The James L Goodwin Conservation Center and State Forest offer 17+ miles of trails through varied ecosystems including forest, wetlands, ponds and meadows.
Whether you are looking for a short stroll or a dozen mile trek, the trails in James L. Goodwin State Forest have your ideal outdoor experience. Folks come to Goodwin's well maintained trails for many reasons including hiking, biking, horseback riding, cross country skiing, geocaching, letterboxing, boating, fishing, youth camping, or one of Goodwin Conservation Center's educational programs. Pick up a trail map at the Conservation Center, or check out one of the maps at the many kiosks on site found at popular trail intersections.
The Forest Discovery Trail Loop leaves the northwest corner of the Conservation Center gardens as the blue-red trail and follows a loop that brings the hiker through several managed forest areas before returning to the center. Be on the lookout for the natural art installations at the beginning of the trail. Enjoy the trail with children and see if you can find all the fairy homes! An interpretive phone tour along this trail offers information on the history, ecology and management of this forest.
The blue-blazed Natchaug Trail begins at the Conservation Center and stretches north to connect with the blue-blazed Nipmuck trail. At the beginning of the trail, near the Conservation Center, there is a shed for viewing wildlife that looks out onto Pine Acres Lake. This trail was designed for foot traffic only. This follows the west bank of Pine Acres Pond, then passes Black Spruce Pond at a beautiful overlook on Orchard Hill before winding its way down to the Natchaug River and Route 198.
The Air Line State Park Trail, a former railroad bed, crosses Potter Road just a few hundred feet from the center. The graveled, level bed makes it ideal for hiking, cross country skiing and horseback riding. Those feeling adventurous can hike the Air Line Trail some 8 miles north to the Connecticut Audubon Center in Pomfret, and from there on to Putnam if they choose.
Trails are open from dawn to dusk, seven days a week.