A 14-Mile Hike Through Four Towns With Few Hints Of Civilization

Connecticut’s newly opened Richard H. Goodwin Trail travels 14 miles from an old farm in East Haddam into Salem and Lyme to a lonely lake in East Lyme. During that distance, the path remains in field and forest with only a few hints of civilization. It crosses a road to civilization only four times. Four times. How is that even possible in the 21st century near the heavily developed shoreline?

The trail, which was officially opened in June, 2016, was the creation of the Eightmile River Wild & Scenic Watershed Coordinating Committee. The trail crosses land trust preserves, town-owned open spaces, state wildlife management areas and a property owned by Yale University. It was basically a matter of looking at a map, seeing all the open space and connecting them with a trail.

Sure, it’s great to hike several miles of trails within a 70-acre nature preserve. But there is beauty in connecting a preserve to town- and state-owned land and sprinkle in permission to cross private land and travel for miles and miles in one of the country’s most densely populated states. It’s what the Connecticut Forest and Park Association has been doing since 1929 with its 825-mile Blue-Blazed Trail network.

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