off Season -- Forest Road, Seasonally Parking Lot near beach
Photo Locations:  Bridge at Base of Campground (start of Blue/Orange Trail) and view of Island from trail
Degree of Difficulty:   Moderate
Approximate Length: depends on the season, approximately 5 miles in the off season, 3 miles trail only
Please note: The Forest Road (Green Falls Road) is gated in the off season and opens based on mud season.  You may need to hike the road in to reach the trail head.

7. State Park or Forest:  Salt Rock State Campground, Sprague
Trail Name: Old Rail Line Footpath
Map:  Salt Rock Trail Map
Parking Area: Fishing lots at Salt Rock Campground, behind pool
Photo Locations:  River view from bench or picnic tables, railroad tracks where trail crosses
Degree of Difficulty:   Easy
Approximate Length: 2 miles

8. State Park or Forest:  Mount Tom State Park, Litchfield
Trail Name: Yellow Trail (Tower Trail)
Map:  Mount Tom State Park Trail Map
Parking Area: Beach Lot
Photo Locations:  Kiosk at Beach and View from the Tower
Degree of Difficulty:   Moderate
Approximate Length: 1.2 miles

9. State Park or Forest:  Harkness Memorial State Park, Waterford
Trail Name: Paths around the park
Map:  Harkness Memorial State Park Trail Map
Parking Area: Main Lot off Great Neck Road
Photo Locations:  Amphitheatre, Beach Viewing Platform, Carriage House, Greenhouse, Farmhouse,  Orchard, and View of Water from the Mansion
Degree of Difficulty:   Easy
Approximate Length: 1 mile
Things to do in the area: Seaside State Park, on Seaside Drive, is just down the street and is a great spot for a picnic

10. State Park or Forest:  Wadsworth Falls State Park, Middletown
Trail Name: Orange and small amount of Blue to access Little Falls
Map:  Wadsworth Falls State Park Trail Map
Parking Area: Main Lot near beach
Photo Locations:  Big Falls and Little Falls (may be dry in the summer)  
Degree of Difficulty: Moderate 
Approximate Length: 3 miles

11. State Park or Forest:  American Legion and Peoples State Forest, Barkhamsted
Trail Name: Elliott Bronson to Walt Landgraf (Red Trails)
Map: American Legion and Peoples State Forest Trail Map
Parking Area: Lot near Matthies Grove
Photo Locations:  Indian Rock Shelter on Walt Landgraf and Kiosk for Elliott Bronson Trail
Degree of Difficulty:   Moderate
Approximate Length: 3.2 miles

12. State Park or Forest:  Macedonia Brook State Park, Kent
Trail Name: White to Blue and Return Blue
Map:  Macedonia Brook State Park Trail Map 
Parking Area: By Pavillion
Photo Locations: Kiosk by Camp Office and Scenic View from Cobble Mountain 
Degree of Difficulty:   Difficult, not suitable for pets or young children
Approximate Length: 2 miles

13. State Park or Forest:  Dennis Hill State Park, Norfolk
Trail Name: Gazebo Loop Trail (Yellow)
Map:  Dennis Hill Trail Map
Parking Area: At entrance
Photo Locations:  View from Gazebo and shield sign
Degree of Difficulty:  Easy
Approximate Length: 1.3 miles

14. State Park or Forest:  Horse Guard State Park, Avon
Trail Name: White Trail
Map:  Horse Guard Scenic Reserve Trail Map
Parking Area: At entrance
Photo Locations: Shield sign and scenic view
Degree of Difficulty:   Moderate

Content last updated October 2019