Enders State Forest in Connecticut Is Perfect for Hiking

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Mom and daughter hiking in Enders State Forest
Shot of a teen girl and her mom taking a selfie with digital photo camera during walk together through the forest in autumn.

Lace up your boots and head out for a hike to experience Enders State Forest. Luckily, no matter your age or physical condition, you’ll have plenty of great opportunities to do just that. Today, we’ll share with you how you can experience the allure of this beautiful forest. Let’s get started.

Where Is Enders State Forest?

Enders State Forest lies in northern Connecticut. It’s approximately 25 miles northwest of the state’s capital, Hartford, and 5 miles south of its border with Massachusetts. If you plan a trip to New England, build some time into your itinerary to experience Enders State Forest.

About Enders State Forest

In 1970, John and Harriet Enders deeded 1,500 acres of land to the State of Connecticut. The park continued to grow due to another donation and a later state purchase. The park has increased to its present size of 2,105 acres. 

Despite having a maximum elevation of 1,100 feet and a minimum elevation of 900 feet, the park features many hills and valleys.

The rather hilly terrain makes the park home to several waterfalls that have become popular swimming holes during the summer. However, they can be very dangerous.

When John and Harriet Enders deeded the land, the state agreed to the couple’s request that it would have a hunting restriction. This was because of the proximity to the 4,200-acre McLean Game Refuge.

However, while you can’t hunt on most of the forest land, it has a limited amount of hunting available in the newer sections of the park that weren’t a part of the original purchase.

Traveler’s Tip: Enjoy hiking to these 10 Waterfalls in Connecticut That You Need to See.

Kids hiking and bird watching in Enders State Forest

Best Hiking Trails in Enders State Forest

Grab your walking stick and hiking boots and hit the trails of Enders State Forest. If you want to experience the incredible beauty of this state park, the trails give you the best opportunity. Let’s look at which one might work best for you.

Fox Road Trail

Length: 4.4 miles 

Difficulty: Moderate

Rating: 3.5/5.0

About: Fox Road Trail is a 4.4-mile out-and-back trail that’s great for hiking, running, and walking. It’s one of the lesser-used paths in the area and provides a lot of privacy and solitude. 

Use the All Trails app to help you stay on the right path, as certain sections could benefit from some trail markers. Have some quality hiking boots if you hike during wet conditions. Portions of the trail can become muddy and buggy.

Indian Council Caves Trail

Length: 4.9 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Rating: 4.2/5.0

About: Indian Council Caves Trail is a 4.9-mile out-and-back trail with moderate difficulty. The best time to hike this trail is between March and October. But if you can time it right, you can enjoy the fall foliage and an opportunity to do some birding. 

The caves provide a great opportunity to enjoy some natural air conditioning if you climb inside for a bit. Make sure you bring bug spray and check yourself and your pets for ticks at the end.

Tunxis Trail

Length: 34 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Rating: 3.9/5.0

About: You don’t have to do the full 34 miles, but this is a popular hike for those who want to enjoy some peace and quiet. Portions of the trail can get very steep, so plan to hike this route from May through October. 

Look out for snakes and bears along the way. You can carry bear spray just in case. This trail can be rather strenuous in certain sections, so adjust your hiking plans accordingly.

Enders Brook Falls

Length: 1.0 mile

Difficulty: Easy

Rating: 4.3/5.0

About: If you want a hike that anyone in your group can do, try Enders Brooks Falls. As this is a popular out-and-back trail, you won’t have to worry about your safety or hiking alone. You’ll likely have plenty of people on the trail with you. 

Visit any time between April and October for the best experience. And bring your four-legged friends, but keep them on a leash and clean up after them. Plan your hike after a rainfall to see the falls in all their glory.

Man hiking with dog in Enders State Forest

Traveler’s Tip: While exploring Connecticut head to these 5 Creepy Abandoned Place in Connecticut.

Places to Camp Near Enders State Forest

You’ll need a place to stay if you want to spend a few days or more exploring Enders State Forest. Here are a few places you might want to consider making a reservation to camp while in the area.

White Pines Campsites

Address: 232 Old North Rd, Barkhamsted, CT 06063

About: White Pines Campsites sits atop a hill in a quiet section of Barkhamsted. The park offers its Happy Tails Trail to ensure you and your pup get in a walk or two during your stay. You also have opportunities for fishing in the stocked pond or the world-class Farmington River. 

Guests of all ages will have no problem finding something to do when you stay here. It has volleyball, a GaGa Ball pit, horseshoes, and many other activities planned throughout the year. 

Amenities include a laundry facility, multi-purpose room, and an in-ground pool, among many others. Whether you plan to stay in a tent, RV, or rent one of their cabins, you can enjoy your visit to the Enders State Forest.

American Legion State Forest

Address: Barkhamsted, CT 06063

About: In American Legion State Forest, you’ll find 30 sites set in a densely wooded forest. Camping season here runs from mid-April until Columbus Day. 

The area has miles of trails that can provide adventures all year. You have plenty of opportunities to fish, canoe, kayak, and tube by heading down to the Farmington River. 

The terrain can be steep, rocky, and hilly throughout the campground’s forests. The park started as a way for the American Legion to demonstrate proper forest management.

Southwick Acres Campground

Address: 256 College Hwy, Southwick, MA 01077

About: Southwick Acres Campground is one of the quietest and coziest parks in the area. Whether you want to stay for a night, a week, or a couple of months, you’ll feel at home at this campground. 

The park has a community-centric feel and offers horseshoes on Friday nights and bingo and bocce ball on Saturdays. Take a dip in the park’s pool and enjoy getting to know your fellow campers. 

It is an adult campground, but if you’re a couple traveling without kids, this could be an excellent place to stay.

Are Pets Allowed in Enders State Forest?

Pets are allowed in Enders State Forest. However, they must remain on a leash, and the owner is responsible for cleaning up after them.

If hiking on a trail, keep your dog close, especially when passing others. Be a responsible pet owner and understand that others may have fears or anxiety when encountering unfamiliar dogs.

Hit the Trails in Enders State Forest

Now that you know where to stay and where to hike, lace up those hiking boots and hit the trails. You’ll have an incredible experience and see some beautiful landscapes in Enders State Forest.

Fall is an incredible time to visit as you can walk through the thick vegetation and colorful trees as the leaves change colors. It’s a gorgeous area that we think you’ll have an incredible time exploring.

Will you be hitting the trails in Enders State Forest?

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