Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve Trail is a 1.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Niantic, CT that features a lake. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking.
I found the trails very clearly marked, and the trail maps easy to follow. The total land area is not large, but it's well-maintained and makes good use of the space. I especially liked the bare rock areas--beautiful, and a bit creepy in a mild "Pet Sematary" kind of way. One of them features a small lawn bunny in white ceramic, missing its ears but presiding benignly over the rock. All in all, a great place to do a fair amount of hiking in a relatively small area, with excellent visuals!
Trail can loop to about 3.0-4.0 miles depending on the loop you choose to create. If crossing in the middle of the preserve there is steeper incline, not as easy to do with young children. I suggest parking by Veterans Field where there are typically more trail maps available, and if there are not, there is a picture of the trail maps that you can take a photo of on your phone. Trails are very well marked and there is a nice mix of terrain. A nice loop is to start at on the red trails along Clark Pond, to the blue and then to the yellow by the quarry. The quarry is a nice stopping point for a snack if hiking with kids. Hike back on the blue trail (to the green and back to the blue) for views of Clark Pond in the fall or winter, when the views are much better. Add a short loop on the green at the end if you want to stretch the hike to about 4 miles.
trail map write out isnt vary good with actual trail as on paper it looks alot smoother , the color codes isnt vary clear some parts of the trail you can end up off thw trail with out realizing it we ware going to just do the quick loop green trail that meet up with the blue trail there is no signs that informa us to head back to the main entry we ended up going deeper into the woods had to turn around and join up with the red trail after being on the red trail it meets up on a fork of both red trails pointing in two diffrent directions agin with no clue as too what direction leads back too main entry , at one point the blue trail has us scale a cliff its real steap like doing rock climbing and then abother time we ended up along power lines , over all it could be better mapped but the trails itself was good
The trail head is right off the main road, next to a baseball park. It's a relatively short loop hike, but nicely marked. It goes around a small pond. There are many large flat rocks that are part of the path. We passed a few people but it wasn't crowded at all. It was a nice spot for a little trail running or mountain biking. There is a small lookout point, but nothing too big. The trail has small up and downs, nothing strenuous, but enjoyable. You can also go to the newly renovated Niantic Boardwalk right down the street if you are in the area, and walk the little downtown area.
Started out the year by hiking the loop here on new years day. Moderate trail, not too difficult with only a few inclines. One specific area where one should be cautious due to loose rocks on a steep decline but other than that great trail for just about any level of hikers.
My teenage daughter I easily wandered around these very well marked trails on a somewhat rainy Sunday afternoon. The terrain was varied with some very steep areas, rocky to smooth trail beds and perhaps was hampered by the abundance of leaves that had fallen. Parts of the Red trail were swept free of any leaves and was very pedestrian friendly. The scenic overlooks were partially obscured by trees but glimpses of LI sound were visible and there were several other water features that were very pretty. Very low traffic on our day with only a handful of other hikers and one very well behaved and leashed dog. Several areas to park in around 3 separate trail heads, that I could find. We very much enjoyed our trip here.
This used to be my favorite trail when I lived in Southeastern CT, but recently it's become less enjoyable. Last time I tried to hike here, the parking lot was overrun with dogs, some of which weren't leashed and not friendly, and owners weren't taking control of their dogs. Additionally, there is only one entrance to the trail, so it was like hiking in single file for the first part of the trail.
That said, there is a lot more to the Hills if you can get up into the rocky parts, away from the technical 1.4 mile trail. I used to spend entire days out there hiking in and out of the glacial forms and along the Niantic River.
I'd like to give the Hills a higher rating because I love this place, but until it's less crowded, it's not worth the drive.