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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

With the much-needed Spring Break, temperatures are warming up and you may be thinking about how and when to get outside in the next couple of weeks. When you’re on campus and may not have access to a car, it is difficult to go out and explore nature, even though it is the best thing to do for our mind and body!

I have found that the beauty of our campus is that we have created a mini urban city, with suburban neighborhoods to walk around and rural areas to hike in. We truly have it all here in Storrs, Connecticut, even when it feels like we have nothing to do. Here I have five different beginner hikes within 15 minutes of the University of Connecticut (walking or driving options!) so that we can all spend a little more time exploring nature this spring.

Tift pond loop

This trail is number one on my list as it is steps away from Downtown Storrs. Continue walking on the road down 195 towards Willimantic, and on the sidewalk on the right you will find a post marking the entrance. Alltrails is my trick to never getting lost, simply follow the guide and you will loop around a lovely pond and the fresh air is sure to take your mind off of any exams coming your way.

Trail marker
Photo by Jessica DiTommaso
Photo by Jessica DiTommaso
Horsebarn Hill and uconn forest trails

Somehow last spring, I followed different colored trails through the UConn Forest and found myself at the Fenton River. You can always try and peruse the maps above to get there, but for an option that is easier for the directionally challenged like me, I love to walk on and around Horsebarn Hill any chance I can get. From the top, you can see all of campus, and if you walk Horsebarn Hill Road, you will see the Valentine Meadow along with all of our horse units on campus.

Fenton River
Photo by Jessica DiTommaso
Wolf Rock

Truly a beauty in the fall, Wolf Rock is a perfect spot for foliage and also has an incline for a challenge to see a view or flatter areas where we find beautiful marshes. You will have to drive there, but if you can get someone’s car, it is oh-so worth it! Drive straight past Downtown on 195, and turn right on Puddin Lane. Continue down the road until you find a small dirt lot with a trailhead. The UConn Rec will also occasionally have a trip here for rock climbing, but if walking is more your forte, this is a beautiful spot to disconnect from the busy, stressful campus life.

Wolf Rock
Photo by Jessica DiTommaso
Mansfield Hollow State Park

Mansfield Hollow is just a short drive from campus, and it is absolutely beautiful in every season. While it is a state park, it is one of the lesser-known ones, meaning that it is always quiet even when it is really hot out. I have been here paddleboarding with the Rec Center, and I have gone on my own many occasions where I watched boats go by and stuck my feet in the water to cool off, as well as painted rocks with the beautiful scenery. The park has many different loops and trails to choose from, and you can spend an entire day just relaxing by the water here.

Mansfield Hollow
Photo by Jessica DiTommaso
Fifty Foot preserve

This trail is super short and a great option if you are looking to get your heart pumping a little bit to see a great view. I believe this lookout faces east, making it a good candidate for a sunrise hike if you are an early bird! Located across the street from the Spring Hill Inn behind a set of buildings, this trail is a bit tricky to find, though the marker is visible from the street itself.

The hardest part is getting there

With everything, the hardest part of different areas of life, such as going to class, working out, taking a test, etc., is the first step of making it there. Once you make it, the hard work is done and you have already made progress. Even in the depth of winter, we need time outside, I know I feel so much better when I get some! So grab your coat and bundle up, you will 100% warm up on the trails. Join me outside!

Hi! My name is Jessica (she/her/hers) and I am from Farmington, CT. I am currently an English and Secondary Education major at the University of Connecticut. In my free time, I love reading, baking, hiking, yoga, painting my nails, and listening to music.