AllTrail's Connecticut Top 10

If you ever want to get into hiking there is no greater app that I could recommend than AllTrails. Due to a large user base, AllTrails has one of the most extensive sets of trail maps of any hiking app, and if you join the subscription tier of the app you can download these maps to your phone so you can still track where you are without cell service. Another feature of the app is that it generates rankings from user reviews and ratings so if you want to see some of the “best” trails of any given state it is possible to do so. Living in Connecticut I thought it would be an interesting idea to see just how well the top 10 highest ranked trails in Connecticut compare to my personal preferences for hiking the state for years now.

AllTrails’ rankings start off quite well with the Mount Frissell and Brace Mountain Loop Trail at number ten. Personally, I find Connecticut to be a tough state to find good hiking spots unless you really look. Most of the best hiking is centered in the northwest corner (for intense and more rustic hiking) and the coast (for relaxing but sight filled strolls). The Mount Frissell and Brace Mountain Loop Trail is partially located in the former. The trail actually winds its way through three different mountain tops in three different states, which gives it a sense of uniqueness. You begin on the Connecticut/Massachusetts border and head towards Round Mountain, one of Connecticut’s highest peaks, before ascending further to Massachusetts’ Mount Frissell. As you descend a little bit further from the summit of Mount Frissell you will actually once again cross the Connecticut border and reach the actual highest point in Connecticut at 2,379 feet (despite Bear Mountain just a couple of miles away trying to claim that honor for itself with a plaque with false information on it). As you complete the descent from Mount Frissell you will reach a marker for the triple state point where Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York meet. Continue on and you will reach Brace Mountain in New York before meandering back into Connecticut to complete the loop. There’s a lot going on for this hike despite being a modest 5 miles in length. The semi-alpine environment you get on some of the tops of these mountains is also quite picturesque so it’s hard not to enjoy this hike despite it being only partially located in Connecticut.

Ranked at number nine is Roxbury Mines. If you’re looking for a workout, this hike won’t do much for you. It’s a pretty level hike that doesn’t get picturesque until you get to some farmland on the banks of the Shepaug River. That being said, the journey around the mines is quite interesting and being able to look into some of the historical structures is a fun experience.

At number eight is Sleeping Giant Tower Trail, which I think is a case of a trail's ratings being inflated due to its close proximity to a major city and the fact that it's right across the street from a college campus. The trail is a slightly over 3 mile out and back that takes you up a gravel road to a lookout tower. The tower offers a view of New Haven and there’s some interesting cliffs next to the tower, but otherwise a lot of other hikes in the state have a lot more to offer. The gravel trail also makes this seem really pedestrian.

Ranked at number seven is the Talcott Mountain Trail. At 2.5 miles it’s a rather short hike but the trail does have some decent elevation gain and there’s numerous viewpoints of the Farmington River Valley throughout the hike. The hike to Heublein Tower at the top of this trail used to be an annual pilgrimage for my family so there is a sense of nostalgia for me that makes its placement on this list worthy in my opinion. While not part of the trail, King Phillip’s Cave is a slight detour that is well worth your time.

Coming in at number six is the Bluff Point State Park and Coastal Reserve Trail. Connecticut being a state on the ocean you have to expect at least one oceanside trail on this list and this trail is honestly some of the best seaside property in the state. I could do without the commotion from the nearby airport, but this trail offers numerous views of the ocean before turning into a nearby forest. There are ample opportunities to go bird watching, and there are even a few areas where you can put down a beach chair and just relax. At 3.6 miles on an almost completely flat track, this once again won’t get your blood pumping, but it is a relaxing stroll.

Ranked at number five is the Wadsworth Falls Trail, which belongs nowhere near this list. There are numerous other waterfalls that are just as scenic or even more so in the state, and the trail itself doesn’t even lead to the main falls but to a smaller offshoot of the waterfall. Despite this, the trail has a reputation of showcasing a large, scenic and easily accessible waterfall so it’s extremely crowded even on the somewhat rainy day that I went on. It’s honestly perplexing how this made the list.

Coming in at number four and three respectively are the Mirror Lake, Castle Craig, Merimere Reservoir Loop and the Chauncey Peak Trail. I’ve decided to talk about them at the same time as they are both quite similar. They both loop around a reservoir where on one side you walk alongside the reservoir and on the other you ascend up a rocky hill that eventually overlooks the reservoir. The big difference between the two is that the Chauncey Peak Trail belongs nowhere near this list as the views are blighted by an active mine on one side and an urban area on the other while the Mirror Lake, Castle Craig, Merimere Reservoir Loop begins in a crowded park but eventually ascends to a castle that you can enter into and a more picturesque body of water where birdlife and other animals are actually present. The one problem with the latter is that the castle has a road leading right to it so the experience of hiking up to it is ruined by hordes of people who just drove to it (Sorry, but I hate drive-up summits!).

At number two is the Ragged Mountain Blue and Red Blazed Loop, which is a pretty solid example of Connecticut having some good hikes in an otherwise looked down upon state park system. At 5.6 miles in length and some elevation gain this feels like a more substantial hike than a lot of the other entries on the list. It has expansive views of the nearby lakes and ponds and has some areas alongside cliffs that will raise your heartbeat a bit (It’s a frequented spot for rock climbing). This is a quite popular trail so you won’t find solitude here and you will need to come early or late due to the lack of parking.

Despite being a rather disappointing list, AllTrails absolutely nails the best hike in Connecticut with its choice of the Bear Mountain Trail. Bear Mountain is located in the northwest corner of the state in Salisbury, CT. At 6.1 miles and 1683 feet of elevation gain this feels like an actual hike. It’s also the highest peak in Connecticut (despite the marker at the summit incorrectly claiming it’s the highest point in the state). The trail follows the Undermountain trail to the famed Appalachian Trail before looping back around after the summit of Bear Mountain on another blue trail. The top section features a really nice and somewhat long section of semi-alpine environment that allows for expansive views of the area as well as the best place to catch a sunrise in the state. While there is a lot of elevation gain, it’s well spread out so the hike never seems strenuous. All in all, it’s one of the best hikes I have ever done.

As you could probably tell, I wouldn’t include many of these trails if I was making the list myself. Bear Mountain is obviously number one, and the Mount Frissell and Brace Mountain Loop Trail, the Ragged Mountain Blue and Red Blazed Loop and the Bluff Point State Park and Coastal Reserve Trail deserve mention on this list too. Trails that did not make this list but absolutely should have include the Tenmile Hill section of the Appalachian Trail, the Macedonia Brook Loop, the Great Falls and Rand’s View section of the Appalachian Trail, the Squantz Pond and Pootatuck State Forest Loop, the St. John’s Ledges and Caleb’s Peak Loop and the Schaghticoke Mountain area of the Appalachian Trail. Almost all of these (the lone exception being the Squantz Pond and Pootatuck State Forest Loop) are located in the northwest corner of the state and many of them are located on the Appalachian Trail, which is one of the only experiences in the state that approaches being truly wild. All of these trails have distinctive and memorable features too. The Tenmile Hill section of the Appalachian Trail has a great sunset location at the top of the hill and if you want to turn the hike into a double traverse of the hill you get access to a nice river that you can swim in (the Tenmile River, not the nearby Housatonic River which has a much stronger flow and is not advisable to swim in). The Macedonia Brook Loop has a few views of the numerous mountains in the area and a fun rock scramble in one part of the trail. The Great Falls and Rand’s View section of the Appalachian Trail has a waterfall that puts Wadsworth Falls to shame and has one of the best views in the state at Rand’s View where a valley meets the many mountains of the northwest corner of the state. The St. John’s Ledges and Caleb’s Peak Loop has the most challenging rock scramble in the state while also showcasing two great viewing spots. The Schaghticoke Mountain area of the Appalachian Trail functions as a perfect gateway drug to the Appalachian Trail as it’s a nice and moderate hike to an expansive view at the top of the mountain. The Squantz Pond and the Pootatuck State Forest Loop happens to belong to my local state park/forest so once again there is bias here, but I feel like I get a true workout when I do this loop and you get some fantastic views of Squantz Pond and Candlewood Lake.

73rd Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations Predictions

Outstanding Drama Series

-The Boys


-The Crown

-The Handmaid’s Tale

-Lovecraft Country

-The Mandalorian


-This is Us

Outstanding Comedy Series


-The Flight Attendant



-The Kominsky Method

-Master of None


-Ted Lasso

Outstanding Limited Series

-I May Destroy You

-The Queen’s Gambit

-Mare of Easttown

-The Underground Railroad


Outstanding Variety Talk Series

-The Daily Show With Trevor Noah

-Full Frontal With Samantha Bee

-Last Week Tonight With John Oliver

Late Night With Seth Meyers

-Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Outstanding Competition Program

-Amazing Race

-The Masked Singer

-Nailed It

-RuPaul’s Drag Race

-The Voice

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

-Anthony Anderson, Black-ish

-Ted Danson, Mr. Mayor

-Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method

-Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso

-Kenan Thompson, Kenan

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

-Sterling K. Brown, This is Us

-Jonathan Majors, Lovecraft Country

-Josh O’Connor, The Crown

-Rege-Jean Page, Bridgerton

-Billy Porter, Pose

-Matthew Rhys, Perry Mason

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie

-Paul Bettany, WandaVision

-Bryan Cranston, Your Honor

-Hugh Grant, The Undoing

-Ethan Hawke, The Good Lord Bird

-Ewan McGregor, Halston

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

-Kaley Cuoco, The Flight Attendant
-Maya Erskine, PEN15

-Renee Elise Goldsberry, Girls5eva
-Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish

-Jean Smart, Hacks

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

-Uzo Aduba, In Treatment

-Olivia Colman, The Crown

-Emma Corrin, The Crown

-Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale

-Mj Rodriguez, Pose

-Jurnee Smollett, Lovecraft Country

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie

-Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You

-Thuso Mbedu, The Underground Railroad

-Elizabeth Olsen, WandaVision

-Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen’s Gambit

-Kate Winslet, Mare of Easttown

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

-Pete Davidson, Saturday Night Live

-Brett Goldstein, Ted Lasso

-Michiel Huisman, The Flight Attendant 

-Brendan Hunt, Ted Lasso

-Nick Mohammed, Ted Lasso

-Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live

-Bowen Yang, Saturday Night Live

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

-Giancarlo Esposito, The Mandalorian

-O-T Fagbenle, The Handmaid’s Tale

-John Benjamin Hickey, In Treatment

-John Lithgow, Perry Mason

-Tobias Menzies, The Crown

-Anthony Ramos, In Treatment

-Bradley Whitford, The Handmaid’s Tale

-Michael K. Williams, Lovecraft Country

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie

-John Boyega, Small Axe

-Bill Camp, The Queen’s Gambit

-Daveed Diggs, Hamilton

-Brendan Gleeson, The Comey Rule

-Evan Peters, Mare of Easttown

-Donald Sutherland, The Undoing

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

-Hannah Einbinder, Hacks

-Michelle Gomez, The Flight Attendant

-Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

-Rosie Perez, The Flight Attendant 

-Cecily Strong, Saturday Night Live

-Juno Temple, Ted Lasso

-Hannah Waddingham, Ted Lasso

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

-Gillian Anderson, The Crown

-Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown

-Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale

-Aunjanue Ellis, Lovecraft Country 

-Tatiana Maslany, Perry Mason

-Wunmi Mosaku, Lovecraft Country

-Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale

-Samira Wiley, The Handmaid’s Tale

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie

-Kathryn Hahn, WandaVision

-Marielle Heller, The Queen’s Gambit

-Julianne Nicholson, Mare of Easttown

-Weruche Opia, I May Destroy You

-Jean Smart, Mare of Easttown

-Letitia Wright, Small Axe

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

-The Flight Attendant (“In Case of Emergency”)

-Hacks (“There is No Line”)

-Master of None (“Moments in Love”)

-Ted Lasso (“Biscuits”)

-Ted Lasso (“The Hope That Kills You”)

-Ted Lasso (“Make Rebecca Great Again”)

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

-Bridgerton (“Diamond of the First Water”)

-The Crown (“Fairytale”)

-The Crown (“War”)

-For All Mankind (“The Grey”)

-The Handmaid’s Tale (“Testimony”)

-The Mandalorian (“Chapter 9: The Marshal”)

-The Mandalorian (“Chapter 13: The Jedi”)

Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Special

-I May Destroy You (“Ego Death”)

-Mare of Easttown

-The Queen’s Gambit

-Small Axe

-The Underground Railroad


Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

-Hacks (“There is No Line”)

-Mythic Quest (“Backstory”)

-PEN15 (“Play”)

-PEN15 (“Vendy Wiccany”)

-Ted Lasso (“Pilot”)

-Ted Lasso (“Make Rebecca Great Again”)

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

-The Boys (“What I Know”)

-The Crown (“Fairytale”)

-The Crown (“War”)

-Euphoria (“F**K Anyone Who’s Not a Sea Blob”)

-For All Mankind (“The Grey”)

-The Mandalorian (“Chapter 13: The Jedi”)

-The Mandalorian (“Chapter 16: The Rescue”)

Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Special

-I May Destroy You

-It’s a Sin

-Mare of Easttown 

-The Queen’s Gambit

-Small Axe (“Mangrove”)

-The Underground Railroad (“Chapter 10: Mabel”)

93rd Academy Awards Predictions


Best Picture

Will Win=Nomadland

Should Win=Promising Young Woman

I thought Promising Young Woman was one of the most original movies I’ve seen in quite some time. There are some elements of Tarantino, but Emerald Fennell brings a unique new voice to cinema with this movie. It’s easily the best thing I saw over the past year.

Best Director

Will Win=Chloe Zhao, Nomadland

Should Win=Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

Once again I love the unique vision that Emerald Fennell brought to her film. While the messaging of the movie can be a bit ham fisted at times, Fennell makes sure you know not to take the movie completely seriously while still delivering some important messages on current world matters.

Best Lead Actor

Will Win=Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Should Win=Anthony Hopkins, The Father

Anthony Hopkins and likely Oscar winner, Chadwick Boseman both star in movies based on plays, which makes Hopkins’ performance way more interesting as he fully embeds himself into his character whereas Boseman you can clearly see acting in many portions of his movie. Hopkins' performance is just so haunting.

Best Lead Actress

Will Win=Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Should Win=Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Carey Mulligan delivered the best performance in cinema over the past year. Promising Young Woman is quite against type for her, but she makes it look natural. Add to the fact that she should have won an Oscar already for her impressive 2015 year where she starred in Far From the Madding Crowd and Suffragette and a win for her in this category would make for my biggest wish on Oscar night.

Best Supporting Actor

Will Win=Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Should Win=Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah was one of the best films of the year and that’s mostly due to the two fantastic performances from Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield. They play off of each other really well. I just feel like Kaluuya gets the slightly more meaty material in the movie.

Best Supporting Actress

Will Win=Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

Should Win=Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Maria Bakalova’s performance in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm easily stands out from the rest of the competition in this category. She steals a movie in which she has to adapt to a very unconventional way of acting. She makes it look easy.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Will Win=The Father

Should Win=The Father

The Father is such a heartbreaking and unique portrayal of dementia. It’s a tough sit but it’s an unforgettable movie experience.

Best Original Screenplay

Will Win=Promising Young Woman

Should Win=Promising Young Woman

You never know where Promising Young Woman is going to go, and I think its screenplay successfully guides it through a chaotic plot and set of characters.

Best Animated Feature

Will Win=Soul

Should Win=Wolfwalkers

Wolfwalkers is such a delightful, old school fantasy movie that features a beautiful hand drawn animation style that you just don’t see anymore.

Best Documentary 

Will Win=My Octopus Teacher

Should Win=My Octopus Teacher

My Octopus Teacher was a surprisingly touching movie about interacting with the natural world. It’s simplistic by design, but that makes it stand out in a genre made famous by crime and other weighty subject matter.

Best International Film

Will Win=Another Round

Should Win=Another Round

Another Round can be a bit tonally over the place at times but Mads Mikkelsen guides a really strong ensemble cast and Thomas Vinterberg really knows when to add the flourish to maximum effect. It has one of the most memorable endings of the year, and after this and The Hunt anything that Mikkelsen and Vinterberg do together will be a must see.

Best Cinematography

Will Win=Nomadland

Should Win=Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah delivers quite a few unique camera angles without it ever distracting from the story.

Best Costume Design

Will Win=Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Should Win=Emma

Emma is one of the most visually interesting period pieces in quite some time. The costumes are obviously at the forefront of all of this.

Best Film Editing

Will Win=The Trial of the Chicago 7

Should Win=The Father

The editing of The Father makes the high wire act of getting close to the main character’s point of view without getting truly into it until the end look easy.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Will Win=Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Should Win=Emma

There wasn’t a movie this year where the makeup work stood out so I’m going with the lavish hairstyles of Emma, which is also one of the more underrated movies from last year.

Best Production Design

Will Win=Mank

Should Win=Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

There aren’t many sets in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, but they are all memorable and I think the movie does a good job of getting into every nook and cranny of them throughout its runtime.

Best Original Score

Will Win=Soul

Should Win=Minari

The Minari score has a few memorable themes and never oversaturates the movie, which I feel like a lot of movies this year had trouble doing.

Best Original Song

Will Win=”Speak Now”, One Night in Miami

Should Win=”Fight for You”, Judas and the Black Messiah

“Fight for You” is a banger of an end credits song.

Best Sound

Will Win=Sound of Metal

Should Win=Sound of Metal

Sound of Metal makes sound or the lack thereof pivotal to the plot making for a really cool experience.

Best Visual Effects

Will Win=Tenet

Should Win=Tenet

Without many big budget blockbusters, effective physical effects as the ones employed by Tenet win the day.

Best Animated Short

Will Win=If Anything Happens I Love You

I didn’t see any of these nominees.

Best Documentary Short

Will Win=A Concerto is a Conversation

I didn’t see any of these nominees.

Best Live Action Short

Will Win=Two Distant Strangers

I didn’t see any of these nominees.

AllTrail's Connecticut Top 10

If you ever want to get into hiking there is no greater app that I could recommend than AllTrails. Due to a large user base, AllTrails has o...

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