If you are looking for a short kid friendly hike in Southeastern Connecticut, go walk up Lantern Hill. I can say with authority that this is a kid friendly hike. I started hiking it around age 6 with family, at least twice a year until I became a teenager and had no time for such endeavors (silly me, to think that).
The hike begins at Wintechog Hill Road in North Stonington, just over the Ledyard line. There is a small shoulder to pull off and park the car. If you are concerned about the safety of your car, you are able to park at Two Trees Inn and they have a trail you can follow to reach the Narragansett Trail, that takes you over the summit.
Once at the start of the trail (there is no signage here), you begin a slight incline following the blue blazes.
From here the trail becomes a little steeper, but then you are immediately rewarded with views. The views overlook Lantern Hill Road and Indiantown Road. Off to the left you can see Lantern Hill pond.
After enjoying the views continue up to more outlooks. There are some rock scrambles, but as a child, I was always in sneakers (we are referring the 1970s before Vibram soles were the rage) and I never slipped.
Close to the summit there is another outlook on the other side, that overlooks the North Stonington area. This would be a nice place to nap or spread out a picnic lunch and enjoy the views. I went just a little further past this spot to catch a glimpse of non active Silica Mine. This spot seemed to be popular with the turkey vultures. They would swoop down low and you could see the details of their fringed wings. Of course trying to capture them on digital media is another thing.
This is the point I turned around and followed my path back to the car. Along the way I noticed Mountain Laurel quickly fading and blueberries waiting to ripen. All of sudden Foxwoods Resort loomed out of the forest of my youth. It is a rather startling sight to see such a building rise from an organic setting.
If you are looking for a quick hike to get the kids out for a little exercise or if you are cultivating a child to be a hiker, teaching him/her how to read blazes, identify fauna, how to “safely” rock scramble this is the best place to do it.
It was great fun to retrace the steps of my childhood. The total hike was about one mile and about 30 minutes.