Okay. So you might have seen the title of this post, glanced at the weather report, and then thought: is this girl crazy? Why is she telling me about outdoor walking paths when the temperature is barely making it into double digits?
Well, when the weather is bitter like this, it really makes me want to start looking ahead and planning for spring and warmer temps. Plus, if a warm-ish day happens to pop up unexpectedly, you’ll know exactly where to go to enjoy it!
Nevers Park is located in South Windsor, CT, and if you follow our blog, you may remember that Mandy and I took the kiddos to check out the Boundless Playground there, My Friend’s Place, last spring. Since that visit, I’d been wanting to get back there to try out the walking paths I had heard so much about from my South Windsor friends. Well, spring, summer, and early fall somehow got away from me, but fortunately, it was still mild enough for an outdoor adventure in mid-November when we finally managed to get ourselves out there.
The first great thing about the Nevers Park trails is that they are very dog-friendly. I love that because my little Beagle (my first-born) hardly ever gets to go anywhere with us these days (he did have a guest appearance in my post about the Glastonbury Multi-Use Trail, which is also dog-friendly).
So one sunny Sunday in November, we packed up the doggie and the kiddo and headed out to Nevers Park.
In my opinion, the best place to park to access the trails is one of the two parking lots on Chief Ryan Way (see map here). The lot closer to Sand Hill Road is where we parked. The other lot is up near the Dog Park (more on that later). I would recommend parking in the lot near Sand Hill Road. It’s bigger, and there’s more room to unload your family and your accessories (i.e. a stroller).
The trail starts literally feet from the parking area.
At the corner of the parking lot entrance and the trail, there is a handy trail map.
As you can see, there are three trails, and they all overlap in places. Since all the trails run partly along Chief Ryan Way, that’s where we started. Boo did not seem to be in a riding mood at first (but I brought along the stroller just in case; I had a feeling he’d change his mind 🙂 ) He was more interested in trudging through the fallen leaves.
Then we decided to veer off at Trail A, the shortest trail at only .86 mile. This trail winds through the woods, and it’s very quiet and pretty. I bet it will be even more lovely in the spring when all the leaves come back. As a side note, we didn’t actually see any trail markers. We just noticed that the trail went off into the woods at about the spot on the map where it indicated Trail A turned off. There was an “Exercise Station” sign right there where the path veered off though, so you could use that as a marker (more on the “Exercise Stations” in a minute).
So as I mentioned above, you’ll probably notice the “Exercise Stations” that periodically spring up on the side of the trail. Based on the outfits that the drawn figures on the signs are wearing, I’m going to guess that they have been here for, er, decades perhaps (look at those short shorts!).
Most of them look a bit like a cross between a Medieval torture device and something that would have been employed in the ancient Highland Games. However, some of them (like the pull-up bars, for example) you may find still serve a useful purpose. But most importantly, they make fun jungle-gym-esque diversions for the kiddos (and maybe the grown-ups too).
Trail A loops around through the woods and then comes back out into an open field. Here are some shots of the pretty terrain. The ground cover, for the most part, is a very fine gravel. So the whole trail is extremely stroller-friendly. You might not want to bring your flimsiest umbrella stroller since it might make the ride a bit bumpy, but truthfully, if that’s the only thing you had in the car, you could still get away with it. It’s a nice wide trail too.
In that bottom right photo, you’ll notice we are coming up on that Boundless Playground I mentioned at the start (read Mandy’s post on it here). It’s not too far from the trail, so you could certainly veer off across the grass and let the little ones burn off some more steam over there before continuing on your walk.
By this time, Boo had actually agreed to get in his stroller, so we weren’t going to risk taking him out again to play (I really wanted to try one of the longer trails). So we looped back around to the parking lot.
This time, we thought we’d follow Trail B, the middle trail at 1.06 miles long (it was too close to lunch time to push my luck with Trail C, the longest trail at 1.59 miles). On this route we passed a few interesting things. First, we saw this picnic area.
Then, we found the Bark Park, a really nice dog park.
Two other important things located near the Bark Park include a set of porta-potties (there were also some at the picnic area), and a set of trash and recycle bins (the only ones we saw along the trail). That trash bin will be especially important to you if you have brought your canine buddy along and have dutifully “picked up” after him and now need somewhere to dispose of it. Don’t want to have to bring that home in the car. Ick.
And here’s the second parking area I mentioned earlier, right across the path from the Bark Park.
To keep going on the longest trail (Trail C), you follow that path (in front of the cars) straight back.
To keep on Trail B (the one we were following), you hang a left in front of the Bark Park. However, we decided to turn around and head back the way we came. It was actually a very warm day and we hadn’t brought any water for our poochie (oops), so we were feeling an attack of guilt at the thought of making him walk another mile without a drink. The great irony is that by this point, Boo was sound asleep in his stroller, and we could have kept going indefinitely. Instead, we had to wake up a very grumpy little boy and wrestle him back into his car seat (where of course he refused to fall asleep again).
Nevers Park has so many wonderful attributes–beautiful trails, an amazing playground, a well-kept dog park. So even though the weather outside might be frightful right now, make sure you bookmark this post so as soon as the warmer weather moves in–or Mother Nature blesses us with an unexpectedly beautiful day–you’ll know exactly where you’ll be headed.
Nevers Park, South Windsor, CT
Get directions here:
(Look for the corner of the park located at the intersection of Sand Hill Road and Chief Ryan Way to find the parking lot for the walking trails. Click here to see the park map.)
- Convenient, free parking
- Three intersecting trail loops of varying lengths (shortest is about 3/4 mile; middle is about 1 mile; longest is about 1 1/2 miles)
- Wide trails with a fine gravel trail surface
- Easy, relatively flat terrain (at least on the two trails we checked out–A & B)
- “Exercise Stations” along the trails
- Nearby Boundless Playground
- Nearby picnic area
- Nearby dog park
Tips & Things to Bring:
- The trails are very stroller-friendly. You do not need a heavy-duty jogging stroller, although you may want to use something slightly more sturdy than one of those $20 umbrella strollers.
- The trails wind through the woods but there are also parts out in the open in full sun, so be sure to bring sun hats and sunblock (especially in the warmer months) for the little ones if they will be exposed in their stroller.
- Because we went in the late fall, I’m not sure what the bug situation will be like in the spring/summer. In those seasons, I would probably suggest bringing some bug spray though, as parts of the trail do go through the woods.
- I just wore sneakers; there’s no need for heavy hiking shoes.
- There are a few porta-potties along the trail; we saw some near the picnic area along Chief Ryan Way and also up near the Park Bark. There are also real restrooms in the Community Center, which is located across the parking lot from the Boundless Playground. See Mandy’s post for those details.
- The only place we saw trash/recycle bins was up near the Bark Park (although, I know from our previous visit that there are some at the playground too). Just something to keep in mind.
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