You must be signed in to save park lists.
Your Park Lists
add New List
Add Photo
You must be signed in to add photos.
state route ranger badge

Connecticut State Parks

responsive menu icon
USA Parks
Litchfield Hills Region
Nepaug State Forest
Robin ©
Keep On Leash ©
Availability Search
Nepaug State Forest in Connecticut is a picturesque natural haven offering scenic beauty and outdoor tranquility. Spread across rolling hills and verdant woodlands, this forest encompasses over 3,000 acres of diverse ecosystems and recreational opportunities. Popular for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, visitors can explore various well-marked trails that wind through a mix of dense forests, open fields, and babbling brooks. With stunning foliage during the fall months, Nepaug State Forest provides an idyllic backdrop for nature enthusiasts seeking solace and adventure in Connecticut's serene wilderness.
Nature of the Area
Nepaug State Forest, located in Connecticut, is a picturesque and diverse natural area that offers a tranquil escape into the beauty of nature. Spanning over 3,000 acres, this forest showcases a rich mix of woodland, wetlands, and scenic trails that meander through rolling hills, rocky outcrops, and vibrant meadows. Visitors to Nepaug State Forest are treated to breathtaking views of picturesque landscapes, the soothing sounds of babbling brooks, and an abundance of wildlife, including deer, birds, and various species of plants. This forest presents an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking hiking, mountain biking, fishing, or picnicking opportunities amid a serene and captivating natural setting.
History of the Area
Nepaug State Forest, located in Connecticut, has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century. The area was historically inhabited by the indigenous Tunxis tribe, who lived off the land and utilized its resources for their survival.

In the 1800s, the forest saw significant deforestation due to the rise of industries such as farming, logging, and charcoal production. However, the creation of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association in 1895 marked a turning point in the conservation efforts in the state. This organization began acquiring land to establish state parks and forests, including Nepaug State Forest.

The forest got its name from the Nepaug River, which flows through the area. The river was named by the indigenous people, and "Nepaug" roughly translates to "bends like a bow" in the indigenous language.

Nepaug State Forest has also played a significant role in the history of Connecticut's Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the federal government established the CCC as part of the New Deal program. The CCC employed young men to perform various conservation projects across the country. In Nepaug State Forest, CCC workers worked on reforestation efforts, constructing fire towers, roads, bridges, and recreational facilities, including picnic areas and hiking trails.

Today, Nepaug State Forest covers approximately 1,500 acres and offers various recreational opportunities to visitors. These include hiking, fishing, hunting, mountain biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. It remains an essential natural and cultural resource in Connecticut, reflecting the state's commitment to preserving its natural beauty and history.
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 Nepaug State Forest in Connecticut. Here are a few options:

1. Black Rock State Park: Located just east of Nepaug State Forest, Black Rock State Park offers camping facilities and is a great place for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and picnicking.

2. American Legion State Forest: Situated to the south of Nepaug State Forest, the American Legion State Forest features a designated camping area called the Lone Oak Campground. It provides tent and RV camping facilities along with amenities such as picnic tables, fire rings, and flush toilets.

3. Burr Pond State Park: Located northeast of Nepaug State Forest, Burr Pond State Park has a campground with 24 sites available for tents or trailers. The campground includes amenities such as showers, toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings. Additionally, visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, and boating at Burr Pond.

4. Lake Waramaug State Park: Situated northwest of Nepaug State Forest, Lake Waramaug State Park offers camping facilities overlooking Lake Waramaug. The campground consists of 77 sites for tents or trailers, with amenities provided including toilets, showers, picnic tables, and fire rings. Visitors can enjoy activities such as swimming, boating, and hiking.
Nearby Vacation Rentals
Search for a vacation rental
Nepaug State Forest in Connecticut offers various fishing opportunities for anglers. The forest is home to the Nepaug Reservoir, which is a popular spot for fishing. The reservoir is stocked with different fish species, including trout and bass, providing a good fishing experience for both beginners and experienced anglers. Additionally, the nearby Nepaug River also offers fishing opportunities, particularly for trout. Fishing regulations and licenses apply, so it is important for visitors to check the specific rules and obtain any required permits before fishing in the Nepaug State Forest.

The Nepaug State Forest in Connecticut allows for various types of hunting activities. These include small game hunting, such as rabbit and squirrel hunting, as well as bird hunting for species like turkey, grouse, and pheasant. Deer hunting is also permitted within the forest, including archery and firearms hunting during designated seasons. Additionally, the forest allows for black bear hunting, provided hunters possess the appropriate permits. It is important for hunters to familiarize themselves with the specific regulations and hunting seasons set forth by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to ensure a safe and legal hunting experience within Nepaug State Forest.
1. Tunxis Trail: This is a 79-mile trail that passes through the Nepaug State Forest, offering hikers stunning views of Connecticut's natural beauty.

2. Yellow Dot Loop: A moderate difficulty level hike spanning approximately 3 miles with beautiful forest scenery and opportunities for bird watching.

3. Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails: These trails are well-marked paths covering diverse terrains including rocky outcrops, dense forests, and serene streams within the state forest area.

4. Pine Mountain Loop: An easy to moderately difficult loop trail stretching about 5 miles which offers panoramic vistas from atop Pine Mountain as well as encounters with local wildlife species like deer or foxes.

5. Green Circle Trailhead - North End Road Entrance: It's an easier route suitable for beginners featuring flat terrain along brooksides in lush green settings; it spans around two-and-a-half-miles round trip.

6. Nepaug Reservoir Viewpoint Pathway: Short but steep path leading up to a viewpoint overlooking the scenic reservoir - perfect spot for photography enthusiasts on clear days.

7. Turkey Vulture Ledge Walkway: Moderate-level hiking pathway taking you towards rock ledges where turkey vultures can often be spotted soaring above tree lines against blue skies during summer months.

8. Barkhamsted Hollow Tree Route: Unique short walk showcasing some ancient trees surviving since centuries inside this protected woodland region.

9. Satan's Kingdom Recreation Area Paths (adjacent): Though not directly part of Nepaug State Forest these nearby routes offer additional options such as river-side walks or tubing activities down Farmington River sections.

10. Wildcat Spring Exploration Track: Off-beat track ideal for adventurous souls interested in discovering hidden springs amidst thickets while enjoying solitude away from main touristy areas.
Nepaug State Forest in Connecticut offers a variety of birding options for enthusiasts. The expansive forest covers over 3,000 acres and features various habitats perfect for bird sightings. Birders can explore the forest's extensive trail system, which includes the Nepaug Reservoir Trail, as well as the Tunxis Trail that runs alongside the Farmington River. The Connecticut Birding Trail also passes through the state forest, providing additional opportunities for birdwatching. Commonly spotted bird species in Nepaug State Forest include woodpeckers, warblers, thrushes, and various raptors. With its diverse habitats and abundant birdlife, Nepaug State Forest is a must-visit destination for birders in Connecticut.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
January 12 4Wheeling at Nepaug SF is ILLEGAL by Concerned Legal Wheeler
park review stars; one to five Stay on the marked roads. Anything else is off limits! Join a Jeep or offroad club.
June 4 Went for the 4wheeling by [email protected]
park review stars; one to five Very fun trails- moderate difficulty some areas would be impossible for stock rigs including loose sandy areas, steep hill climbs, deep holes to negotiate and big roots/rocks to get hung up on
write a review
Share On

Area Campgrounds
Lake Compounce Campground
185 Enterprise Drive
Bristol, CT
White Pines Campground
232 Old North Road
Barkhamsted, CT
Gentile's Campground
223 Mount Tobe Road Route 262
Plymouth, CT

Nepaug State Forest is located in Connecticut. To get there, follow these directions:

1. Start on the I-84 E highway.
2. Take exit 37 for CT-4 toward Harwinton/Burlington.
3. Keep left at the fork and merge onto CT-4 W.
4. Continue on CT-4 W for approximately 4.5 miles.
5. Turn right onto CT-179 N.
6. After about 2.5 miles, turn right onto Nepaug Road.
7. Continue on Nepaug Road for approximately 1 mile.
8. You will reach the entrance of Nepaug State Forest on your right.

Please note that specific parking areas and trailheads within the forest may have their own entrance and parking instructions.

state route ranger badge

Connecticut State Parks