Looking for a simple 1-3 hour hike at a beginners level? Want to walk your four legged friend and bring the kids? Free parking and entrance sound appealing? Have you tried the Racebrook Tract in Orange?
Located right off Rt 34 in Orange directly on Racebrook Road is the entrance for park, make the turn from Rt 34 onto Racebrook slowly or you’ll drive right by it!
There are 210 acres in Orange and 180 acres in Woodbridge all previously owned by the water company. As you’re walking you’ll see the sign that says “Now entering Woodbridge”-what a sense of accomplishment even if it is a short walk!
Does that amount of acreage sound overwhelming? Not at all. There are 3 trails: white, red and purple but regardless of which you choose, they all circle you back to the beginning. In terms of difficulty, my 5 year olds can do it with sneakers on carrying their own backpacks full of snacks & a water bottle. The longest trial is 2.5 miles.
The majority of all sections of the trials are gravel and require little effort. Along the way there are ponds, streams, frogs to see and small fish. You will encounter many dogs, it’s a 50-50 whether they will be on leashes despite it being the law. Luckily in our experience we haven’t meet an unfriendly on yet.
There is a boardwalk which goes through a small section of forest and discusses the plants and trees and a display of all the types of wood & trees that you’ll encounter in the forest with a hands on guessing game for kids & adults alike.
It’s a great place to unwind, have a chat and see nature. There is a relatively new arboretum not discussed in the State of CT brochure. A lot of trees have fallen down due to major storms and the uprooting of trees is incredible exceeding 8 feet tall on the red trail which makes fun craters for the kids to stand in. You really get the sense of how large these trees are and the massive amount of water required to feed them.