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Hiking the Litchfield Memorial Boardwalk Trail
White Memorial Conservation Center is one of the best places in Connecticut to see wildlife and there are several trails you can explore and stroll through to see this wildlife. Nothing here is too taxing, but the peace and beauty you’ll find in nature while here is why this park is so popular.
One of the more popular trails is the Litchfield Memorial Boardwalk trail. This trail is comprised of a 1.7 mile boardwalk that extends through the wetland area around the Bantam River and Little Pond. This trail is made for walking more than hiking, but the serene peace of nature surrounds you the entire time.
This guide covers the Litchfield Memorial Boardwalk in its entirety. From parking to features of the trail, you’ll know what to expect and be able to plan your trip to see and walk this boardwalk.
Overview of Litchfield Memorial Boardwalk Trail
Features: Bantam River, Little Pond, and surrounding wetland
Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Dog Friendly: Dogs on leash only
Location, Parking, and Bathrooms for the Litchfield Memorial Boardwalk
Getting to Litchfield Memorial Boardwalk is fairly easy. Although, if you just put Litchfield Memorial into your GPS you’ll likely be taken to the main park, which is a couple of miles away. Be sure to follow these directions so you end up at the right place.
For several years, the parking for the boardwalk has been a gravel lot on the side of the road. Due to the popularity of the trail, this lot often filled up and had people lining the street near the park trying to get to the entrance. So, in August 2022 a new parking lot opened right at the start of the trail to provide safer access to the boardwalk trail.
I went to this park a few days before the new parking area opened, and there were no bathrooms available. I’d think that with the new lot and portable toilet may be placed there but I wouldn’t count on it. If you need to go to the bathroom be sure to stop before arriving.
Overview of Hiking to the Litchfield Memorial Boardwalk
The 1.7 mile boardwalk trail is a very easy stroll into some of the most beautiful landscapes in Connecticut. Wetlands are special places, and if you’ve never explored one I’d highly recommend checking this one out first. No where else will you get such a clear path, with clearly well-taken care of planks to help you navigate through the entire wetland.
Once you enter the trail, it’s a loop and there really aren’t that many offshoots (and the ones that exist don’t take you very far off the main trail). So, it’s incredibly difficult to get lost here. Generally, you should expect a nice 1.7 mile stroll around the loop of Little Pond. It is a very popular trail though, so you should expect other people to be around.
Hiking the Boardwalk - What to Expect
When starting the trail, there’s two starting points. The first is next to the new parking area, and is where most people will begin. The second entrance is further up the road and is less traveled. With that said, both entrances converge about 0.2 miles into the trail, so I’d recommend just starting at the main entrance next to the parking area.
The trail starts on land (not boardwalk), and you spend the first 0.5 miles hiking on a wide flat, gravel and dirt path. Eventually you’ll reach the boardwalk loop where you can take either direction to hike the boardwalk. The image below shows the entrance if you head to the right when reaching the loop trail.
When you get on the boardwalk, there’s really only one way to go and you follow it until you arrive back at the starting point. The most beautiful views are here, but because it’s a boardwalk heading in only one direction, there’s not really escaping the trail until you’re finished with it.
This is important to know because a boardwalk is different than most hiking trails. For one, you really need to be careful of sun exposure. There aren’t a lot of trees around and the sun is beating down on you from above. But, just like I say when kayaking, the sun is also reflecting off the water beneath you as well. So, you’re getting hit from all angles with sun, and that can become dangerous quickly if you aren’t prepared. Be sure to have sunglasses, a hat, and plenty of water when hiking the boardwalk.
Additionally, this is a wetland, so you should expect it to be a bit buggy. But, don’t let that deter you – this trail is absolutely stunning, and is worth the sun and bugs to experience.
As the boardwalk traverses the wetland, there are going to be plenty of bridges and spots near the water. The Litchfield Boardwalk winds around the Bantam River where you get some incredibly beautiful views.
In one section of the trail (close to the half way point, or just beyond), there are two small, shaded, beach areas where you can sit down and rest near the water, just off the trail. These are almost the only place to actually rest on the trail, and it’s a great place to get closer to the water itself and maybe see some additional wildlife.
Since this is a loop, once you’ve made your way around you’ll end up right back where you started. Take the 0.5 mile trek back up to the parking area and head out.
The trail here is exceptionally well marked, so you shouldn’t get lost or turned around at all when trying to find your way back to your car.
Other Tips to Remember
The Litchfield Memorial Boardwalk is a popular and well-known trail in Northwestern Connecticut. The 1.7 miles trail traverses a wetland, so expect a lot of sun exposure and bugs (aka sunscreen and bug spray is a must). It’s also a very popular trail, so you should expect to share the trail with others.
Because it’s a fairly short trail, be sure to take your time. The wildlife is plentiful in wetlands, and you’ll want to slow down to make sure you see all that this small boardwalk has to offer.
If you want to explore more of the area, there are longer trails to take to combine the boardwalk with other, more traditional hiking trails. Additionally, a kayaking launch for the Bantam River is just up the road and is one of my favorite kayaking spots in all of Connecticut. There’s so much to do here and so many ways to take in the beauty of this area, so I hope you’re able to get out and explore!
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