Families, hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and cross-country skiers will enjoy approximately four and half miles of trails on gently rolling terrain. Trails lead to Little and Big Falls, as well as the giant Mountain Laurel. A 1.5 mile hike or park nearby to view scenic Wadsworth Falls as it cascades over a twenty foot drop on the Coginchaug River.
The majority of trails within the park are wide, easy walking carriage roads established by Clarence Wadsworth. This includes the 1.5 mile one way walk to the Big Falls from the main park area. Hikers should follow the Orange trail to its terminus at Cherry Hill Road, then turn right on Cherry Hill Road to cross the active train tracks and reach the Big Falls area. The Yellow trail in the northeast corner is a moderate singletrack trail that parallels the Laurel Grove Brook. The Blue Trail located west of the Orange trail is an advanced trail that leads down into a ravine, accessing views of the Little Falls. The Red trail loop tends to be muddy in the Spring, and is best avoided during Spring thaw.
Other activities include fishing, picnicking and swimming. The Coginchaug River runs through the length of the park and is stocked with trout. A fishing license is required for anyone16 years of age and older. Tables and grills are available in shaded areas, rustic locations, open grassy areas and stream-side sites for picnicking. Three hundred feet of sandy beach on a fresh water pond provide a designated swimming area as well as space to relax in the sun. Alcoholic beverages, glassware, and pets are prohibited in the beach area.
Chatfield Hollow Brook flows toward Long Island Sound between two high ridges covered with oak, beech, and hickory. In 1934, the Civilian Conservation Corps built an earth and stone dam across the brook, creating seven acre Schreeder Pond. Pines planted at the same time now form a green setting around the pond. In 1949 Chatfield Hollow was designated as a state park.
In pre-Colonial times, Indians frequented the valley in considerable numbers for purposes of fishing and hunting. Many artifacts found in the vicinity of Indian Council Caves indicated that Native Americans sought refuge in the jagged ledges and held tribal gatherings amid the rock recesses and overhangs. An Indian trail paralleled the brook, winding through the trees and along what is now the park road.
Early settlers made use of the stream for waterpower. Descendants of three Chatfield brothers, who arrived from England about 1639, were believed to have operated a gristmill along the brook. Occasional chunks of oddly shaped metal fragments found near the watercourse are evidence that an iron smelting furnace worked native ores into metal for implements. Other reminders of early history include several old building foundations, a restored waterwheel on the upper pond, and the covered bridge reproduction spanning Chatfield Hollow Brook.
For more information, visit the Connecticut State Parks website or contact:
From Route 9: take Exit 9. Follow Route 81 south to Route 80 west and watch for park entrance signs on right.
From I-95: take Exit 63. Follow Route 81 north to Route 80 west and watch for park entrance signs on right.
This trail is part of the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's 2021 Sky's the Limit Challenge!
Learn more HERE.
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