When the winter snows and ice come to Connecticut, not everybody in the state huddles by their wood stove or cozies up on their couch. Many in the Nutmeg State cannot wait for Jack Frost to cover the slopes in snow, freeze up the rivers and streams for ice fishing or put down the six inches of solid base needed to ride their snowmobiles. Here are just five of the best spots to go or to get information about the top spots for winter outdoor adventures in Connecticut.
Go Ice Climbing with the Appalachian Mountain Club
Appalachian Mountain Club – Connecticut Chapter
62 Undermountain Road
South Egremont, MA 01258
The Connecticut chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club hosts a workshop every January for those who want to experience the joy of climbing around the state’s many icy crags. Although the club does not have an office in Connecticut, its members stay in contact with fellow mountaineers in the Nutmeg State via email, and through the Southern New England Trails Office across the Massachusetts line in South Egremont in the Berkshires. The Connecticut Chapter also hosts many other mountain and outdoor adventures, which are posted here.
Snowmobile Connecticut’s State Forests
Bureau of Outdoor Recreation
State Parks Division
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection annually posts a lengthy and detailed list of the best places and trails to go snowmobiling in state forests. The Bureau of Outdoor Recreation supplements that with trail maps – which can be ordered or picked up at its headquarters or downloaded as PDF files from the website. The state agency also offers tips and advice on safe and environmentally responsible snowmobiling, as well as information on how to register a snowmobile.
Ski the Slopes of Mohawk Mountain
46 Great Hollow Road
Cornwall, CT 06753
Mohawk Mountain in Cornwall in the Northwest Corner offers great opportunities for families to have their own winter adventures in the great outdoors. Children can join the Snowhawks program to learn how to ski, and there are easy, gentle slopes for kids and beginners as well as challenging trails for the more advanced skier. Even three- and four-year-olds can get in some ski time with accompanying parents, and just learning how to ride and use the lifts can be an adventure on their own. The lodge offers a nice, cozy place to rest up, recharge and dine in between or after any adventure.
Snowshoe and Cross-Country Ski at Winding Trails
50 Winding Trails Drive
Farmington, CT 06032
The Farmington Valley is quite picturesque in any season, and in winter it offers splendid terrain for those hardy enough to ski or snowshoe cross-country. Winding Trails in Farmington has a maze of trails of varying length and difficulty for patrons to visit, and even hosts musical, marshmallow and night tours (including some that are guaranteed to be haunted!) on some of the trails. There are campgrounds and nature walks, and a store that rents snowshoes, skis and other equipment. Winding Trails is especially welcoming to Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, from Cubs and Daisies on up.
Get Outfitted for Ice Fishing in Connecticut
512 Silas Deane Highway
Wethersfield, CT 06109
Connecticut Outfitters in Wethersfield is the first stop for anyone who wants to go ice fishing in Connecticut. Not only does it have all of the equipment, clothing and other gear anyone needs to go ice fishing, but it also can direct fishermen to the best and safest spots in the Connecticut River Valley to go angling through the ice. Connecticut Outfitters also periodically offers seminars and classes on all sorts of river activities, from fishing to kayaking, and posts regular updates on river conditions and the best spots to go fishing. It also offers “professional grade instruction” in all sorts of outdoor activities, and has been doing so, as its website notes with pride, “since 1979.”
Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.