The US State You Wouldn't Expect To Be An Incredible Hiking Destination

Plenty of states in the U.S. are known for their national parks, state parks, and amazing hiking trails. When thinking about the best hiking states in the U.S., most people would likely guess places like Colorado, Utah, California, Tennessee, or Washington. However, according to research conducted by Why This Place, the real best state in the U.S. for hiking is one that most people never would've considered: Connecticut.

In fact, when ranking states for certain factors (including the land coverage of national or state parks, the number of waterfalls, and the number of hiking trails compared to land area), Why This Place discovered that Connecticut comes out on top beating other contenders like Massachusetts and Hawaii. For one poster on the Connecticut forum of Reddit, this ranking doesn't come as a surprise because "there are trails everywhere and so many options available within only a short drive."

In fact, despite its small size, Connecticut reportedly contains 1,455 hiking trails and 30 waterfalls for every 1,000 miles. So, if you are looking for a travel destination where there are beautiful trails around every bend, this New England cornerstone should be at the top of your list.

Types of hikes in Connecticut

Connecticut is a great place to hike because of its sheer density of trails that are available in every difficulty level from easy to strenuous. If you are looking for an enjoyable scenic stroll you can choose from great options like the Campbell Falls State Park Trail, the Pine Knob Loop Trail, or the Mount Tom Tower Trail. If you want more of a challenge, you can scramble up to the viewpoint on Chauncey's Peak, hike Bear Mountain, or even spend a day walking on the Appalachian Trail.

One of the best things about hiking in Connecticut is the variety of landscapes you can experience in such a small area, from forested rolling hills to beachside marshes and rivers dotted with waterfalls. The state also has a mild climate where temperatures rarely rise above 90 degrees Fahrenheit or drop below freezing. This means that hiking is possible pretty much year-round. However, the heavy forest coverage and mild winters mean you will probably encounter some annoying mosquitos and other insects on the trail. So make sure to travel prepared with insect and tick repellent.

Why the trails of Connecticut might not be for you

While there are many reasons why hiking in Connecticut is amazing, it probably isn't the best destination for every hiker and there are a few reasons for this. Firstly, while packed full of state parks, Connecticut doesn't contain any national parks so you likely won't find the same resources, gift shops, or amenities near hiking areas in Connecticut as you would in some of the national park-heavy western states.

Furthermore, the scenery of Connecticut is centered around rolling hills covered in deciduous forests. These views are gorgeous but not as dramatic as the red and orange desserts of Arizona and Utah. Lastly, while Connecticut does contain mountains, the highest point in the state is Mount Frissell at 2,380 feet which isn't high enough to offer some of those dramatic alpine views you'd get in Washington, California, or Colorado.

However, the choice is completely personal and comes down to what type of trails you enjoy most. Hikers who love waterfalls, comfortable weather, and being surrounded by beautiful forests will likely enjoy Connecticut more than many other popular hiking destinations.

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