Tucked back into the southeastern Connecticut woods in Mashantucket is a sight that is impossible to miss: the Foxwoods Resort Casino, one of the largest casinos in the world. The natural scenic beauty is a stark contrast to the extravagant 4.7 million square-foot resort, which the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation originally opened in 1986 as a bingo hall. If you or your wallet need a breather from the casino, you can easily escape to hike the serene Pequot trails lying just outside.
1. Exit the Great Cedar Casino Lobby.
2. Follow the fox paw prints to the trail network and choose a trail. You can take an approximately 1-mile walk to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and enjoy its outdoor exhibits, for example. You can also follow the trail loop behind Foxwoods' Two Trees Inn, which takes you through the woods and over a brook.
3. Follow the signs to the Lantern Hill trail if you would like to take a more challenging hike. This trail climbs to 491 feet above sea level and offers views of Block Island Sound on a clear day. When the trail forks after 1/8 of a mile, follow the right fork another 1/3 mile to hike along the base of milky white quartzite cliffs. If you are a climber, these cliffs offer climbs of between 5.7 and 5.11 miles. Lantern Hill is a 2.6-mile-long out-and-back trail, meaning you turn back at the end and trace the same path to return.
4. Stay on the marked path of the trail you choose. Watch for traffic at crossings and use the crosswalks.