Hiking at Lake Mohegan: An Off-Leash Hiking Trail in Fairfield, CT
Lake Mohegan in Fairfield, Connecticut is a short trail perfect for dogs, kids, families, and anyone looking for a short, easy hike with incredible views.
Across the state there are so few trails that are perfect for the entire family. So, Lake Mohegan in Fairfield in an absolute gem that checks-off every family requirement.
- Dogs enjoy the trail because they get to be off leash and enjoy a jump in the cool Lake Mohegan water
- Kids enjoy the trail because it’s flat with so much to see. Plus there are so many dogs to play with!
- Beginners enjoy this hike because it’s easy, short, and has unbeatable views of the lake. Great for a 1st hike.
- Families enjoy this hike because where else can you keep the entire family occupied for several hours??
Seriously, don’t miss out on Lake Mohegan. Even experienced hikers will enjoy its beauty as the trail winds around different parts of the lake. Plus, it’s just a fun time and an easy way to get out into nature in a way accessible for everyone.
Location: Fairfield, CT
Distance: 2.1 miles
Time: 1-2 hours
Cell-Phone Service: Great. Full Service
Features: Off-Leash Dog Trails and Swimming
Hours: Dawn to One Hour After Sunset
Cost: Free to Hike, permit needed to swim
Parking: Large parking area with plenty of parking
Bathrooms: Portable Toilets
Dog Friendly: Off-Leash available on trails (leash required near parking and picnic areas)
Location, Parking, and Bathrooms
Lake Mohegan in Fairfield Connecticut is really easy to find. A quick google search will show you exactly where to go without much effort. Although, you will want to specify that you’re looking for the Connecticut Lake Mohegan to find the right one.
When you arrive to the main parking area, there will be plenty of free parking. It’s a huge lot that serves both the hiking trails, but also the Lake Mohegan beach and swimming area. Note, if you do plan on swimming you will need to either have a pass or pay a very reasonable entrance fee. If you pay to enter this area there is also a children’s playground and non-portable restrooms.
If you aren’t paying to enter, and plan to just hike for free there are a few portable toilets in the parking lot near the beach entrance, and one located immediately before the trail starts. You can see that one in the picture below. From the parking lot, the trail entrance is to the farthest right corner near the beach, but you can see it from most spots in the lot.
There are actually two parking areas for Lake Mohegan. The first, and the largest is the one that you can use to access the swimming area and the Lake Mohegan Beach. Because it is the access point for all of the recreation activities, it is the largest and the most crowded. The second lot is much more remote and begins at the other end of the lake. If you’re hiking the trail, you’ll come across it about 1.2-1.3 miles from the main trail start.
If you would rather avoid the crowds and have a more serene experience of Lake Mohegan I would recommend parking here. It can be accessed by traveling to the end of Morehouse Highway. This parking area is much smaller and has only a dirt ground. There is a portable toilet here as well in case it is needed and several picnic areas and grills to hang out.
From this smaller second lot you can head either left or right. If you go left you’ll circle back around to the river feeding into Mohegan Lake, and eventually the backside of the lake. Heading right will give you some stunning views as you walk alongside the lake and head to the primary entrance.
Hiking Around Lake Mohegan in Fairfield, Connecticut
There are many trails around Lake Mohegan, and it’s helpful if you follow an alltrails map so you can see where you are going. I followed this one, as I wanted to be able to go fully around the lake. But, there are several offshoots and other trails a bit farther away from the lake you can take if you want to explore more. The trail around the lake is a little over 2 miles.
When you get on the trail you’ll find very wide trails, perfect for hiking with groups, kids, or dogs. The wide trails stay this wide pretty much the entire way around the lake if you’re doing the loop.
You’ll notice, though, that there are several smaller and somewhat overgrown off-shots that will lead you directly to a lake view if you want to explore them. If that isn’t your vibe, then there are plenty of large access points to the lake. You can see some dogs enjoying one main access below.
This first access point to the lake from the trail is a crowded one. It’s a favorite of all the hikers because it only is about a 5 minute walk from the trail entrance. So, you’ll often find several off-leash dogs hanging out at this spot with their owners. Some of them are enjoying the water and some are just playing with the other dogs. It’s like a natural dog park and a great way to play with some dogs before continuing on your hike.
After this first lake access point, the trail gets less crowded. There are a couple of smaller access points not too much past this first one, but most people stop at the first one. If you’d prefer to avoid the crowds, then I’d recommend you keep walking and you’ll find the next place much more quiet.
The further you keep walking, the trail gets less and less crowded until you do feel fairly secluded in the woods. You can still hear people in the distance, but it’s nice to be able to explore the majority of this trail without too many people.
River Crossing at Lake Mohegan
About half way through the trail, at the top of Lake Mohegan, you’ll come across this large wooden bridge. This bridge crosses the Mill River, which feeds into Lake Mohegan in Fairfield.
This bridge is really awesome by itself, but once you cross it you’ll want to go left to see the rapids and large rocks next to the river. These rocks were so cool to see and also to hike on (yes, it’s a part of the trail). In the pictures below you can see a few people observing the water on one of the farther rocks.
The water down this river was moving fast the day I was there creating a mini rapids situation. There are many viewpoints from various large rocks in this general area and it’s great to take a break, have a snack, and just take in the nature around you.
Views of Lake Mohegan in Fairfield CT
After you make your way past the river you’ll hike in wooded areas for the next few tenths of a mile. Eventually though, you’ll come across these very incredible lake views. In my opinion, the best views to he lake are at this point of the hike.
I absolutely loved the little winding dirt trail that made its way directly next to the river for most of the way back. It had been a cloudy day when I started, but the sun came out at the exact right time to reflect over the lake and give me these incredible views. So peaceful, and I didn’t even see one other person on this side of the lake while I was hiking this part.
So, if you like a secluded hike and are worried about the crowds here, my advice is to just keep going. Eventually you’ll reach this much less traveled section of the lake.
Ending the Lake Mohegan Hiking Trail
For the last half mile the trail is a straight shot directly next to the lake. However, when the lake ends you are taken to an outshoot that leads you to the road.
There is a sign that you see before reaching this road to leash your dogs. Off-leash dogs are only allowed on the trail, and not on the road, parking lots, or picnic areas. So, when you see that warning be sure to follow the rules and make sure your pup is secured before heading out into an open road.
You’ll walk along this road for 0.1-0.2 tenths of a mile before reaching the parking lot again. This part of the trail is the least shady, so be prepared that this part will be hotter than the rest of the trail.
Other Tips to Remember
Hiking at Mohegan Lake in Fairfield County is a great experience for the entire family. Be prepared to see some off-leash pups and have a great time!
Note though that if you’re going to take the smaller trail offshoots to view the lake these are overgrown a bit. The overgrown areas will have grass encroaching on the trail. This is a tick’s haven – and especially if you have your pup with you do a thorough tick check after the hike. Ticks are definitely a problem in Connecticut, and you don’t want a day of fun to turn into a chronic disease.
Otherwise, follow the rules. It’s a more trafficked hike and so it’s essential to follow hiking etiquette and the rules around off-leash dogs to ensure everyone has a good time.
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