Hiking in Stamford CT: Seven Best Stamford Hiking Trails
Being from Stamford, Connecticut I love finding and exploring local hiking trails. When I first started hiking people would tell me there was “nothing” in Stamford. How far from the truth that is! Stamford, Connecticut has several great hiking trails that you wont want to miss.
Some of my favorite places to hike in and around Stamford, Connecticut include: Mianus River Park, Mianus River Gorge, Helen Altschul Preserve, Selleck’s Woods Nature Preserve, Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens, Babcock Preserve, and Stamford Museum and Nature Center.
I’ll dive into each of these Local Hiking Trails in Stamford, CT below so you can get to exploring the best hiking trails in Stamford, CT!
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Mianus River Park
Mianus River Park is a Stamford staple and one of the top places to Hike in Stamford, CT. Seriously, everyone near to Stamford who has hiked has likely been to Mianus River Park.
This 400-acre nature reserve spreads both Stamford and Greenwich Connecticut and allows for hiking, mountain biking, and fishing. The 2-mile stretch of the Mianus River, is a very popular part of this hike and spending some time walking along the edge would be something I’d recommend.
Families especially love this park because there are plenty of flat trails to explore along the river (which is great for kids). But, if you’re child-free and looking for more of a challenge, you’ll want to check out the inner trails as they give plenty of ups and downs for more of a challenge.
Helen Atschuel Preserve
The Helen Atscheul Preserve (GPS coordinates) is a gorgeous nature sanctuary containing more than expected for its 167 acre size. The hiking portion is even smaller, but even so this preserve has two ponds, woodlands, marshlands, and a meadow to explore. Plenty for any hiker to get some fresh air and get out into nature.
You will want to be aware that hunting is permitted in this part – so wear your bright orange to be visible to anyone in the woods.
In order to preserve most of the land, there are only a couple small hiking trails to experience, but they’re beautiful trails and can be enjoyed by all. I’d recommend these trails as an after-work decompressor, or a way for kids to get some energy out after school or on the weekend.
Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens
Bartlett Arboretum is a major Stamford attraction for all. Not only do they host events, concert, and gardens to visit, but they also have a small collection of trails to enjoy. Plus, these trails are great for families with kids, as some of them are interwoven around the gardens and other structures in the park.
Most of these trails are fairly secluded, but, if there’s an event or it’s a beautiful weekend, you will hear the other people in the park. But at the end of the day the trails are still located in North Stamford, so you do get the experience of being in the woods without being too far away from Stamford, CT.
I would recommend though if you’re coming for the trails to be sure to plan to visit the gardens as well. It’s a great pre or post hike activity that all will enjoy.
Stamford Museum and Nature Center
Perfect for hiking with the family, the trails at Stamford Museum and Nature Center are sure to keep the younger ones entertained for a while.
Located behind the Overbrook Nature Center, the hiking area of this nature center contains several short trails for all to enjoy. The highlight of this park, in my opinion, is the Wheels in the Woods trail, which is a fully accessible trail that can be navigated by those who use mobility aids.
Beyond the trails though, the Stamford Museum and Nature center always have an activity going on. Many of these are targeted towards kids, so if you are planning a visit with kids then you may want to see what events they have going on that day. That way you can make it a full day event.
Hiking Near Stamford, CT
Babcock Preserve (get the trail map here) is another near-to-Stamford park located just over the border in Greenwich Connecticut. This is a fairly remote park for how near to Stamford it is located, and so you do feel very remote while inside the park.
It’s a 400 acre area of wooded trails, including a small portion with a marsh. Five trails of differing lengths take you through the backcountry and can give you a longer hiking experience if that’s what you’re looking for.
It’s another great hike for families, or for those looking for a more secluded hike in the woods as it is less trafficked than some of the other hikes in this list. Though, you should know that it can get muddy in some areas, but the park does do a good job of creating route arounds for the muddiest parts.
Selleck’s Woods Natural Preserve
Located in Darien, CT, Selleck’s Woods Natural Preserve is a small park perfect for strolling through the woods. Mainly used by Darien residents, it’s a great park for getting a small dose of nature in for the entire family. You should know though, that the entrance to this park is right next to the train line – so it’s not always the quietest of places.
You can expect to see ponds, streams, and wooded areas. I love the small bridge that carries you over the trickling streams – it’s incredibly peaceful and beautiful. In all, there are a total of 2 miles of trails to enjoy for a quick jaunt in the woods.
Mianus River Gorge
Mianus River Gorge, not to be confused with Mianus River Park, is slightly north of Stamford just across the border in Bedford, NY. It’s a stunning park and contains the Mianus reservoir, which delivers drinking water to the surrounding area.
This park is more secluded than other parks on this list (i.e. limited cell service), but it’s also one of the most beautiful as well. It’s highlights include the Mianus Reservoir, a waterfall, rock quarry, and a few different overlooks.
It’s challenging enough to get your heart rate up, but perfectly hike-able by any beginner hiker.
Check out my hiking guide for Mianus River Gorge here.
Want to find other local hikes? Check out our hiking adventures page to find other hikes local to Connecticut and New York. For additional recommendations, check out the book 50 Hikes in Connecticut for even more guides to local hiking grounds.
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