Trail Length: 4.6 miles
Allowed Uses: Hiking Only
Partners: Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (CT DEEP)
The Nayantaquit Trail (named after a native tribe that once inhabited the area) is in the western section of Nehantic State Forest. It consists of a single loop bisected by the Crossover Trail with a connector trail leading to the Uncas Pond picnic area. There are many stone walls and stream crossings along the trail, and an old homestead area on Brown Hill. On clear days, the steep ascent to the ledge-rock summit of Nickerson Hill allows distant views of Long Island Sound and beyond.
The Nehantic State Forest has been actively managed by CT DEEP since 1993. State foresters have made efforts to create, evaluate, and maintain a wide variety of habitats in this forest complex close to the shoreline. Much of the predominantly white oak and hickory forest has been selectively cut, certain places clear-cut to create openings for woodcock, and other areas burned to maintain an open understory. There are dense stands of pine and hemlock, rocky ledges, and a wonderful wetlands complex that connects several ponds and lakes. This forest is considered a birding “hot spot” for spring migrants. Species you may see or hear along this trail include black-throated blue warbler, pine warbler, ruffed grouse, scarlet tanager, ovenbird, wood thrush, chestnut-sided warbler, redstart, black-billed cuckoo, coopers hawk, blue-winged warbler, and wild turkeys.