Top Ten Hikes of 2016, Part 2

Posted By on December 27, 2016

Top Ten Hikes of 2016, Part 2

As promised, here is Part 2 of my ten favorite hikes of 2016.

#5—Mamacoke Island

View of the Goldstar Bridge

View of the Goldstar Bridge

This isn’t a long hike, but it is quite beautiful, and a lot of fun. You’re actually on an island in the Thames River in New London, and you have some amazing views of the Navy’s submarine base and the Goldstar Bridge, among other things. The property belongs to Connecticut College, and is maintained as a “natural area” for birds and wildlife. There’s a tiny bit of scrambling, but it’s mostly an easy and short trail. Just be careful when you cross the train tracks!

#4—Spring Sunrise on Lantern Hill

Yes, a video, because this one is all about the dancing. The Westerly Morris Men do a dance to welcome the first sunrise of spring every year atop Lantern Hill in North Stonington, and this was the first time I’d ever made it. This is a blast, and you really should make an effort this coming March 21st to join me here. Yes, I’m going back again!

#3—The Southwestern Hikes

This is the first of those “multiple hike” entries I mentioned in Part 1. The hubs and I spent January and the first part of February last year in southern Arizona. We also did some hikes traveling to and from there, as we drove. Which, by the way, we will never do again… it takes sooooo very long. You can click on each photo to view the original post. There were some amazing and unforgettable hikes—too many to single out just one or two.

One of the 1000 Stairs

Bisbee Walk


Cholla Cactus Fruit

Over Mule Pass


The San Pedro River

The San Pedro River


Sky Island in the distance

Sky Islands Traverse


Signs on all the buildings

Ghost Town in Fairbank, AZ


View from the trailhead

Mule Mountains Crest Trail


Natural Beauty

Lower Miller Canyon



Council Rocks and the Dragoon Mountains


White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument

#2—The Sky’s the Limit Challenge Hikes

And here is the other of the “multiple hike” entries. There were 14 hikes in all in this hiking challenge issued by the State of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. To get credit for hiking in each of the properties, you had to snap a selfie both at the entrance to the park (including the park sign) and at a designated spot on the trail. If you made 10 of the 14 hikes, you got a certificate and a little medallion you can attach to a wooden walking stick. And if you managed to get to all 14 parks and state forests, you were eligible for a drawing to receive one of 50 hand-carved walking sticks. I did these hikes with my friend Stacy and her dog, Dallas, and we got to all 14 places. Dallas the dog even got a certificate! As of this post, they have not yet held the drawing, but here is my certificate:

Hiking Challenge Certificate of Completion

Hiking Challenge Certificate of Completion

I’m not going to post a photo from each and every one of the 14 hikes, but here’s a list of the hikes with links to the original posts:

  1. Airline Trail State Park
  2. Devil’s Hopyard State Park
  3. Miller’s Pond State Park
  4. Dinosaur State Park
  5. Black Rock State Park
  6. Burr Pond State Park
  7. Mansfield Hollow State Park
  8. Windsor Locks Canal State Park
  9. Henry Buck Trail
  10. Collis P. Huntington State Park
  11. Bluff Point State Park
  12. Mianus River State Park
  13. Squantz Pond State Park
  14. James L. Goodwin State Park

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for… My absolute favorite hike from 2016… Drumroll, please…

#1—Steep Rock Preserve

Tunnel Mouth

Tunnel Mouth

This hike was an absolute trip. Not only is there a train tunnel, but (guys, there’s a TRAIN TUNNEL!!!I) there is also a shallow river you can ford (we did), and an amazing pedestrians-only suspension bridge back across the river. And it’s beautiful. It’s a long way from me here in North Stonington, but it is totally worth the trip. Highly, highly recommend. And there is so much other great hiking in this area that you can probably make a hiking weekend out of it. Especially if you’re a Rhode Islander…


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