This summer we discovered Kent Falls State Park, only about 80 minutes from Westchester. I mentioned it in my recent roundup of Connecticut day trips, but this hike is worth a post all on its own. It’s great for all ages and such a lovely day trip, especially combined with a visit to the cute town of Kent, less than 10 minutes from the waterfall.
After parking your car in the lot ($15), the adventure begins at a small covered footbridge that leads into a huge, grassy area. It’s a great place to throw a ball or unpack a picnic. The short, paved path leads you to the foot of some stairs, which is where your hike officially begins.
The park’s main attraction is a series of waterfalls that you can follow up while hiking along a stone stairway. It’s only a quarter-mile up, but very steep. I was definitely huffing and puffing by the time we reached the top. Still, even small children will be able to make the climb, and there are many lookout points along the way for a break. On the day we visited, it hadn’t rained in a while so the waterfalls were going at a trickle, but they were still beautiful! I can only imagine how amazing they must be when gushing at full force, as they are in the photo at top (courtesy of the park’s website).
At the top, many hikers were taking a break to scramble over the rocks and boulders that line the Falls Brook stream. We spent more than half an hour here, exploring, before heading over the bridge that crosses over to the other side of the falls. There are two marked dirt paths (we took the red one) that lead you back down, although you could always just turn around and head back down on the stone stairway instead.
Make sure you stop off in the town of Kent before or after your hike – it’s truly adorable. Kent kind of reminds me of New Paltz, but is decidedly less crowded, which makes it much more low key and pleasant to visit. There are several really great restaurants there with plenty of outdoor seating, including the gourmet cafe J.P. Gifford (get the Cajun chicken sandwich!). The general store Annie Bananie serves ice cream, cold drinks, and other goodies (and offers a better opportunity for a bathroom break than the park’s porta potties). Plus, there’s a charming bookstore to explore called The House of Books.
Kent Falls State Park, 462 Kent Cornwall Road, Kent, CT, 860-927-3238