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Mianus River Park | Hiking | Stamford & Greenwich, CT
Mianus River Park is a nearly 400 acre nature preserve crossing over the cities of Stamford and Greenwich, Connecticut. It’s an extremely popular park due to the easy and multitude of trails, and due to the fact the Mianus River crosses through it giving beautiful views.
Mianus River Park has two main trails that encompass the entire park, but several additional trails that cascade through the middle providing more elevation and variety for hikers. Additionally, hikers have access to a 2-mile stretch of the Mianus River. Fishing and mountain biking is allowed. Mianus River Park is an excellent choice for locals and those with families to escape into nature.
This post details the yellow trail, but many other options are available should you wish to alter this trail in anyway. The yellow trail is a well-maintained trail that travels around the outside of the entire park.
Features: Mianus River
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Lot on Merribrook Ln in Stamford, and off of Cognewaugh Rd in Greenwich
Dog Friendly: On leash only
Location, Parking, and Bathrooms for Mianus River Park
There are two parking lots for Mianus River Park. One is in Stamford off of Merribrook Lane, and the other is in Greenwich off of Cognewaugh Rd. Both are fairly large lots, but due to the popularity of the park both get filled incredibly quickly.
Parking outside of the lots is not allowed at either location, and if you attempt it you will be ticketed. The local police target these areas because they know people will be parking outside of the lots due to the popularity of the park. So, plan to arrive at off-peak hours or wait for a spot and do not park outside of the designated parking areas.
There are no bathrooms available at either parking area.
Mianus River Park Yellow Trail Entrance
The yellow trail is accessible from both parking areas in Stamford and Greenwich.
If you are approaching from the Stamford Lot you can start off by heading up the river to the right or by using the left trail turnoff immediately beyond the bridge before entering the park. The yellow trail is a loop, so you’ll eventually do both parts of the trail no matter which direction you start off.
If you’re approaching from the Greenwich Lot, then there’s only one way to get started. You’ll head up the main road trail until you hit a fork in the road. Both directions follow the yellow trail, so it’s a matter of preference. They’re both about half way to the river, just from different directions, so it really is up to you to choose whichever you want to do first.
While you’re on the yellow trail you’ll notice that the trail name changes – but it’s all the same, yellow trail. To complete the entire trail you’ll hike on the following trails: main road, oak, second loop, pine hill, river road, river rock, indian rock, and laurel. I’m not really sure why there are so many names for the same trail, but it does keep you on your toes as you’re hiking.
Hiking the Mianus River Park Yellow Trail - Features
The main feature of the Mianus River Park Yellow Trail is the walk along the Mianus River. It’s a beautiful and well-maintained walk, with several places to sit alongside the river bank. This park is all about natural protection though, and there will be areas fenced off from people and animals to promote the forest growth and protect some endangered flora in the area near the river.
Generally, this hike consisted of wide, well maintained trails. However, at the top and bottom of the map (when you’re farthest from the River), the trail can become narrow and at one point even single-file. But throughout it’s well maintained.
There isn’t a lot of elevation in this trail, but if you do want to add some you can choose to use the cut through trails in the middle of the park. These have some (small) elevations gains to enjoy.
Now, mountain bikes are allowed in this park and are extremely common. So, if you’ll be hiking this trail you’re almost always guaranteed to run into 1+ mountain bikers traveling the same yellow trail. When you encounter them you’ll want to follow the proper multi-use trail etiquette to allow them the right of way when appropriate.
Outside of the river, when you’re hiking the loop there are some swampy areas that typically have lush, green vegetation and if you hike at the right time, a plethora of frogs to serenade you with their chorus. This is probably my favorite section of the trail, beyond the river portion, due to how green it can be.
Ending the Mianus River Park Yellow Trail
As it is a loop, the ending is where you started. If you started at the Stamford side then you’ll easily know when you’re back because you’ll reached the only paved area (where you entered the park).
But if you’re hiking back to the Greenwich Lot then you do have to be on the lookout for the Main Road trail turn off. You won’t be able to see the parking lot from the trail and if you aren’t keeping track of where you are in the hike then it’s easily missed. But, if you turn off on the main road trail then it’s an easy hike back to the lot.
Other Tips to Remember
Mianus River Park is a Stamford and Greenwich local gem that is great hike for families, individuals, and just anyone looking to get out into nature. The hike alongside the Mianus River is a popular part of this hike, but some of the more remote areas of the are worth visiting as well.
You should note that there is a section of land in the middle of the park that is private property. So, at certain parts on the trail you will be hiking next to privately owned houses with fences separating them from the park. I don’t mind this, but some may feel it detracts from their nature experience.
But overall, Mianus River Park is a fantastic place to visit to get some fresh air and stretch those hiking legs!
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