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Chatfield Hollow State Park

Hike trails in search of Native American caves, explore the jagged rocky ledges and recesses, relax by the cooling waters, or picnic in the soft pine woods at Chatfield Hollow State Park.
Trail Activity
Accessible Experience Hiking Cross-country skiing Mountain biking Horseback riding
Length
10.1 miles, Network
Difficulty
Easy, Moderate, Advanced
Town
Killingworth
Surface
Packed Earth/Dirt, Gravel/Crushed Stone, Boardwalk, Paved/Cement, Lake/Pond, Wetland
Pets
Permitted on leash
Fees
Yes (Out-of-state Residents)

Description

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.

Other Information

General information: 

  • The park is open daily from sunrise until sunset. In the summer gates open at 8 AM. 
  • Park regulations are posted at the main entrance. 
  • Pets must be on a leash and under control at all times. 
  • Pets are prohibited from the beach area. 
  • There is a parking fee for out of state register vehicles between April 1 and October 30. 
  • Cyclists are asked to use courtesy and caution when approaching other trail users. 

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.

 

Trail Manager

For more information, visit the Connecticut State Parks website or contact:

CT DEEP: Cockaponset State Forest

CT DEEP: Cockaponset State Forest
18 Ranger Road
Haddam, CT 06438
(860) 345-8521
deep.stateparks@ct.gov
View website

Trail Tips

Plan Ahead and Prepare
Be prepared for extreme weather. Bring rain/wind gear, warm clothing, and matches/fire starters.
Legend
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Trailhead Information

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.

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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Trail Alerts

Trails
Sky's the Limit Challenge
May 7, 2021 – December 3, 2021

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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