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Hiking Trails at Bartlett Arboretum in Stamford, CT
Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens in Stamford, Connecticut has a lot more to do than just hiking. In fact, their hiking trails are a tiny part of what you can experience when visiting. Whether you’re intrigued by the gardens, the various classes for adults and children, music events, or any of the weekly events they put on you’re sure to find something to do here in addition to hiking.
But if you’re looking to hike in Bartlett Arboretum then you’ll find a collection of short, flat trails to explore. The longest trail is only 0.29 miles, but the intersecting of many trails allow you to hike for around 1.5-2.0 miles total if you explore them all. The Cemetery trail and the Wetland Walk are especially fascinating to hike.
This post details all of the possible hiking trails, as well as describes some of the other features available to visit so that you can plan your trip to Bartlett Arboretum!
Features: Several gardens, swamp walk, cemetery trail
Bathrooms: Inside Silver Education Center & portable toilets in some parking areas
Dog Friendly: Dogs on leash only
Location, Parking, and Bathrooms for Bartlett Arboretum
When you enter this park from 151 Brookdale you’ll drive past the gate and immediately see a small parking area just off the road. This is not the main parking area. You can park here, and it does give you quick access to the red trail, but if you keep driving you’ll hit the larger parking area which will give you more access to trails and is generally larger.
Despite the popularity of this park, there is plenty of parking here. Even when I went on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, there was plenty of parking available.
As for bathrooms, there are indoor bathrooms in the Silver Educational Center, but if you can’t wait, the larger parking area also as a portable toilet. But, since this park’s trails are so short it’s quite possible you just won’t need the bathrooms while here.
Overview of Bartlett Arboretum Hiking Trails
There are 10 hiking trails here, and they’re all very short. The longest is 0.29 miles, but as many of them are interconnected you can easily hike multiple of them to make your hike slightly longer. With that said, since these are so short and generally flat, these are amazing trails for children or for those with mobility challenges or limits, but who still want to get outside.
All of the trails have the same intensity, but if you’re looking for trails with cool views or features, then you’ll want to hike the cemetery trail and the wetland walk.
I’ll be highlighting my two favorite trails in their own sections below, but all of these trails (minue the wetland walk) have the same type of terrain and trails. They’re mostly flat, fairly wide, short, and are easy to navigate.
The trails are very well marked and you can get by without any type of navigation device (like AllTrails). If you’re up for it and have the time, I recommend you do them all!
Hiking at Bartlett Arboretum - Special Features
Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens is a location teeming with special features to explore beyond hiking. In fact, hiking is such a small part of what they offer, that you’d be remiss to go and hike without doing at least one of the other things they offer.
Read through the options below and choose one for your next trip!
Bartlett Arboretum Gardens
The gardens at Bartlett Arboretum is really what this place is known for. There are so many gardens to explore, each with their own theme. And the best part is that they all have clearly labeled plants so you can learn a little bit about each of the plant types you’re seeing.
Some of the ones I visited included the fern garden (with a plant arch to walk through), the pollinator garden, the sundial garden, the herb garden, and the sensory garden. It’s quite a list, and I didn’t even get a chance to view every garden there – so you can spend quite a bit of time just exploring the gardens after or before your hikes.
Spread amongst the gardens is a bee hive! It’s fenced off so you don’t get too close, but it was really interesting to see the bees going about their lives right in the middle of all these gardens from safe distance.
With that said, you should expect a couple of bee friends flying about as you walk through the gardens. They were much more interested in the flowers than they were in me, but if you’re going with someone who has a bee allergy, or is just very afraid of bees you should keep that in mind.
The Cemetery Trail has a cemetery (my guess is you already figured that out). There is a nice monument at the entrance, and you can walk on the grass to see the headstones (which are mostly flat to the ground). This cemetery was used from 1870-1970 for local Stamford residents.
Even if old cemetery’s like this freak you out a little, this one is worth a visit. Out of all the cemetary/hiking trails I’ve visited (which is honestly more than you’d expect), this felt the most serene.
It might be that it’s placed in the middle of a arboretum, but the plant life and clearing this cemetery is in gives you a sense of reverence and peace more than a feeling of scary cemetery.
Silver Educational Center
The Silver Educational Center is located right in the middle of the arboretum. Inside are various classrooms, public bathrooms, and a herbarium. I didn’t get a chance to explore the silver educational center myself as it was rented for the day for a party (yes, you can rent it, which is so cool). But, there are a few educational exhibits inside to explore and some great areas to sit and cool off if you visit on a warm day.
The wetland walk is the farthest trail from the parking lot, but remember all the trails are small so it’s still less than a mile away from where you start. But, it’s totally worth the trek because the wetland walk has an entirely different vibe from the rest of the park.
This walk consists of a boardwalk through a muddy wetland. If you’ve never walked through a wetland before then I highly recommend you give it a shot. The nature and wildlife of wetlands are so unique and really amazing to experience, especially from inside one.
A few things to note on this trail though. First, some of the boards are a little worn out and need repair. It’s still walkable, but certain places might be challenging for strollers with small wheels. Second, as this is a wetland it’s very buggy (much buggier than the rest of the park). But, despite those aspects, you get a really cool view of a piece of nature not typically explored.
Other Tips to Remember
Bartlett Arboretum is a fantastic place to spend a few hours to hike some short trails, visit the gardens, and overall have a great and educational experience in nature. It’s a fantastic place for kids to visit, and even if they get bored of all the other aspects and exhibits of the park you can even take them to a playground (at the start of the cemetery trail) to blow off some energy.
I highly recommend this park to anyone in or passing through Stamford! So, I hope after reading this overview, you’re planning to put Bartlett Arboretum on your to-visit list! It’s definitely a place to visit that you don’t want to miss.
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