Kent Falls State Park is the gateway to hiking in Connecticut’s scenic Northwest corner where private and public efforts have preserved much of the hilly terrain for recreational hiking, including a section of the Appalachian Trail.
The state park, located about five miles north of the Village of Kent on Route 7, is an excellent choice for hikers. A quarter-mile trail winds up the hill beside Kent Falls, for which the park is named. The hike is steep, but short. The wide, handicapped accessible trail has numerous overlooks where visitors can pause to rest and enjoy the view. They can watch the waters of Fall River cascade down the 70-foot high escarpment on its way join the Housatonic River.
The trail at Kent Falls will wet your appetite for hiking. Day hikers and backpacker need only travel a few miles in any direction from the state park to find a range of trails and terrain to challenge their skills.
Bulls Bridge is a popular destination. It is Located about one mile south of Kent on Route 7. Turn right to cross the covered bridge. Remember this is a single lane wooden bridge. Yield to traffic approaching from the opposite direction. Just beyond the bridge is a small unpaved parking area. From this location hikers can stroll along the Housatonic River and enjoy the rush of water as several streams plunge over rocks to flow into the river.
From the Bulls Bridge parking area, hikers can cross the road and make their way to the top of Ten Mile Hill. This trail includes a portion of the Appalachian Trail. The path hugs the river bank and offers clear views of the waterway. A steel bridge carries the trail over the Ten Mill River at its juncture with the Housatonic.
The River Walk can be accessed from the center of Kent. Follow Route 341 west for about one-half mile. Turn right onto Skiff Mountain Road. Follow the narrow pavement for about a mile. Turn right onto a dirt road. Park at the end of the road to access the River Walk. This hike meanders along the Housatonic River for about five miles. The terrain is an easy to moderate hike that offers river views and wildlife. Sightings of blue herons, otters, and deer may be waiting around the next bend or at the top of the next hill.
St John’s Cliffs can also be accessed from this dirt road. The Cliffs, part of the Appalachian Trail, provide the most challenging rock climbing opportunities in Connecticut and should be left to experienced rock climbers. For many, the Cliffs also mark the jump-off point for hiking the Appalachian Trail.