Top Ten Hikes of 2017, Part 2

Posted By on December 19, 2017

Top Ten Hikes of 2017, Part 2

And here’s the rest of the hikes I loved this past year [for Part 1, see here]… beginning with

#5—Cockaponset Trail, Sections 1 & 2

Another idle evening of poking around on the CFPA’s interactive hiking map, another blue-blazed trail knocked off! This one was too tempting, because it was a) short, and 2) you wouldn’t have to backtrack, because of a couple of convenient auxiliary trails. Sold! The Cockaponset State Forest is very large and not completely contiguous, kind of like the Pachaug, and I found while researching this hike that I’d actually hiked part of it 3-1/2 years ago, and didn’t remember a thing about it. Huh. Well, this year I made it a completed trail. There is some stunning WPA stone work on this hike, at least in the northern part, and it’s well worth checking out.



#4—Cliff Walk

While this isn’t a particularly challenging or little-known trail, it’s impossible to beat for scenery. For anyone who isn’t familiar with it, the Cliff Walk is a public access trail in Newport, RI, that winds around the seaside edges of some of the most expensive real estate in the country on Newport’s Ocean Drive. So besides stunning water views, there are amazing sights on the land side as well. I highly recommend this walk. It’s amazing.

End of the Trail

#3—Richard H. Goodwin Trail, Part 2

Another trail completion hike, this time of the 14-mile Richard H. Goodwin Trail, which traverses East Haddam, Salem, Lyme, and East Lyme in Connecticut. I had hiked the first, northern section of this trail with a friend who has since moved out of the area. With no hiking companion, I thought I’d try my “Lyft” technique to do a one-way hike, which worked great. [If you’re not familiar with this, it simply involves parking where you’d like to finish the hike and calling Lyft and getting a ride to the spot you’d like to start the hike, and then hiking back to your car.] It’s a notable hike in that there is very little road-walking; almost none; only 4 road crossings during the entire 14 miles. The folks at the Eightmile River Wild & Scenic Watershed Coordinating Committee have created a really special experience in crowded southern Connecticut. It’s well worth a visit.

Confidence Blaze

#2—Retreat Trails, Brattleboro, VT

My husband and I took a short, 2-night trip to Vermont, mostly to eat at our favorite restaurant, TJ Buckley’s, but also to do a little recreating. The B&B we stayed at backed onto a large trail system, and boy-howdy was this ever an amazing hike! From a 90-meter ski jump to millions of mushrooms to a cheese shop, it had a little bit of everything. So much fun.

Early Morning Fog from the Top of the Ski Jump

And now, that moment you’ve all been waiting for… My most favoritest hike of 2017:

#1—Bay Circuit Trail

Sorry, no link to this one. It’s 26 sections and more than 220 miles of hiking around Boston. You can use the “Search” box on my blog to bring up all the sections. And I am working on a dedicated Bay Circuit Trail page, also, but as you can imagine, it’s taking some time. I did this whole hike over the course of 6 months, driving up to the trail one day a week and using the above-mentioned “Lyft technique” to get to the trailhead. It was AWESOME. I saw some truly amazing sights and traversed some beautiful properties, met some great people, grumbled about some long stretches of road-walking… I hiked through a supposedly haunted swamp, over a dam built by Henry Ford that never actually worked, around Walden Pond, through the grounds of a very snooty private academy, saw Gillette Stadium from above [Go Pats!], and walked through the site of the “shot heard ’round the world.” And so much more. You can read about it on the Bay Circuit Trail Alliance’s website, here. And if you’re not up for hiking the entire thing, the AMC has a page of the best day hikes on the trail.


So that’s my list. I don’t know what I’m going to do to top the Bay Circuit Trail… the only thing I can think of off-hand is the Connecticut 400, which is really the Connecticut 200, 400, or 800, that last of which is the entirety of the CFPA’s blue-blazed trail system. Okay, then, well, it’s good to have a goal. Happy trails, everyone, and have a fantastic 2018 in the woods!


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