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National Parks in Connecticut: Explore the 2 Connecticut National Parks (2022 Update)

Post summary: National Parks in Connecticut

Connecticut is the southernmost state in New England. This small state is part of the tri-state area and is named for the Connecticut River. The word “Connecticut” comes from the Mohegan-Pequot word for “long tidal river.” The state is sometimes known as the Constitution State for its pivotal role in the development of the US Constitution. The state is one of the original Thirteen Colonies and has a strong maritime history.

In this article, we will explore the 2 National Parks in Connecticut. We will provide a brief overview of the park, things to do in the Connecticut National Parks, and provide a map of the National Parks of Connecticut.

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    Looking to explore the National Parks of Connecticut?  Click HERE to learn more about the amazing Connecticut National Parks and for help planning your visit.

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    Map of National Parks in Connecticut

    Connecticut National Parks

    Connecticut is part of the Northeast Region.

    Appalachian National Scenic Trail

    Depending on where you are from, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail either starts in Mount Katahdin, Maine and ends in Springer Mountain, Georgia, or starts in Springer Mountain, Georgia, and ends in Katahdin, Maine. The Appalachian Trail is 2,181 miles long and passes through 14 states (Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine).

    There are 51.6 miles of trail in the state of Connecticut.  This section of trail runs along the western ridges of Housatonic River Valley.  The trail will climb to the summit of the 2,326 ft high Bear Mountain before entering Massachusetts.

    Every year several thousand people attempt to thru-hike the trail.  Tens of thousands of people will hike sections of the trail each year.  The trail was officially completed in 1937 but the improvement has been ongoing since then.  The trail is maintained by 31 different trail clubs and other partnerships.

    Things to do: Hiking, Wildlife Viewing, Scenic Views

    How to get there: There are multiple access points along the trail. Many of which are driveable.

    Where to Stay: Along the trail, there are numerous shelters and backcountry campgrounds. Hotels are available in towns along the trail.

    Entrance Fee: There is no entrance fee for the Appalachian Trail but the trail passes through numerous state and national parks, forests, and public lands which may charge an entrance fee or have overnight permit fees.

    Official Website: Click Here

    Map: Download

    A mountain lake with a hill in the fall

    Weir Farm National Historical Park

    Weir Farm National Historical Park is located in Wilton and Ridgefield, Connecticut.  The site was a rural retreat for Julian Alden Weir.  Weir was an American Impressionist in the late 1800s.  He purchased the farm for $10 and a painting.  Here Weir painted the surrounding landscapes and hosted a large selection of famed artists.  After Weir’s death, his daughter Dorothy and her sculptor husband Mahonri Young added an art studio.

    In 1990, the 60 acres of the farm was acquired by the National Park Service and is one of two NPS sites dedicated to visual artists.  The other is Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park in New Hampshire.

    The site maintains a summer artist-in-residence program where professional artists are invited to stay for a month and create art as Weir did.  The park runs a summer “Take Part in Art” Program where park guests are encouraged to create art while visiting.  You are welcome to bring your own supplies or borrow a set from the Visitor Center. Colored pencils, pastels, and paper are offered from Wednesday to Sunday, and watercolor paints are available on Saturdays and Sundays from May to October.

    Things to do: Boating, camping, fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing

    How to get there: Weir Farm is located at 735 Nod Hill Road, Wilton, CT 06897. The park is off Route 7.

    Where to Stay: There are plenty of lodging options in West Redding.

    Entrance Fee: Free

    Official Website: Click Here

    Map: Download

    A red house and buildings behind a stone wall and some trees.
    National Park Service Photo

    Affiliate Sites of Connecticut

    New England National Scenic Trail

    The New England National Scenic Trail is a 215-mile trail from Long Island Sound across the mountain ridges of Connecticut and Massachusetts.  Approximately 115 miles of the trail is located in Connecticut. The trail is made of parts of the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail, Mattabesett Trail, and the Metacomet Trail.  The New England trail is sometimes called the Triple M Trail. The trail starts at 0 ft in elevation and will reach its highest point at the summit of Mount Grace at 1,617 ft.

    The New England National Scenic Trail is administered by the National Park Service and managed by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association and Appalachian Mountain Club.  The trail was officially designated in 2009.

    Things to do: Hiking, Rock Climbing

    How to get there: There are multiple access points along the trail. Many of which are easily accessible from the road system.

    Where to Stay: There are designated campsites along the trail. There are plenty of hotels

    Entrance Fee: Free but some overnight sites have a suggested donation.

    Official Website: Click Here

    Map: Download

    A hiker checks his map at an overlook
    By EricshawwhiteOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

    The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor

    On a drive from Washington DC, to Boston, Massachusetts, you will see lots of buildings and towns.  That is until you get into the northeast corner of Connecticut.  This area is known as The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor.  This 1,100 square mile area is 77% rolling New England upland intermixed with coastal forests.  Much of the area is split between farmland, state forests and a wildlife sanctuary.  The region has the darkest skies between Boston and DC making for decent star gazing.

    The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor was created in the 1980s to help stem the over the development of the land.  Today the area includes sites such as the Edward Waldo House, Clara Barton Birthplace Museum, and the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum.

    Things to do:

    How to get there:

    Where to Stay:

    Entrance Fee: Free

    Official Website: Click Here

    Map: Download

    A train car
    Photo Credit – JJBers CC BY 2.0

    Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail

    Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail is a 680-mile long Historical Trail.  The trail is sometimes known as the Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route.  The route follows the road used by George Washington’s Continental Army and Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau’s Expédition Particulière took on their way from Newport, Rode Island to Yorktown, Virginia. Yorktown was the final battle of the American Revolutionary War.

    Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail is primary an auto trail.  While the route forces on the march to Yorktown, the trail passes thru or near many other important revolutionary war sites. Rhode Island sites include the Joy Homestead.

    Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail passes through Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Washington D.C, and Virginia.

    Things to do: Auto touring, bicycling, walking, historical tours, guided tours, museums

    How to get there: There are major airports all along the route.

    Where to Stay: The trail follows major highways and lodging is located along the route.

    Entrance Fee: Free, but some of the federal, state, and privately managed buildings along the trail may have an entrance fee.

    Official Website: Click Here

    Map: Download

    A red two story building.
    By DaderotOwn work, Public Domain, Link

    List of National Parks in Connecticut

    There are 8 National Parks in Connecticut and they received 25,430 visitors in 2020 and generated over 2 million in tourism economic benefits.

    • Appalachian National Scenic Trail (CT, GA, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, VT, WV)
    • Weir Farm National Historical Park

    Affiliated Areas

    • New England National Scenic Trail (CT, MA)
    • The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor (CT, MA)
    • Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail (CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA)

    Connecticut National Parks also provides support and management to 1 other National Heritage Area, 4 Wild & Scenic Rivers, as well as 1,637 National Register of Historic Places Listings.

    There are 63 National Historic Landmarks, 8 National Natural Landmarks, 669 Places recorded by the Heritage Documentation Program, and over 315,000 objects in the Connecticut National Parks Museum Collections. There are 20 Archaeological Sites in the Connecticut National Parks.

    Connecticut is home to 139 State Parks.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Connecticut National Parks

    How many national parks are in Connecticut?

    No, Connecticut does not have any National Park Service sites holding the designation “National Park.” While it doesn’t have an official National Park, it does have 2 National Park Service Units – Appalachian National Scenic Trail and Weir Farm National Historical Park.

    At some point in the near future, Connecticut will be getting a third national park – Coltsville National Historical Park. This unit was authorized on December 19, 2014, and is in the process of land acquisition.

    >>> Learn more about the different NPS designations.

    What are the 2 national parks in Connecticut?

    The two national parks in Connecticut is Appalachian National Scenic Trail and Weir Farm National Historical Park.

    Connecticut’s Neighboring States

    Planning to visit a few of the National Parks in Connecticut and wondering about what national parks are in neighboring states. Here are the list of National Parks in surrounding states.

    Check out this great list of the 63 National Parks and get a FREE National Park Checklist. Count how many National Parks you have visited.

    Final Thoughts on the National Parks of Connecticut

    I hope this guide to the National Parks of Connecticut is helpful as you plan to explore these amazing National Parks.

    Pin for Later: National Parks in Connecticut: Explore the 2 Connecticut National Parks (2021 Update)

    Looking to explore the National Parks of Connecticut?  Click HERE to learn more about the amazing Connecticut National Parks and for help planning your visit.

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