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Best Summer Hikes In East Haddam You Have To Do

Best Summer Hikes In East Haddam You Have To Do

East Haddam has so many open space properties that there definitely is a hike for every season! If the season happens to be summer, these are the absolute best hikes that you should be doing in and around East Haddam, Connecticut.

Sheepskin Hollow Preserve - Sheepskin Hollow Road, East Haddam

Covering just over 100 acres, this preserve boasts six different trails that weave through the forest and cover substantial elevation. Primary access and parking for the preserve is available on the namesake road, Sheepskin Hollow, but there is a secondary entrance and parking available on Ridgebury Road which sits on the complete opposite side of the preserve.

Water flowing over shale rocks
Photo Credit: Cara MacDonald

No matter from which side you start, Sheepskin Hollow promises beautiful views of both the forest and the nearby lake. Especially in the summer there is an abundance of wildlife to be seen including beavers and their dam. This trail also includes access for horses off of the Ridgebury Road access; however horses are prohibited from taking the Blue Trail due to a narrow, pedestrian-only footbridge on that path.

Devil’s Hopyard State Park, Mitchell Road Access - Mitchell Road, East Haddam

Devil’s Hopyard State Park is a tried and true hiking destination in East Haddam. But the majority of the focus is typically around the Vista Trail that looks out towards Long Island Sound and the Falls Trail which weaves nearby to Chapman Falls. While the latter is an ideal hike in the spring, if you’re looking for a summer hike that is a bit outside of the typical tourist attraction, the MItchell Road Access for Devil’s Hopyard is a must-try.

This part of the park has a small parking area with a trail head that immediately climbs several hundred feet on a winding cut-back that “tunnels” through groves of mountain laurel until it levels off for some hiking through dense forest. From there the trail twists and turns until you’re within eyesight of a gleaming lake with a cabin just beyond - this marks the southwest boundary of the state park and is private property. This area is well marked and should be respected. The trail turns eastward and takes the hiker into the heart of Devil’s Hopyard where numerous logging roads and paths can still be found. Anyone on this trail then has the choice to stay on it and loop back to the Mitchell Road parking area, or to continue further into the main park. If you brought along a tasty sandwich from one of East Haddam’s best sandwich shops, following the path into the park will lead you to an overlook that is a breathtaking spot to take your lunch while looking out over the Connecticut River Valley.

Hatch Lot Reserve - Mill Road, East Haddam

The Hatch Lot Reserve is one of the larger reserves, spanning nearly 250 acres with an abutment on the northern end of the property to the Dean Easement, another parcel that totals some 280 acres, the Hatch Lot is a great all-day hiking opportunity and one of the finest in East Haddam. In fact, it is possibly the best hiking in all of East Haddam and is definitely the best for nature lovers.

A trail map for the Hatch Lot reserve
An overview of the Hatch Lot hiking trails

Hatch Lot has numerous and extensive trail systems that are well marked and maintained but can make it feel as if all of civilization has been left behind. The property has a mix of elevations and contains both ledges and outlooks as well as lowland vernal pools, streams, and other features like a forest of mountain laurel, Connecticut’s state flower.

This hike is best done in the summer because many of the vernal pools have dried out and the streams have shrunk in size, making for easy hiking without the risk of getting your feet wet. The dense forest that covers most of Hatch Lot provides an abundance of shade cover which is perfect for escaping the heat of the summer. Mountain laurel also blooms in early summer and the fragrant walk through the dense mountain laurel grove is unparalleled.

Summer is by far one of the best opportunities to hike any of the many open space parcels and preserves throughout East Haddam. But these choice hikes are sure to please, being some of the best hikes in East Haddam in the summer.

Did we miss a great summer hike? Let us know in the comments!

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