Distance represents walking all the trails. Avoid side trails for a shorter experience.
Destination Distance From Downtown
1 of 5 diamonds
The trail is short and mostly flat.
Time To Complete
There are many side trails on either side of the marsh, and the trail blazes are not as clear as one might like, so be prepared for a bit of backtracking. You can see all the trails in an hour, but if you're short on time, you can easily cut out a few side trails.
On Leash Only
Parking for hiking is free, but there is a $20 season pass fee for visiting the marina area of the park.
This is not Connecticut's best state park. It's small, some trails are a bit overgrown, and the trail markings are confusing. That said, it's still a pleasant place for an easy walk that traverses forest, salt marsh, and tidal mud flats.
What Makes It Great
The folks at Quinnipiac University prepared a self-guided nature trail at the park; copies are available at the park, or online here. The guide recommends visiting the park at low tide to see the full range of marine plants and animals, like the hundreds of fiddler crabs scurrying around the mud flats.
Following the guide turns this otherwise-unremarkable trail into an outdoors education on everything from species identification to the importance of various habitats. You'll even pick up some American history, including a lesson on malaria prevention ditches dug after the Civil War.
Who is Going to Love It
Birdwatchers may spot or hear cormorants, egrets, grebes, or osprey. There are a couple of osprey nests in the park, where you might catch a glimpse of osprey chicks in the spring and summer months.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Don't trust Google Maps on this one: it will send you up a private driveway. Parking for hikers is at the north entrance on Route 142 (Short Beach Road) between Fairview Avenue and Stone Pillar Road. Look for the manatee mailbox (a six foot tall sculpture of a manatee holding a mailbox!) at the house next to the parking lot entrance.
Parking for registered boaters is on Mansfield Grove Road. Contact Quinnipiac University Community Boating Program at (203) 582-3777 for information on applying for boat launch passes and dock launch passes and dock rentals or register online at Quinnipiac University.