One of the perks of living in Fairfield and Litchfield County is the easy access to Candlewood Lake. This 11-acre, man-made lake was started in 1926 to supply power to the area. Today, it’s a leisure destination where residents can enjoy various water sports, world-class dining, outdoor concerts, and more.
But if you’re looking for an activity that lets you take in nature at your own pace, why not give hiking a try? Luckily, Candlewood Lake offers several trails that are perfect for both casual and avid hikers.
If you’re planning a hiking tour of Candlewood Lake, be sure to add these trails to your itinerary:
Still River Greenway
Those looking for a trail that’s ideal for all skill levels should take a look at Still River Greenway. True to its name, the route treats hikers to the gentle rustling of river water as they traverse its 2.25-mile length. As a bonus, the footbridge that crosses the Still River is the longest such structure in the state. Visitors can enter through either the Silvermine Road or Federal Road entrance. The latter entrance is adjacent to downtown Brookfield, so you can easily grab a much-deserved meal at a restaurant after your hike. Dog owners are allowed to bring their fur babies as long as they are leashed.
Bear Mountain Reservation
The trail at Bear Mountain Reservation is a lot like a choose-your-own-adventure experience. Comprising 10 interlinked trails labeled by color, this destination presents hikers with endless combinations that make each visit memorable. It covers a lot of terrain, too, from forested paths, to mountain peaks, to lakeside beaches. The red trail serves as the main loop, but you can take a detour on the orange trail to see Candlewood Lake or the yellow loop to see Bear Mountain Peak. The trailhead is easily accessible through a parking lot along Bear Mountain Road.
If you want a destination that offers a little bit of everything, Farrington Woods is an excellent choice. Spanning 192 acres, this area not only boasts a hiking trail but also singletracks for bikers and off-roading paths for jeeps. It will also be home to an eight-mile, multi-use singletrack built by the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA). Another highlight here is Sanfords Pond, where you can enjoy canoeing, kayaking, and fishing (no swimming though!). If you’re coming from the eastern side of town, the trailhead can be found at Exit 1 on Route 84.
Tarrywile Park & Mansion
Hiking in Tarrywile Park & Mansion is a bit like traveling back through time, thanks to the Victorian-style house that dominates the horizon. That said, this 722-acre municipal park also boasts 21 miles of hiking trails that take you through two ponds, several picnic spots, and Candlewood Lake. There’s plenty of attractions, too, including the Children’s Garden, a grape arbor, and a bird sanctuary. There’s also a restored farmhouse and haybarn that hearkens to the attraction’s history as a farm in the 19th century. Be sure to free up space on your phone during your hike—you’re bound to encounter many scenic sights during your excursion.
Pootatuck State Forest
This 1,200-acre park straddles both New Fairfield and Sherman, and boasts a two-mile loop that’s fit for all skill levels. If you’re looking for a scenic hike, take the white loop that runs alongside Squantz Pond; if you’re looking for a more challenging experience, take the blue or yellow loop which takes you through the Pootatuck State Forest. And if you’re really adventurous, take a crack at hiking the area’s unblazed trails. There’s also a wealth of outdoor activities to try here, from mountain biking, to hunting, to skiing.
Great Hollow Nature Preserve
Great Hollow Nature Preserve was established only in 2016, but it’s already one of the most popular hiking spots in the Candlewood Lake area. It has a strictly hike-only path that’s dog-friendly, which gives you an opportunity to appreciate Connecticut’s rich biodiversity. As a nature preserve, this destination also offers experiential environmental education for both youths and adults.
Indeed, Candlewood Lake is a place where nature and leisure intersect. The good news is that you can purchase a home here so you can enjoy lakeside living every day. With prime real estate available in Sherman, New Milford, New Fairfield, and Brookfield, you’re sure to find the dream home that checks all your boxes.
Want to know more about the area’s vibrant lifestyle? Be sure to follow our blog to learn all about the best things to do in Candlewood Lake, CT.