The Northeast may be overlooked by some larger, more glamorous natural wonders of the world. But when its peak foliage season, the Northeast has its moment too. Here is one of the best hikes for fall foliage in CT: Macedonia Brook State Park.
My love for hiking began in Norway when I was hiking Aurlandsfjord. New England’s landscapes and hikes might not be as versatile as the alps, dramatic as Yosemite, breathtaking as the fjords, or stark as the Ourika Valley, but they do have one thing going for them–fall foliage. Fall foliage is a unique phenomenon that gives the simple nature landscape of a Northeast, that has a hard time competing with the other wonders of the world, a glorious moment in the limelight. If you plan it right, you can plan a fall foliage weekend getaway from NYC and visit any of the neighboring states for an unforgettable experience. When it comes to the best hike for fall foliage in CT, Macedonia Brook State Park is one for the books.
First Scenic View
After spending roughly an hour exploring the town of Kent and grabbing a bite to eat to fuel up before hiking, we made our way to Macedonia Brook State Park. The goal was to do the entire 6.8 mile blue trail Brook Loop, that includes Ridge Trail, and reaches the top of Cobble Mountain alongside other peaks. We parked our car at the first parking spot at the end of Brook Road. My recommendation is to get there early since there are limited parking spots. We started off the left and did the trail clockwise. Within 20 minutes of hiking to the top you reach your first scenic view, this the first of many.
Second Scenic View
The second scenic view is a bit higher up and gives more of a birds eye view perspective of Macedonia State Park and Litchfield Valley below. What made this one of the best hikes for fall foliage in CT was stepping on layers and layers of red and orange leaves with Litchfield Valley behind my shoulders. Luckily the blue markers on the trees are frequent and prominent or we would have lost our path quite fast.
Third Scenic View: Cobble Mountain
The highest point on this trail is Cobble Mountain. It’s quite evident when you get to Cobble Mountain because of the large boulders facing the Taconic Range. This is one of the reasons Macedonia Brook State Park is considered one of the best hikes for fall foliage in CT. We stopped here for a quick break and some water before proceeding. We didn’t expect what was to come…going back down Cobble Mountain was a bit harder than going up. The below picture doesn’t give it justice, but you need to carefully jump down those big rocks and boulders in order to get down to flat terrain. It doesn’t last for long, maybe 100 yards or so, but it’s tough. Since we were hiking clockwise, we were going down it, which I think is easier than hiking up it.
Walk to Hilltop Pond
Ridge Trail ends and is interrupted by a walk back on ground level. Patrick was convinced we had finished all 6.8 miles of Brook Loop blue trail. In an hour and a half? Pat that would be record time…When I looked around I realized that some of the trees had blue markers leading us to the other end of Macedonia Brook State Park. We actually had to walk on ground level through beautiful yellow fall foliage leaves from one end of the valley to the other for about 10 minutes, before hiking back up the mountains on the other end to complete Brook Loop. It’s random, but that’s how the Brook Loop trail continues!
If you’re not looking to hike up anything, but still want to enjoy the fall foliage. Walk around Hilltop Pond.
The Back Half
This other side of the blue trail is flat and not very scenic. You’re mostly just walking through leaf carpeted floors, but there are no scenic overviews. It’s a great way to just get some exercise in, but not necessary in my opinion. If you choose not to finish Brook Loop, you’re other option is to just walk back to the parking lot following Ridge Trail. After all, in my opinion Ridge trail (which is this first half we did) is the most scenic of the two.
If we had to redo the hike, we would do it counterclockwise. Mainly because the sunset on the Macedonia Ridge Trail side, so it would’ve been beautiful to end the day watching the sunset on that side. The danger to that is that you may end up making your way back down in the dark. But it may be worth the risk. No matter which way you do it though, Macedonia Brook State Park and the neighboring town of Kent, CT make for one of the best hikes for fall foliage in CT. Trust me, it’s one for the books. For more on what to do in Kent, CT, see below.
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