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Connecticut State Parks

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Litchfield Hills Region
Mattatuck State Forest
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Mattatuck State Forest Mattatuck Trai © william hernandez
Mattatuck Trail - Torrington
Mattatuck State Forest Buttermilk Falls © william hernandez
Buttermilk Falls - Mattatuck Trail. Terryville - Plymouth.
Mattatuck State Forest Buttermilk Falls © william hernandez
Buttermilk Falls - Mattatuck Trail. Terryville - Plymouth.
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The Mattatuck State Forest in Connecticut is a picturesque natural haven encompassing over 5,000 acres of diverse landscapes. Nestled amid rolling hills and valleys, this forest boasts a rich tapestry of verdant forests, tranquil meadows, and glistening waterways. Hikers and nature enthusiasts are drawn to its extensive network of trails that wind through towering trees, allowing glimpses of breathtaking vistas along the way. The forest also showcases a variety of wildlife, making it a popular spot for birdwatchers and animal lovers alike. With its serene beauty and abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities, the Mattatuck State Forest is a true gem for all those seeking solace and adventure in Connecticut's wilderness.
Nature of the Area
Stretching across 4,515 acres in Connecticut, the Mattatuck State Forest offers a haven of natural beauty and tranquility. Nestled in the rolling hills of Litchfield County, this diverse forest is characterized by its lush woodlands, peaceful streams, and picturesque mountain ridges. The area's rich biodiversity is home to a variety of wildlife, making it a cherished destination for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers alike. In Mattatuck State Forest, visitors can explore winding hiking trails, discover hidden waterfalls, and engage in activities such as fishing, camping, and hunting. Whether one seeks solitude in its serenity or seeks an avenue for recreational pursuits, Mattatuck State Forest welcomes all to immerse in the awe-inspiring wonders of Connecticut's natural landscape.
History of the Area
Mattatuck State Forest is located in Litchfield County, Connecticut. The forest covers an area of about 4,500 acres and is managed by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). Here is a brief history of Mattatuck State Forest:

Early History:
- The land that now comprises Mattatuck State Forest has a rich Native American history, home to various tribes like the Wappinger and Paugussett.
- European settlers began to arrive in the area in the early 18th century, gradually displacing the Native American populations.
- The forested areas within the Mattatuck region were primarily used for timber production and hunting.

20th Century:
- The state of Connecticut began acquiring land for conservation purposes in the 1920s and 1930s under the leadership of the first State Forester, Albert E. Moss.
- The acquisition of Mattatuck State Forest was made possible through the efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression. The CCC was a New Deal program that provided employment to young unmarried men in conservation-related projects.
- The CCC established campgrounds and constructed facilities, such as trails and picnic areas, within the forest.
- The forest was officially designated as Mattatuck State Forest in 1938.

Present Day:
- Today, Mattatuck State Forest offers opportunities for outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, camping, picnicking, fishing, and hunting.
- The forest features a network of hiking trails, including the Mattatuck Trail, which extends through multiple towns in Litchfield County.
- Wildlife is abundant within the forest, with species such as white-tailed deer, wild turkey, black bear, beaver, and various bird species inhabiting the area.
- The forest continues to be actively managed by the DEEP for sustainable timber production, wildlife habitat conservation, and recreational purposes.
Connecticut has made state parks, forests, trails, historic sites and beaches more accessible to our residents so they can enjoy the many attractions and beauty they offer. Under the Passport to the Parks program, parking fees are now eliminated at Connecticut State Parks for those with Connecticut registered vehicles. You can view the CONNECTICUT PASSPORT TO THE PARKS web page to learn more.
There are several camping options in and around Mattatuck State Forest in Connecticut. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Black Rock State Park: Located adjacent to Mattatuck State Forest, Black Rock State Park offers camping facilities. It features 78 wooded campsites with picnic tables, fire rings, and access to bathroom facilities. The park also offers hiking and fishing opportunities.

2. Kettletown State Park: Situated around 20 miles southeast of Mattatuck State Forest, Kettletown State Park offers camping facilities. It has 56 campsites with access to bathrooms, showers, and picnic tables. The park also offers hiking trails, swimming areas, and boating opportunities on the nearby Lake Zoar.

3. Indian Field Campground: Within the Housatonic Meadows State Park, located around 30 miles northwest of Mattatuck State Forest, Indian Field Campground offers 61 camping sites along the banks of the Housatonic River. The campground provides picnic tables, fire rings, bathrooms, and showers. There are also opportunities for fishing and hiking.

4. Lake Waramaug State Park: Situated approximately 30 miles northeast of Mattatuck State Forest, Lake Waramaug State Park offers camping facilities. It has 77 wooded campsites with access to bathrooms, showers, and picnic tables. The park is centered around Lake Waramaug, allowing for swimming, boating, and fishing activities.
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Mattatuck State Forest, located in Litchfield County, Connecticut, offers various fishing opportunities for anglers. The forest is home to several lakes and ponds, providing ample fishing spots. Here are some fishing options available in Mattatuck State Forest:

1. Black Rock Pond: This 15-acre pond offers excellent fishing opportunities. It is stocked with trout and also has populations of largemouth bass, sunfish, and catfish. Anglers can fish from the shoreline or launch a boat to explore the pond.

2. East and West Branch Reservoirs: These reservoirs are popular fishing destinations within the state forest. Both are stocked with trout and offer great fishing opportunities. Anglers can also find other species like largemouth bass, sunfish, and pickerel.

3. Merriman Pond: Located within the state forest, Merriman Pond covers 20 acres and provides fishing opportunities for trout, largemouth bass, and sunfish. It is an ideal spot for anglers seeking a serene and peaceful fishing experience.

4. Fishing Regulations: It is essential to familiarize yourself with the fishing regulations set by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) before fishing in Mattatuck State Forest. These regulations outline the fishing season, size and possession limits, as well as any special restrictions.

Remember to obtain a fishing license as required by the state of Connecticut before casting your line in Mattatuck State Forest. Fishing licenses can be obtained online from the DEEP's website or through authorized vendors.

The Mattatuck State Forest in Connecticut allows various types of hunting. Hunters can pursue deer, small game (including rabbit, squirrel, and pheasant), wild turkey, and waterfowl within the forest. It is important for hunters to follow all state hunting regulations and obtain the necessary permits and licenses. Additionally, specific hunting seasons and bag limits may apply to each type of game.
1. Whitestone Cliff Trail: This trail is approximately 2 miles long and offers stunning views of the surrounding area from atop a cliff.

2. Leatherman's Cave Loop: A moderate, roughly 6-mile loop that takes hikers to an interesting geological feature known as Leatherman's cave.

3. Crane's Lookout Trail: An easy hike with minimal elevation gain leading up to Crane's lookout which provides panoramic vistas of Connecticut countryside.

4. Mattatuck Mainline Trail (North): Approximately 7 miles in length, this section traverses through dense forests and rocky terrain offering challenging hikes for experienced trekkers.

5. Buttermilk Falls Trails: Short but steep trails taking you directly towards one of CT's most beautiful waterfalls - The Buttermilk falls.

6. Jericho Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails: These are well-marked paths covering around four miles within the forest featuring diverse flora & fauna along its course.

7. Mattabesset Blue Blazes hiking trail: It stretches over several towns including portions inside Mattatuck State Forest providing varied landscapes like wetlands, ridges etc.,.

8. Bear Rock Hollow Pathway: This short yet scenic route leads you straight into Bear rock hollow showcasing unique geology formations on your way.

9. Black Spruce Bog Walkway: A boardwalk path allowing visitors explore rare black spruce bog ecosystem without disturbing it.

10. Plymouth Reservoir Paths: These pathways encircle Plymouth reservoir giving ample opportunities for bird watching or simply enjoying serene waterside settings.
Mattatuck State Forest in Connecticut is a fantastic birding destination, offering a variety of habitats and a wealth of bird species. Located in Litchfield County, this state forest is home to woodlands, fields, wetlands, and a reservoir, providing a diverse range of environments for birds to thrive in. Whether you are a beginner birder or an expert, Mattatuck State Forest offers excellent birding opportunities that are worth exploring.

One of the highlights for birders in Mattatuck State Forest is the abundance of songbirds. While exploring the woodlands and fields, keep an eye out for various species such as warblers, woodpeckers, finches, sparrows, and thrushes. Spring and fall migration seasons are especially exciting, as a variety of migratory songbirds make their way through the area.

Another birding hotspot within the state forest is Steele Brook Wetlands. This wetland area is teeming with waterbirds and shorebirds. With its diverse vegetation and water sources, Steele Brook Wetlands attracts species such as herons, egrets, ducks, geese, and various shorebirds. The wetland also provides an ideal spot for spotting secretive marsh birds like rails and bitterns.

Additionally, birding enthusiasts can head to Hop Brook Lake, a reservoir nestled within Mattatuck State Forest. This vast expanse of water is a magnet for waterfowl, making it an excellent place to spot ducks, grebes, loons, and possibly even a rare species or two. The surrounding woodlands and shoreline also provide opportunities to observe woodland birds and migratory waterfowl.

It's important to note that while birding in Mattatuck State Forest, you should follow ethical birding practices, such as respecting bird habitats, keeping a safe distance, and refraining from disturbing nesting birds. Additionally, be sure to respect any regulations in place for the conservation of the state forest and its birdlife.

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Area Campgrounds
Lake Compounce Campground
185 Enterprise Drive
Bristol, CT
Cozy Hills Campground
1311 Route 202 Bantam Road
Bantam, CT
Hemlock Hill Camp Resort
118 Hemlock Hill Road
Litchfield, CT
Gentile's Campground
223 Mount Tobe Road Route 262
Plymouth, CT

To reach Mattatuck State Forest in Connecticut, follow these directions:

1. Start by heading south on I-84 E.
2. Take Exit 17 for CT-64 toward Woodbury/Southbury.
3. At the end of the ramp, turn right onto CT-64 W/Main St N.
4. Continue on CT-64 W for approximately 2 miles.
5. Turn left onto Tuttle Rd.
6. Stay on Tuttle Rd for about 2.5 miles.
7. At the traffic circle, take the first exit onto Transylvania Rd.
8. Continue on Transylvania Rd for approximately 2 miles.
9. Turn right onto Brushy Hill Rd.
10. Follow Brushy Hill Rd for about 1 mile, until you reach the entrance of Mattatuck State Forest on your right.

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Connecticut State Parks