Craig C. on Pine Acres Lake
didn't make it very far in. the deer Flys were nasty. going back another time
Make sure you look at a map before you start your hike. There are a lot of different ways to get to the "island". The hike out to the island and back is quite a ways, my Fitbit said 5.9 miles total. This was a lot further than we anticipated. There were a lot of snakes around the marshy area leading up to the island platform. The parking lot is small and I am sure it fills up in the summer time. These trails would be great to bike on, they are very flat and wide.
This well marked picturesque hike featured woodlands and marshes, and ponds. The trails are speckled with kiosks denoting your current location. This is a great feature for hikers that failed to bring a map. Like other reviewers mentioned, we parked off of Potter Road and followed several trails that took us up and around Pine Acres Pond and then around Brown Hill Marsh before completing the loop and getting back to the car. Governor's Island featured an observation platform that we enjoyed a picnic lunch on. I would rate the trails as easy to hike and easy to follow. Some of these hiking trails are shared with horses so you have to be alert at all times as to where you are stepping. This is quite annoying as your attention is drawn away from the scenery, and wildlife and refocused on avoiding these droppings. We did this hike in early March and look forward to returning again when the leaves are out and the wildlife more active. The kiosk near the Potter Street Parking lot has some maps (black and white). This is good except it's hard to tell the difference when the trails are color coded. I recommend going to http ://www.ct.gov/deep/lib/deep/education/goodwin/goodwintrailsmap.pdf and printing out your own map.
I've been hiking in the Goodwin State Forest for years now, and it boasts one of the largest trail systems in eastern Connecticut. Unlike the smaller Audubon refuges nearby, this state forest features a large man-made lake and long unbroken stretches of mixed woodlands.
The trails are well-marked by blazes and crisscrossed by paved roads. There are also a number of kiosks peppered around the park in case you find yourself lost. There's not much elevation change, but some trails are very rocky, particularly the blue/white trail on the eastern edge of Pine Acres Lake. Wear sturdy hiking shoes or sneakers that you don't mind getting wet -- the blue and red trails can get very muddy in springtime.
Goodwin is a hotbed for dozens of species of birds, and you're likely to see any number of waterfowl, songbirds, corvids, and woodpeckers in the woods and on the water. Definitely pack a pair of binoculars. My favorite spot for birdwatching is Governor's Island at the end of the red trail on Pine Acres Lake.
There are three parking areas, so plan ahead before you arrive and park at the one closest to the places you want to see. There are long stretches of trail that can get tedious unless you're out there to burn calories.
For my full write-up and recommendations, check out the Unarmed Hunting blog.