Stenger Farm Park
Directions: Take Boston Post Road (Route 1) toward Waterford. Take a right onto Clark Lane. Stenger Farm is on your left, across the street from Clark Lane Middle School.
Where to park: There's plenty of free parking in the lot on Clark Lane.
Description: The 95-acre property is just up the street from a busy intersection that is home to, among other things, the Stop & Shop shopping plaza in Waterford. But walk into what was once a dairy farm and you'll leave behind all the traffic noise and bustle of suburban life.
Enjoy a 15-minute stroll on the wide, flat trail that encircles a pond on the property, or take one of the short and easy side trails. The main trail was an oval track for harness racing in the 1940s, according to information that the town of Waterford provides at the entrance to the trails.
To access the farm's most challenging trail – it only takes about five to 10 minutes, but it's a narrow and somewhat bumpy hike with a swampy spot – take a left just after you enter the main trail entrance.
Regulations: Closed at dusk. Dogs must be on leash. Pick up after your dogs.
Amenities: A dog park with separate enclosed areas for large and small dogs.
Good to know: Stenger Farm is home to a fenced dog park that opened in 2008 on the open grassy area in front of the parking spots on Clark Lane. Since then, more and more dog owners have been letting their pets run loose on both the grassy area and on the trails themselves. If you're not a dog person, you may want to be extra vigilant about free-roaming dogs while you're out hiking.
This is unfortunate. Keeping dogs leashed at all times shows respect for other hikers, who have a right not to be bothered by other people's dogs. That issue aside, Stenger is a fine spot for enjoying nature.
Also, be mindful that Clark Lane Middle School is across the street and that students regularly venture into Stenger Farm as part of their school day.
Owned by: Town of Waterford