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Appalachian Trail, CT/MA
Upgrade your kiddie pool: A string of cool, rock-rimmed swimming holes fills this mile-long gully cut by Sages Ravine Brook in Massachusetts—and access is easy enough for tykes. The 1.7-mile (one-way) hike to Sages Ravine Campsite, perched amidst the pools, combines flat stretches with moderate descents. From the AMC trailhead on Mt. Washington/East Road, hike along an abandoned road through ferns and mountain laurel (blooming in June). At the junction to AMC’s Northwest Camp, veer left and hike 1 mile to the AT. Turn left (north) and head downhill to the brook, where the trail hugs the ledges above the current. Pitch a tent at the campsite (room for two or three tents; arrive early to ensure a spot), then continue downstream to explore the splashiest pools and the lower ravine’s 3- and 12-foot waterfalls. Next day, retrace your steps to the Northwest Cabin Road junction and follow the AT south. Older kids can attempt the half-mile of hand-and-foot scrambling up bald bedrock to 2,316-foot Bear Mountain’s blueberry-topped summit and 360-degree views encompassing five states. Trailhead 66 miles northwest of Hartford, CT; 42.049959, -73.467032Best season Bugs taper off in August. Permit None Contact (413) 528-8002; appalachiantrail.org