The trails and footpaths of New Haven County


Melissa NunezOpinions and Features Editor

In three weeks from now, students will hightail it out of their finals, pack their bags and head home until August. With some more time at their disposal, summer could be an opportunity for relaxation, renewal and rejuvenation. While some tack on more work hours or classes during the break, students can find it worthwhile to take some time to focus on personal growth and capitalize on those warm summer months ahead.

During the semester, students focus on professional and academic development, but with temperatures rising they can find new and interesting ways to stay active outdoors.

According to the Harvard’s School of Public Health, regular physical activity can keep your health in check and help to keep many other health risks at bay as well, such as heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and more.

While people associate states like Florida and California for their tropical coastlines, many prefer New England states for their mild temperatures, scenic trails and greenery. So take advantage of your own backyard, grab a backpack and check out some local forests and footpaths.

Many of the students at Southern are Connecticut locals and reside in or around New Haven. If you are on the lookout for some beautiful scenery, then look no further than East Rock Park located in downtown New Haven. East Rock Park has both paved and dirt paths and is perfect for anyone looking to take the steep trip to its crest to view the vibrant city below.

Looking for more trails? Do not leave New Haven just yet– Connecticut locals should also stop by West Rock Ridge State Park. According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Website, at the tip of West Rock Ridge State Park, one can see 200 square feet from its peak and offers hikers breathtaking views of the New Haven Harbor as well as Long Island Sound.

Another local and more infamous hiking spot resides not too far from New Haven. With its rocky terrain forming the silhouette of a colossal sized human dozing, it is dubbed Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden. At the end of the one and a half mile trail, visitors will find a stone observation tower at its summit, with views of Long Island Sound and the surrounding New Haven area, according to DEEP. Avid adventurers can return to the mountain regularly for scheduled hikes, like on May 7 at 8 a.m. for the “Early Bird Watchers’ Hike” or on May 21 for the “Early Bird Watchers’ Hike,” as listed on the Sleeping Giant Park Association’s website.

There is also the Trolley Trail in Branford, where each sector of this stretch offers a tapestry more diverse and vivid then the last. From spans of leaf blanketed trails shrouded by trees, to a bordering picturesque marsh, visitors will return time and time again for the striking landscape. The trail itself stretches 480 feet and offers views of a historic abandoned trolley track as well as a striking red footbridge.

Between the fall and spring semesters, students are used to their bustling, high stressed schedules and while students can utilize their break to continue their productive streak, it is also a chance to broaden their horizons. Why not explore all the beauty Connecticut and New Haven county has to offer?

Photo Credit: Melissa Nunez

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