Day Trip | Kent Falls, CT’s Pet-Friendly State Park

Destinations, New England

As you know if you’ve read this post about our visit to a Venice, FL dog beach, Charles and I enjoy taking our pups on adventures whenever possible. This past weekend, we took a day trip to Kent, Connecticut, a gem of a town located in Litchfield County. Located in the northwest corner of the state, Litchfield County borders New York to the west and Massachusetts to the north.

A small town of around 3,000 residents, Kent seems to have something for everyone; great dining, art galleries, antique shops, an excellent book store and vistas that could be straight out of a movie – think sprawling farms, babbling brooks, covered bridges and rolling hills. As if that’s not enough, Kent is also home to a portion of the Appalachian Trail and Kent Falls State Park.

After strolling Main Street and indulging in sandwiches from J.P. Gifford Market, located in the center of town (their Melted White Cheddar & Granny Smith Apple Sandwich is to-die-for AND their al fresco dining area is perfect for those with dogs,) we drove a few miles north to Kent Falls. One of the state parks in Connecticut that allows dogs, Kent Falls is perfect for those seeking a short but mildly strenuous, scenic hike.

From the moment visitors arrive, the experience is as picturesque as can be.Kent Falls, CT

Kent Falls, CT

The cascading Kent Falls may be viewed from the entrance to the park, so those who may not be as physically fit or just don’t feel up for it may still enjoy the setting while relaxing on the sprawling lawn.  We were ready for the challenge, though, and after giving the rules a quick glance we were off!

Kent Falls, CT

Kent Falls, CT

As mentioned, the hike is mildly strenuous and involves MANY stairs. Luckily, multiple scenic overlooks allow for a few moments of rest – perfect for catching one’s breath and taking in the view of Kent Falls.Kent Falls, CT

Kent Falls, CT

After hiking a few more (ok, many more) sets of stairs, we were greeted by this stunning view. The sheer magnitude of it was breathtaking.  Kent Falls, CT

Continuing up, as we reached the top of the falls, the terrain leveled out and we passed over the stream via a small bridge. Over the hills and through the woods we went, literally, as we began our descent. (Instead of passing over the bridge to the other side of the falls, many visitors opted to turn around and go back down the stairs. We chose not to do that, as we wanted different scenery on the descent.)

Kent Falls, CT

The gradual decline was very much welcomed by all – dogs included. While the main highlight of the state park is the falls, the woods were lovely as well. Unbelievably quiet except for the sound of the rushing stream and cascading falls we had the entire trail to ourselves, only passing one couple the entire time.Kent Falls, CT

Kent Falls, CT

The roundtrip distance of the hike was probably less than a mile, but the amount of stairs did make it seem longer.

Before leaving Kent we had one more stop to make – ice cream at Annie Bananie. An ice cream shop located within Backcountry Outfitters, right in the center of town, Annie Bananie serves decadent ice cream produced by Jane’s Ice Cream, a family run micro-creamery based in nearby Kingston, NY.

I opted for a cone but Charles ordered a shake, and upon having a sip of his shake and saying how delicious it was, the gentleman who served us remarked “the folks hiking the Appalachian Trail who stop here for a snack say we make the best shakes on the entire Trail! And the Trail goes through fourteen states!” After devouring our sweets, we could see why!

From Fairfield County, the drive to Kent is about an hour to an hour and a half depending on starting location and which route is taken. We took Route 7 going to Kent and took Interstate 684 through New York State back to Stamford.

You may find more information about Kent Falls State Park, here.

Have you taken a day trip to Kent? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

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