The Surprising US State That Has The Best Hiking In The Country

Spending time immersed in nature is good for the soul. Being amongst trees and streams can be a refreshing experience that takes us out of the mundane routines and tasks of the day to day. It can help us clear our minds, or even reflect on our lives. The time spent admiring the earth can be meaningful as well as beautiful. Those who enjoy hiking understand this on a deep level.

Connecting with nature comes with physical and mental benefits as well. Improved mood and decreased stress levels are only the beginning of the list.

"You can boost your mood just by walking in nature ..." Lisa Nisbit, PhD, psychologist at Trent University, told the American Psychology Association. "And the sense of connection you have with the natural world seems to contribute to happiness even when you're not physically immersed in nature."

One effective and exciting way to enjoy the great outdoors is going on a hike. Connecticut, according to the Why this Place travel guide, is the best state for doing just that.

Why Connecticut is the best state for hiking

Connecticut might not have been the place you pictured when thinking of the best spot to hike. The small, unassuming state turns out to be a hidden gem for hikers with spectacular hikes to choose from. Why this Place believes its worthy of the title for multiple reasons. They considered factors such as how much of the state was a state or national park, the number of hiking trails, how many waterfalls there are in proportion to the state's size, and average temperature.

Connecticut has over 1400 trails per 1000 square miles and 30 waterfalls per 1000 square miles — making it a scenic spot that offers plenty of variety. Whether you're looking for a trail that's beginner-friendly, or something that's challenging, multiple options wait for you. Regardless of what you choose, it's sure to be scenic.

Additionally, Connecticut is a state that goes through all four seasons. The views change with each one. Summits reveal long stretches of hills and trees that are either lush and green, vibrant with hues resembling the sunset, or brown and bare — depending on what time of year you go.

Hiking and more

If you're looking to extend your stay in the great outdoors, Connecticut offers a variety of camping options. Pitch a tent or park an RV along the shore of a lake or somewhere deep in the woods. Wherever you decide to spend the night, there's certainly a spot for you at one of the state's 1400 campsites. You also have the option to stay in a cabin, hotel or resort if camping isn't your first choice. The state, after all, is one of the most charming places to stay in New England

As for things to do in addition to hiking, you have numerous opportunities. Water sports such as kayaking or canoeing make for lovely options. Birdwatching, rock climbing (both indoor and outdoor), geocaching, and stargazing are more ways to spend time immersed in nature after exploring the trails.

Take advantage of the many trails Connecticut has to offer by visiting for yourself. Reap the health benefits while exploring the best hiking trails in the country. "As a society, we're in challenging, chaotic, confusing times, but I haven't faced anything yet that a quiet hike in our woods can't fix," trail landowner Diane Crocker told the Connecticut Forest and Park Association. "You never know what a hike will deliver, whether it's a bird you never saw before, a cool snake, or the first hopeful sign of spring after a long, cold winter."