Hartford may be the capital city of Connecticut flush with urban attractions, but it also happens to be a great springboard for getting outdoors in and around the Connecticut River Valley.
As a guest of ours here at The Goodwin—Downtown Hartford’s premier boutique hotel—you’ve got awesome hiking, biking, boating, and nature viewing within easy reach. Here are some of the best destinations in our vicinity for outdoor recreation and sightseeing, yours to enjoy alongside our pitch-perfect hospitality!
Parks & Greenspaces in Hartford
Hartford’s got plenty of green right in its city limits. That includes the “Flower of New England Parks”: the venerable 101-acre Elizabeth Park, established at the end of the 19th century. Its beautiful expanse includes the oldest—and one of the very biggest—public rose gardens in the U.S., plus multiple other swoon-worthy cultivated beds, a magnificent collection of trees from around the world, and such serene landmarks as the Sunrise Overlook and Laurel Pond.
The similarly Victorian-era Riverside Park along Hartford’s riverfront, meanwhile, includes paved walking and biking paths and trails weaving through airy floodplain forest.
Windsor Meadows State Park
Speaking of floodplain forest, an exceptional 140-acre block of it evoking greater Hartford in the pre-contact era composes a goodly part of Windsor Meadows State Park, just a stone’s throw north of the city. The park has a popular boat launch as well as the popular Bissell Bridge Walkway Trail and the accessible Windsor River Trail.
Ragged Mountain Preserve
Mostly owned and managed by the non-profit Ragged Mountain Foundation, Ragged Mountain Preserve encompasses the scenic heights of the eponymous traprock crest southwest of Hartford—part of the extensive Metacomet Ridge stretching northward from Long Island Sound. A 2.3-mile section of the long-distance Metacomet Trail (part of the New England Trail) runs through the preserve. The summit of Ragged Mountain serves up grand views, including southward to the enigmatic Hanging Hills along the Metacomet. Rock climbers covet Ragged’s extensive basalt cliffs.
Talcott Mountain & Penwood State Parks
Another celebrated section of the Metacomet Ridge, Talcott Mountain includes both its namesake state park as well as Penwood State Park, two easy-to-reach outdoor playgrounds in Hartford’s near hinterland. From the top of Heublein Tower along the Talcott Mountain ridge—reached by the 1.25-mile Tower Trail—you’ll have a knockout view of the Hartford skyline. The Metacomet Trail runs through both Talcott Mountain and the nearly 800-acre Penwood state parks, providing outstanding traprock hiking.
Extend your day-tripping range just a little bit, and a whole slew of other outdoor destinations await during your Goodwin getaway. They include Hurd State Park along the Connecticut River as well as such state forests as the Shenipsit, the Salmon River, and the Cockaponset.
Enjoy the Connecticut River Valley’s Great Outdoors on a Hartford Stay at The Goodwin
Spare some time while reveling in your boutique downtown embrace at The Goodwin—and all the Hartford dining, shopping, and sightseeing we put at your fingertips—to enjoy the natural scenery and outdoor activities in and around the city!