Colchester Area Regional Trail Map Guide
* Denotes Family Friendly Trails & Amenities
Choose the Right Trail
If you are new to trails or plan to bring children, choose one that is not too long or strenuous. Printing a paper map can be helpful. Generally, you’ll want to start with easier trails and work up to more challenging ones as you gain experience. Consider a trail with special features like castles, ponds, streams, waterfalls and other special features.
Know When to Go
In the summer, morning is often the best time to hike because it is usually cooler, and showers and thunderstorms often crop up in the afternoon. Generally fewer people are out on the trails in the morning. Consider installing a weather app on your phone and read the weather forecast so that you are prepared for what may be coming. Always leave plenty of time for exploring and enjoying nature!
Hydration and Fuel
Pre-hydrate by drinking 4 cups of water before the hike. Usually, 16 ounces of water are needed for each hour of your hike. You’ll need more as the temperatures rise. Add some non-perishable foods that are lightweight and nutrient dense to your pack. Some examples are trail mix, nuts, nut butter packs, dried fruits or vegetables, granola, nut-based energy bars, meat jerky, or whole fruits.
Dress for Success
No matter what the forecast looks like, dressing in light colored layers will keep you comfortable and safe. Synthetic pants with a tank top or short-sleeved shirt will make for a great all around base layer. Always bring a jacket and rain gear.
Pick Proper Footwear
Sturdy supportive footwear will protect your feet and ankles from injury. For most days, light, low-top hiking or running shoes provide support without being too heavy. Wicking non-cotton socks will help protect against blisters. Consider bringing an extra pair.
Don’t Forget the Extras
Even if you only intend to be out for a couple of hours, stashing a few basic items in your pack will keep you happy and comfortable. Sunglasses and a sun hat can make all the difference in how a hike feels. Quality sunglasses protect your eyes from burn and strain and a wide brimmed hat makes for better sun protection than sunscreen alone. Use trekking poles when hiking uneven terrain to take the strain off your legs going up and downhill.
Walking the Trail
Hiking in the woods can be a fun activity for the whole family. Following these simple tips will help to keep everyone safe.
Wear long pants and apply insect repellent. Be aware of ticks and insects; they are commonly found in nature and can make your adventure a little frustrating at times. Apply repellent to shoes where ticks might crawl aboard and a light spray on your clothes to deter mosquitoes and flies.
Hike in the center of the trail and clearings and steer clear of leaf piles, high grasses and standing water where ticks and bugs are found.
When you encounter another hiker stay to the right so each can pass safely.
Keep a 6-foot social distance between other hikers on the trail.
Bikers yield to hikers. All users should yield to horses.
Observe all signage and note where motorized vehicles are prohibited.
Leave no trace. Carry out what you carry in. Do not harm the vegetation or remove things from the trail.
Be kind. If someone is hurt, help them and say hello to people on the trail.
Keep Safety in Mind
Be aware of your fitness level. Choose a trail or walk that fits your ability.
Tell someone where you are starting, where you will be hiking, and your final destination.
Be aware of your surroundings as you walk. The more you pay attention to landmarks like buildings, roads, hills and lakes, the less chance you’ll have of getting turned around or lost.
Plan ahead and pack everything you need. Staying safe and comfortable along the trail will help you have an enjoyable outing. The little things can make or break your experience.
Created by Michael Puglisi, Erica Benvenuti, Laura Brown, University of Connecticut Extension PATHS - People on Trails for Health and Sustainability Team in partnership with Jay Gigliotti, Town of Colchester Planning and Zoning Department and funded by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Recreational Trails Program.