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Connecticut State Parks

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USA Parks
Litchfield Hills Region
Paugnut State Forest
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Picnic Table ©
It is always a great day for a picnic in the park.
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Paugnut State Forest came into existence in 1929, when the State purchased 1127 acres. This purchase included a lookout tower that was established by the American Brass Company. Years ago, a series of towers were found throughout the state to serve the purpose of locating forest fires. Today, this tower, like many others is gone, as an airplane patrols the sky to report any fires.

The majority of the remaining forest was acquired between 1930 and 1950. With a small recent addition, the forest is now 1,646 acres. Paugnut is located within the towns of Torrington and Winchester, abutting Burr Pond State Park.

Paugnut State Forest is managed for sawtimber, firewood, wildlife habitat, and recreational activities such as such as hiking, hunting, fishing, swimming, boating, and bird watching.
History of the Area
Paugnut State Forest, located in the town of Torrington, Connecticut, has a rich history that dates back to the early 20th century. The forest was established in 1927 and was one of the first state forests in Connecticut.

The name "Paugnut" is derived from the Native American word "pachgnud," meaning "marshy place" or "boggy land." The area was historically occupied by the Paugussett tribe of Native Americans, who utilized the land for hunting and gathering.

In the early 1900s, Connecticut recognized the need for conserving its natural resources and providing recreational opportunities for its residents. As a result, the State Forest Commission was established, which began acquiring land for public use and forestry purposes.

The acquisition of Paugnut State Forest began in 1923 when the state purchased 200 acres of land. Additional parcels were added over time, steadily expanding the size of the forest to its current size of around 1,750 acres.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a public work relief program, played a significant role in developing Paugnut State Forest. CCC workers constructed roads, trails, picnic areas, bridges, and campsites within the forest, leaving lasting infrastructure that is still in use today.

The forest has served various purposes over the years, including commercial logging and ice harvesting. In the mid-20th century, the state also leased parts of the forest to private individuals for farming and grazing purposes.

In addition to its historical significance, Paugnut State Forest is known for its natural beauty and recreational opportunities. It offers numerous trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, as well as opportunities for fishing, picnicking, and camping. The forest's diverse ecosystem includes woodlands, wetlands, and streams, providing habitat for a variety of wildlife.

Paugnut State Forest has a vibrant history that encompasses Native American presence, early conservation efforts, the implementation of the CCC, and ongoing recreational use. It continues to be an important natural resource and recreational destination for residents and visitors of Connecticut.
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.
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1. Blue-Blazed Tunxis Trail: This is a 79-mile trail that runs through the forest, offering hikers stunning views of Connecticut's natural beauty.

2. John Minetto State Park Loop: A moderate difficulty level loop trail spanning approximately 3 miles within Paugnut State Forest and adjacent to John Minetto state park.

3. Burr Pond Loop Trail: An easy-rated hiking path around Burr pond with beautiful water views; it stretches for about two miles in length.

4. Sunny Brook State Park Trails: These trails are located on the eastern edge of Paugnut Forest, providing an array of short hikes suitable for all skill levels.

5. Walcott Trail: It's a moderately trafficked out:and-back route stretching over one mile long featuring wildflowers and wildlife sightings along its course.

6. The Nature Museum Pathway: Short but scenic pathway leading towards The nature museum showcasing local flora & fauna.

7. Turkey Vulture Ledge Overlook Hike: Approximately half:a-mile hike up to Turkey vulture ledge overlook presenting panoramic view across valley.

8. Burr Mountain Summit Route: Challenging uphill trek reaching highest point at elevation near 1300 feet above sea:level.

9. Wildcat Hollow Area Paths: Networked paths crisscrossing Wildcat hollow area known for bird:watching opportunities.

10. Paugnut Mainline South:North Track: Longest single track running from southernmost tip till northern end traverses entire breadth of forest.

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Area Campgrounds
Cozy Hills Campground
1311 Route 202 Bantam Road
Bantam, CT
White Pines Campground
232 Old North Road
Barkhamsted, CT
Lone Oak Campsites
360 Norfolk Road
East Canaan, CT
Hemlock Hill Camp Resort
118 Hemlock Hill Road
Litchfield, CT

1. Start by heading onto CT:8 N from Waterbury or Winsted.
2. Continue on CT:8 N for approximately 10 miles until you reach Exit 46 toward Torrington/Winsted/US-202.
3. Take the exit and merge onto US:202 E/Torrington Rd.
4. Follow this road for about 5 miles until you see signs directing you to turn left onto Burr Mountain Road (also known as Route 272).
5. Turn left onto Burr Mountain Road and continue driving for around half a mile before turning right into the entrance of Paugnut State Forest.

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Connecticut State Parks