If there's one way to make your offspring adore you even more than they already do, convince them to join you on a hiking trail on a raw December morning in a thick fog. I mean, hiking in a cold, dense fog -- it there anything better? Not during a global pandemic there's not. Try it and I'll bet you'll make memories most families can only dream of.
Deep sarcasm aside, The Spencer Woods Wildlife Preserve in Suffield, CT is a perfectly maintained trail just over the border. TBH there's not much to report here except an easy family hike that covers a small portion of the New England Trail. So if you're trying to knock off the whole NET like we are, you can count this jaunt toward your total. Also, there's no such thing as a bad day in the woods irregardless of how much grumbling and whining must be endured.
You can park in one of the pull-offs at the intersection of Mountain Road and Phelps Road -- there are several to choose from. The blue blazes that greet you at the trail head are a sure sign that you're on the M-M (Metacomet-Monadonock Trail) AKA The NET (New England Trail). If you're seeking a quad workout or need to commit to a leg day -- head here. The trail starts with a few switchbacks on a steep hill but because the trail is incredibly well maintained it's easy to navigate. Eventually the climb evens out and you'll hike for a while along the ridge before the trail descends again.
There's nothing too exciting here except that Spencer Woods is one of the best maintained trails we've ever had the pleasure to visit. This is for sure the best marked section of the NET that we've been on yet. Spencer Woods is part of the Suffield Land Conservancy so kudos and gratitude to them for maintaining this space. It may be steep to start but it is an easy hike. You'll need a carrier for a little one. I wouldn't recommend this hike for any independent hikers under age six. I don't think anyone under six-ish could manage the steep descent back to the parking spot (two hikers in our party slipped and fell on the way back down. One of us did not. I won't mention any names but I am trying not to gloat). This hike is best suited for ages six and up. There are no facilities on the trail. We did not find anything remarkable besides trees, rocks, and leaves but I have heard that there is a large chimney to be discovered along the trail somewhere.
Also, this trail is pretty busy. Even on a foggy, raw, glum morning we encountered several other hikers on the trail. Be prepared to social distance and have your mask ready if you visit here. Technically, this is the Peak and West Suffield Mountains Section of the NET -- 4.9 miles through but we just popped in and out for a quick 45-minute explore.
And in the end, despite all the griping, both offspring asked if we could come back someday and one even uttered the phrase "that was fun." I hope you have as much success with your kids on your next hiking adventure. See you on the trail! #hikingwithkids