I've got another quick and easy explore to add to the list -- Newgate Wildlife Management Area in East Granby, CT. This property surrounds the Old Newgate Prison & Copper Mine, so once museums reopen to the public you can easily make a day of it and add a historical bent to the trip by purchasing tickets to the historical attraction; however, you do NOT need to purchase any admission to explore the trails surrounding the property. This is a FREE hiking area -- although the hiking description is generous. The trails are not maintained and while you can get a little ways into the woods, we could not discover any legit hike through points. It was all explore and turn around. But, still, worth the trip.
There are two entries to the trails -- we took the one just south of the Newgate property. It's a fun space to clamor around and explore some cool rocks and trees. The memorable feature of this spot is the land immediately surrounding the historic prison. You can check out a few of the museum's accessories as you head from the parking lot to the wide trail:
There are lots of fun photo ops here -- I'm sure they'll only improve with foliage season. If you plan to visit this space near sunset you will NOT be disappointed. There are a few good picnic spots too. I'd recommend making an evening of it and pack a dinner to eat in this beautiful space. As you can see there are some open spaces where kids can run around and play.
These trails are NOT stroller friendly -- bring a carrier or hike with big kids only. This can be a quick visit to break up a day. I wouldn't plan for more than an hour here. There is plenty of free parking on site -- easy in, easy out. Set the GPS for 115 Newgate Road in East Granby, CT -- the trail shares parking with the museum parking lot. Look for the Newgate sign.
*Once museums are back open, if you want to extend your day, purchase admission tickets to explore the Old Newgate Prison & Copper Mine. You can work in a little sneaky learning for the very affordable admission price of $6/adults and FREE for kids ages 12 and under. History nerds will rejoice. Read my review here.