DEEP: Skys the Limit

The Sky's the Limit

2018 Sky's the Limit Hiking Challenge

The “Sky’s the Limit Hiking Challenge”, was designed to promote hiking in Connecticut’s State Parks and Forests. For 2018 the theme is “lesser known trails”. Participants in this friendly competition will once again have the opportunity to receive a hiking staff medallion or Sky's the Limit lapel pin for visiting ten designated locations. On January 1, 2019 names will be drawn from those who visited all fourteen locations and fifty winners will receive a hand-carved hiking staff.

Before you head out:

  • Dress for the weather. It is best to dress in layers so as you warm up hiking you can remove outer layers.
  • Bring water, a whistle, sunblock, map and insect repellant.
  • Hunting is allowed in most state forests and some state parks so check out the 2018 CT Hunting and Trapping Guide and don’t forget to wear orange during hunting season.  Also, bring a whistle and make noise so hunters know you are in the area. 
  • Be Bear Aware and do make your presence known by making noise while hiking. Hike in groups. If you see a bear, make enough noise and wave your arms so the bear is aware of your presence.
  • Remember to protect yourself from Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.  Ticks, Lyme Disease and other Tick-Borne Diseases Brochure.
  • Dogs must be on leashes for their safety, the safety of wildlife and fellow hikers. 
  • Don’t forget to bring a map and know what the trail blazes mean (don’t think just because there is a wide open trail that is the correct way to go, there might be a spur trail that is not as obvious.)

{Trail Blazes}

  • Be aware of your surroundings and check out options.  There might be a trail that takes you around a steep area, consult your map. 
  • Remember to check www.ct.gov/deep/StateParks to confirm the park is open and plan your trip accordingly. With the recently established Passport to Parks Program, beginning in 2018, residents will no longer be required to pay a parking fee at CT State Parks and Forest recreation areas, due to DMV collecting a $10 fee ($5 per year) on behalf of DEEP at the time of registration and registration renewals for non-commercial motor vehicles.

Please follow the steps below.

Step 1:  Hike to one of the 14 CT State Parks or Forests listed. The photo locations are circled in red on the maps and/or described below.

Step 2:  Snap a photo of yourself by a sign at the entrance to the park or forest, this could be a state park shield sign, a sign in a kiosk with the name of the state park or forest, or a trail sign identifying the location.   

Step 3: Take a second photo of yourself at the location described in the specific write-up below. 

Step 4: To receive a medallion or lapel pin and certificate, email your 2 photos from each of ten parks listed below, along with your name and home address, to DEEP.SkystheLimit@ct.gov or mail to CT DEEP State Parks, Sky’s the Limit, 79 Elm St., Hartford, CT 06106. Entries must be received by Friday, December 7, 2018.

Step 5: To be entered to win a hiking staff, send your two photos (at the front sign and specific location) from all fourteen locations, along with your name and home address to the above address. On January 1, 2019, 50 winners will be chosen to receive a hand carved hiking staff. Entries must be received by Friday, December 7, 2018 to be entered into the drawing. 

Note:  When submitting photos please provide a separate email for individuals, 18 years or older, so you can be contacted regarding special announcements.  Also, please provide attachments, (photo or document) not links to external sources (Google drive, Facebook, etc.).  We often have a difficult time accessing external sources.

2018 Sky’s the Limit Locations:

  1. State Park or ForestHousatonic Meadows State Park, 90 Route 7 North, Sharon
    Trail Name: Pine Knob Loop Trail  (just south of Housatonic Meadows State Park campground)
    Parking Area: Just south of Housatonic Meadows State Park Campground
    Photo Locations:  Trail Sign for Pine Knob Trail (by the road)  and Scenic Overlook
    Suggestions:  Hike clockwise (to the left) along the blue trail to the blue/white trail. You can turn around and come back to the parking lot or continue the loop up and over the 2nd knob.  
    Degree of Difficulty:  Strenuous      
    Approximate Length: 2.5 miles
  2. State Park or Forest:  Cockaponset State Forest, Guilford Land Conservation Trust,  Guilford
    Trail Name:  Westwoods Trail - Westwoods Trail Description (provided by Guildford Conservation Land Trust)
    Parking Area:  In the 520 section of Peddler’s Road, Guilford
    Map: Westwoods Trail Map (pdf)
    Photo Locations:
      Peddler’s Road Kiosk and Lost Lake Overlook
    Difficulty:  Moderate to Strenuous
    Length: 6 miles round trip
    Suggestions:  Parking around 523 Peddler’s Road, hike on White Circle Trail, (three plank boardwalk through wetland) to Lost Lake Overlook. When White Circle Trail crosses Green trail, White Trail markings not readily seen, but trail is directly across the way.  When White Trail goes up steep cliff, best to use White Square trail (to avoid steep drop-offs and white circles not easily found).  After you see the trail markers for distance to parking area (see below) you will go through a wet area and then an eroded bank that goes straight and then to the left (east) head to the right (west) you will see a trail and then the White Circle Trail markings.  Head to Lost Lake Overlook (#7 on the map) you will know you are in the right place when you see the 2 smiley white circle markers (here you will take your 2nd photo).       
     
    {Planks} {Smiley Faces} {signs}
     

    Things to do in the Area:  Bishop’s Orchard

     
  3. State Park or Forest:  Naugatuck State Forest, Quillinan Reservoir Block, Ansonia
    Trail Name:  White Trail
    Map:  Naugatuck State Forest, Quillinan Reservoir Block
    Parking Area: Ansonia Nature Center, 10 Deerfield Lane, Ansonia, CT
    Photo Locations:  Raptor Woods Sign and Paugassett Monument as identified on the map.
    Suggestions:  After parking at Ansonia Nature Center head down through the ball fields to Raptor Woods.  Enter the White Trail via Raptor Woods Green Trail.  Hike clockwise on the White Trail past, a large glacial erratic which has been reported to look like Mr. Spock from Star Trek. Continue from the White Trail onto the Purple Trail and again on the White Trail.  Please stay on CT State Land and do not trespass on the Water Supply Land.  This takes you past two concrete tablets (photo location) located on a stone wall entrance way.  One says "Last Settlement 1833” and the other “Paugassett Indians" marking the last Native American village in the area.
    Degree of Difficulty:  Moderate
    Approximate Length:  2 miles
    {Paugussett Memorial at Naugatuck State Forest}   {Paugusset Memorial at Naugatuck State Forest}
      {Paugussettt Memorial at Naugatuck State Forest}
    Things to do in the area:  After your hike stop you might want to stop in for a visit at the Ansonia Nature Center and meet the nature center’s resident animals.
     
  4. State Park or Forest:  Seth Low Pierrepont State Park Reserve, Barlow Mountain Road, Ridgefield
    Trail Name:  White Trail, Orange/White Trail, Blue Trail, Blue/White
    Map:  Seth Low Pierrepont State Park Reserve
    Parking Area: Barlow Mountain Road, park entrance parking area by boat launch. 
    Photo Locations:  Shield sign at the entrance and scenic overlook as seen on map.
    Suggestions:  Park in the main parking area and head along the lake.  You will walk behind homes so please remain on the White Trail. Proceed on the Orange/White trail to the Blue Trail for a little scramble up to the scenic overlook (you are not able to see the lake from here).  You can either go back down the same way you came or continue on the Blue Trail and head downhill for a short distance (.03 miles) to the White Trail on the left.  If you miss that there is a Yellow Trail on the left a little further down.  Continue back to the Blue/White Trail and back again on the Orange/White trail to the White Trail.    
    Degree of Difficulty:  Moderate
    Approximate Length:  2.5 or 3 miles
    Things to do in the area:  www.ctvisit.com/listings/ridgefield-guild-artists
  5. State Park or Forest:  Old Furnace State Park, South Frontage Road, Killingly
    Trail Name:  Blue Trail
    Map: Old Furnace Trail
    Parking Area: Main Parking Lot Old Furnace State Park
    Photo Locations: Welcome sign and view from 200 feet above the valley
    Suggestions:  Hikers may access the trail by crossing Furnace Brook opposite the picnic area and locating the dark blue blazes on the trees. The trail leads through pine forest gently upslope until it steepens toward the end in about ¾ of a mile. Any question of effort will prove worthwhile with the panorama from the rocky outcrops. The view, from 200 feet above the valley, is described by some as stunning, and encompasses Half Hill Pond (also known as Upper Ross Pond) in the immediate foreground and in the distance an unobscured view across eastern Killingly and beyond into Rhode Island.
    Degree of Difficulty: Moderate
    Approximate Length: 2 miles
    Things to do in the area: www.ctvisit.com/listings/old-furnace-state-park
     
  6. State Park or Forest:  Moosup Valley State Park Trail, Route 14, Plainfield & Sterling
    Trail Name:  Moosup Valley State Park Trail
    Map: CT Rail Trail Explorer: Interactive map and planning tool for our State Park Rail Trails. Moosup Valley Trail
    Parking Area: Route 14 / Main Street, Plainfield
    Photo Locations:  East Coast Greenway Sign in parking area and photo of Moosup River from bridge (as indicated on map).
    Suggestions:  This 5.8 mile linear trail encompasses 62 acres as it stretches across two eastern Connecticut towns. Though it passes through predominantly woodlands, the eastern section parallels the Moosup River for approximately one mile. This level former rail bed has the Connecticut/Rhode Island (RI) boundary as its eastern State Park terminus but continues east from there as RI's Trestle Trail.
    Degree of Difficulty: Easy
    Approximate Length: 3 miles (up and back, from parking to photo location)
    Things to do in the area: www.ctvisit.com/listings/allen-hill-farm
  7. State Park or Forest:  Paugussett State Forest, Lower Block, Great Quarter Road, Newtown
    Trail Name:  Zoar Trail / Blue
    Map:  Paugussett State Forest, Lower Block
    Parking Area: Trailhead - From the junction of Route 34 and Route 111 in Monroe, proceed west on Route 34 for 0.1 mile and turn right on Great Quarter Road. Follow this road to the end (1.4 miles) and park at the trailhead.
    Photo Locations:  Sign at entrance and Prydden Falls as seen on map
    Suggestions:  The terrain is challenging in some areas and steep.  Trail markings a little difficult to see so remember to bring your map.  
    Degree of Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous. 
    Approximate Length: 4 miles (out and back on same trail, longer if take the loop)
    Things to do in the area: Kellogg Environmental Center and Osborne Homestead Museum, 500 Hawthorne Ave., Derby
     
  8. State Park or Forest:  River Highlands State Park, Field Rd., Cromwell
    Trail Name:  White Trail
    Parking Area: Field Road, Cromwell on left shortly after cross over railroad tracks.
    Photo Locations:  Kiosk in parking lot and scenic view of CT River as indicated on map
    Suggestions:  Although it is only one mile out and back on the white trail recommend checking out the campsite and making your way back on the yellow and green trail.  Beautiful view of the CT River. 
    Degree of Difficulty: Moderate
    Approximate Length: 1 to 1.5 miles
    Things to do in the area: www.ctvisit.com/listings/river-highlands-state-park.

      {River}
  9. State Park or Forest:  Farm River State Park, East Haven
    Trail Name:  Farm River State Park Nature Trail
    Map: Farm River State Park
    Parking Area: North Entrance of Farm River State Park, Route 142 (now Short Beach Rd.) between Fairview Avenue and Stone Pillar Road, East Haven, CT
    Photo Locations:  Entrance sign and scenic view on nature trail as indicated on map
    Suggestions:  Download a copy of the Self-Guided Nature Trail in Farm River State Park
    The Self-Guided Nature Trail is reached by walking the ¼ mile park access trail. This trail leaves from the parking area of the North Entrance of Farm River State Park, located on Route 142 in East Haven. The Self-Guided Nature Trail begins where the park access trail joins the Brown Access Road. At this point, turn to the right and follow the Brown Access Road to its junction with the Wheaton Access Road. Follow the Wheaton Access Road for approximately 200 feet as it curves to the left. Look for the turn blaze (an arrow) on the right that marks the turn to the right. This leads you to the first point of interest.
    Degree of Difficulty: Easy, but some of the overviews end in a steep cliff so be careful!
    Approximate Length: 1 mile
    Things to do in the area: www.ctvisit.com/listings/town-east-haven
  10. State Park or Forest:  Machimoodus State Park, 128 Leesville Rd., Moodus
    Trail Name:  Upper Vista Trail & Lower Vista Trail
    Map: Machimoodus
    Parking Area: Parking lot at 128 Leesville Rd.
    Photo Locations:  Shield sign at entrance and at scenic view as indicated on the map.  As of 7/31/18, shield sign is being replaced, please take photo at large rock, at park entrance.
    Suggestions:  Mount Tom is Machimoodus’s high point at 314 feet above sea level. The old roads and trails that lead to its southern slope feature two lookout points. Both of these provide visitors access to picturesque and scenic vistas of the mouths of the Salmon and Moodus Rivers, along with overviews of the Salmon River Cove and the Connecticut River.
    Degree of Difficulty: Moderate
    Approximate Length: 2 miles
    Things to do in the area: www.ctvisit.com/listings/sunrise-resort-state-park
  11. State Park or Forest:  Hopeville Pond State Park, 929 Hopeville Rd. (Rt. 201), Griswold
    Trail Name:  Nehantic Blue Blazed Trail
    Parking Area: Parking lot at Hopeville Pond State Park, trailhead is across the road from Hopeville Pond Beach
    Photo Locations:  Hopeville shield sign at entrance and small waterfall on trail. Waterfall is located only about 15 minutes in.  Hike goes to Breakneck Hill Rd. 
    Suggestions:  Hopeville Beach parking lot to Breakneck Hill Road in Pachaug.  Traffic goes fast on Rt. 201, look both ways when crossing.  Also, be advised there might be some forest management occurring in the area. 
    Degree of Difficulty: Easy to moderate
    Approximate Length: 5 miles round trip
    Things to do in the area: www.ctvisit.com/listings/hopeville-pond-state-park-campground

    {Waterfall}   {Sign}   {Sign}
     
  12. State Park or Forest:  Sunnybrook State Park, Newfield Road, Torrington
    Trail Name:  Blue & Yellow Trail
    Map:  Sunnybrook State Park
    Parking Area: Newfield Rd., Torrington
    Photo Locations: Kiosk in the parking area and bridge on yellow trail.
    Suggestions:  At certain times of the year the main trail from the parking lot is impassable due to flooding. 
    Degree of Difficulty: Easy
    Approximate Length: 2 milesThings to do in the area: www.ctvisit.com/listings/sunnybrook-state-park

    {Kiosk}   {Bridge}
  13. State Park or Forest:  Day Pond State Park, Day Pond Rd., Colchester
    Trail Name:  Salmon River Trail (Blue to Blue/Red Spur)
    Map: Day Pond State Park
    Parking Area: Gates open on 3rd Saturday in April. They close for the season after Columbus Day weekend. Off season parking is available along Day Pond Rd., and on either side of the front gate.
    Photo Locations:  Shield sign and waterfall
    Suggestions:  Great place to go fishing!  It is stocked with trout. 
    Degree of Difficulty:  Moderate
    Approximate Length: 3 miles
    Things to do in the area: www.ctvisit.com/listings/day-pond-state-park
     
    {Sign at Day Pond State Park}
     
  14. State Park or Forest:  George Dudley Seymour State Park, Clarkhurst Road, Haddam
    Trail Name:  Road to Unblazed Trail
    Map: George Dudley Seymour State Park
    Parking Area: Follow to end of Clarkhurst. Park on gravel on left side of road. Enter the park on foot by crossing the abandoned bridge that is blocked by cement barriers. Follow the old paved road downhill into the park property.  Very small area for parking, please respect local homeowners. 
    Photo Locations:  Bridge and ruins
    Suggestions:  A trail leading from the end of Clarkhurst Road leads past old foundations to a broad, grassy, Connecticut River tidal flat.  Hunting is allowed in this area.  Please refer to the Hunting and Trapping Guide for season dates.
    Degree of Difficulty: Easy to moderate
    Approximate Length: 1.5 miles to scenic overlook (3 miles total), ½ mile to foundation
    Things to do in the area: www.ctvisit.com/listings/town-haddam
     
    {Ruins at George Dudley Seymour State Park}
 
Content last updated July 31, 2018