Top 10 country walks explore deep woods, majestic cliffs, waterside views

Along the seashore or in tall mountains or deep woods, New England has many beautiful walks and hikes that take you deep into nature's beauty. See here the Top 10 country walks, where people of all fitness levels can explore and enjoy nature on a family vacation or getaway.

Off Route 7 near Route 4 CORNWALL BRIDGE, CT Phone:

Breadloaf Mountain in the Litchfield region is at the southern edge of Housatonic Meadows State Park. The mountain offers walks from moderate to strenuous; you can hike Breadloaf alone or jump off to other trails and loops. At the peak of Breadloaf is the Appalachian Trail, which you can follow north to Pine Knob Loop or south toward the town of Kent. The Appalachian Trail runs along the ridge, so it is not hard for people who are new to hiking. More-rugged hikes are also accessible from the main trails. The trailhead, off Route 7, is clearly marked.

Off Perkins Cove road north of Perkins Cove Ogunquit, ME, 03907 Phone: 207-641-2200

Marginal Way in Ogunquit is a paved, public shoreline footpath. This jewel of a walk extends about a mile along a spectacular coast from Perkins Cove to Ogunquit Beach. The place to enjoy salty air and catch sweeping panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Foot traffic only. Dogs allowed on leash from October 1 to March 31. The Marginal Way is an easy walk from the center of Ogunquit or you can park at Jackie’s Too Restaurant or at Anchorage by the Sea, at each end of the trail Map.

105 Weatogue Road near Rannapo Road ASHLEY FALLS, MA Phone: 413-229-8600

Created by geologic upheavals of the Taconic and Berkshire ranges, this 100-foot-high bedrock outcropping introduces visitors to a rugged and exotic landscape and splendid mountain vistas. The highest point, Hurlburt’s Hill, rises 1,000 feet to a 20-acre upland field that offers panoramic views up the Housatonic River Valley. You can tour the cobbles, trees, and river on the Ledges Trail. You can also trek through open fields, transitional forest, and freshwater marshes with beaver ponds along the Cobble's other five miles of trails of moderate difficulty. Open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset.

End of Corn Neck Road NEW SHOREHAM, RI Phone: 401-364-9124

Getting to Block Island, by ferry out of the fishing village of Port Judith, is an adventure all by itself. The Block Island National Wildlife Refuge, an important habitat for wildlife – especially migrating songbirds -- and great for beach walks. To reach the refuge, located at the northern tip of the island, turn right out of the ferry terminal. At the first stop sign, turn right onto Corn Neck Road. Continue to its end, and from the parking lot, walk the beaches of the Refuge. Ferry accommodates cars and bikes; moped rentals are abundant on the island.

Market Square, Market Street PORTSMOUTH, NH, 03801 Phone: 603-436-3988

This walk through the small city of Portsmouth is a visual delight for people who cherish the architectural and seafaring heritage of New England. The Harbor Trail passes more than 70 points of scenic and historic significance in the very picturesque and walkable small city. Walkers see a working port with busy fishing boats and tugboats; colonial homes, lush gardens, and the USS Albacore submarine, Market Square, Prescott park, Liberty Gardens, Strawbery Banke Museum, the Music Hall, and much more. Guided tours are offered July 4 through Columbus Day; check with the Information Kiosk in Market Square in the center of town.

Elmore State Park, Route 12 ELMORE, VT Phone: 802-241-3655

With the Lake Elmore beach at the base, this walk in a state park is perfect for a summer day and easy enough for children. From the parking area, the trail heads uphill on a fire road then turns right onto the Mount Elmore Trail. At 1.0 mile, the trail reaches a lookout, the site of the old fire watcher’s cabin. The view to the east over Lake Elmore stretches to Mount Washington. From here the trail becomes rougher and steeper until you reach a T. Turn left to reach the fire tower. For an interesting side trip, return to the “T” and head in the other direction toward Balanced Rock, a large boulder perched on a rock outcropping.

Maine -- Rachael Carson National Wildlife Refuge

321 Port Road WELLS, ME Phone: 207-646-9226

Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge is located along 50 miles of coastline from Kittery to Cape Elizabeth. Major habitats include forested upland, barrier beach and dune, coastal meadows, tidal salt marsh, and the distinctive rocky coast. The Carson Trail, which starts at refuge headquarters at 321 Point Road in Wells, is a one-mile walk along an upland edge with vistas and close-up views of this coastal ecosystem. Leashed dogs are allowed. Handicapped accessible. The Cutts Island Trail is in Kittery, on Seapoint Road near Cutts Island Lane. It offers 1.8 miles of scenic upland hiking and beautiful salt marsh views. Pets are not allowed. Park on the road and look for Refuge kiosk.

The magnificent Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts stretches along the ocean side of Cape Cod and encompasses several beaches and towns, and two informative visitor centers. Within the national seashore are 40 miles of pristine sandy beach, marshes, ponds, woodlands, lighthouses, and cranberry bogs. The national seashore’s excellent website has descriptions of several inland and shoreline walks, including the Nauset Marsh Trail; the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail; Great Island Trail; Pamet Area Trails; Small's Swamp Trail; and Beech Forest Trail. Most of these are easy walks. For a difficult trail through dunes that delivers spectacular views of the sea, try the Province Lands trails off Race Point Road in Provincetown.

105 Weatogue Road near Rannapo Road ASHLEY FALLS, MA Phone: 413-229-8600

Created by geologic upheavals of the Taconic and Berkshire ranges, this 100-foot-high bedrock outcropping introduces visitors to a rugged and exotic landscape and splendid mountain vistas. The highest point, Hurlburt’s Hill, rises 1,000 feet to a 20-acre upland field that offers panoramic views up the Housatonic River Valley. You can tour the cobbles, trees, and river on the Ledges Trail. You can also trek through open fields, transitional forest, and freshwater marshes with beaver ponds along the Cobble's other five miles of trails of moderate difficulty. Open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset.

Start at 117 Memorial Blvd. NEWPORT, RI Phone: 401-845-5300

The Newport Cliff Walk is a 3.5-mile, elevated, winding path along Newport’s shoreline with breathtaking views of Narragansett Bay and the rocky shores below. The walk runs from Bailey's Beach to First Beach, with public access points at Bellevue Avenue, Ledge Road, Marine Avenue, Ruggles Avenue, Ruggles Avenue, Sheppard Avenue, Webster Street, and Narragansett Avenue. The walk skirts the edges of some of the city’s mansions, including Beechwood, Rosecliff, Marble House, The Breakers, Ochre Court, and Rough Point. The latter half of the cliff walk has unpaved sections and rugged paths. Bring a camera for the shoreline views.

4 Christmas Lane BETHLEHEM, NH Phone: 603-444-6228

Best-known as a popular Christmas tree farm, the 1,400-acre Rock Estate is open to visitors year-round, offering structured and self-guided tours and programs. Originally a summer home, the Rocks Estate includes several buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places along with a maintained trails system that includes short, easy strolls or longer hikes, past magnificent views of the Presidential Range and wildlife habitat. Trails range from the easy 0.8-mile Scrapbook Memory and Christmas Tree trails to the 4.6-mile Michael A. Gozzo Trail, which crosses woodland and apple orchards and skirts beaver ponds and wetlands. Trail map.

3270 Route 315 RUPERT, VT Phone: 802-394-7836

Merck Forest & Farmland Center is an environmental education organization on 3,160 acres of forest and farmland in the Taconic Mountains. Several trails offer walks ranging from short and easy to long and steep. Walks travel through woodlands, open meadows, farm plots; past streams; and up to mountain tops with magnificent views. Two of the more difficult trails end at Mount Antone (2,600 feet) and Spruce Peak (2,585 feet). Many more trails are easy to moderate. Among them are an interpretive trail with information about forestry and wildlife and a trail that travels through farm fields and ends at a secluded spot where a number of streams come together. Trails.