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Connecticut State Parks

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Fairfield County Region
Pootatuck State Forest
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Pootatuck State Forest, located in western Connecticut, is a breathtaking haven of natural beauty. As you step into this enchanting woodland, you are greeted by an abundance of towering trees, including oak, maple, and birch, creating a picturesque canopy overhead. The forest is home to numerous wildlife species, from deer and foxes to a vast array of birdlife, offering an opportunity for nature enthusiasts to witness the wonders of the ecosystem up close. As you explore the forest's well-maintained hiking trails, you'll stumble upon pristine streams and tranquil waterfalls, invigorating your senses and providing the perfect backdrop for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. With its magnificent vistas, diverse flora and fauna, and a serene ambiance that embraces both solitude and adventure, Pootatuck State Forest truly offers a slice of paradise nestled in the heart of Connecticut.
Nature of the Area
Pootatuck State Forest, located in the western part of Connecticut, encompasses a diverse natural landscape that seamlessly blends serene woodlands with striking rocky outcrops. This 629-acre forest offers visitors a tranquil escape into nature, with its extensive network of trails perfect for hiking and exploring. As you wander through Pootatuck State Forest, you'll encounter majestic trees, babbling brooks, and picturesque waterfalls, creating a soothing and rejuvenating atmosphere. This enchanting forest serves as a haven for a wide range of wildlife, including deer, foxes, and various bird species, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers. Whether you seek solitude, seek adventure, or simply wish to immerse yourself in the serenity of Connecticut's natural beauty, Pootatuck State Forest promises an unforgettable experience.
History of the Area
Pootatuck State Forest is located in Fairfield County, Connecticut. The history of Pootatuck State Forest can be traced back to the early 20th century when the state of Connecticut began acquiring land for its vast forest and park system.

The forest was named after the Pootatuck Native American tribe, who originally inhabited the region. They were part of the Algonquian-speaking Pequot tribe and lived along the banks of the Housatonic River, which borders the state forest.

The land that is now Pootatuck State Forest was acquired by the state over several years, starting in the 1920s. The primary purpose of acquiring this land was to protect the watershed of the Housatonic River, as well as conserve the area's natural resources and wildlife.

During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) played a significant role in developing and improving Pootatuck State Forest. The CCC was a public work relief program that employed young, unemployed men to work on various conservation projects. They constructed roads, trails, picnic areas, campsites, and fire control infrastructure throughout the forest.

In addition to the CCC's contributions, the state of Connecticut also completed several land acquisitions and established the Lillinonah Trail in the forest during the mid-20th century. The Lillinonah Trail is a popular hiking trail that offers scenic views of the Housatonic River and surrounding woodland.

Over the years, Pootatuck State Forest has remained a vital part of Connecticut's natural heritage and has been managed by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). Visitors to the forest can enjoy various recreational activities such as hiking, picnicking, fishing, hunting, and birdwatching.

Pootatuck State Forest stands as a testament to the state's commitment to conserving its natural resources and preserving its cultural history. It offers a tranquil and scenic escape for both locals and tourists, allowing them to connect with nature and learn about the region's Native American heritage.
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.
Pootatuck State Forest is located in Newtown, Connecticut. While there are no designated camping areas within the state forest, there are several camping options available in and around the area. Here are a few options:

1. Kettletown State Park: Located about 10 miles south of Pootatuck State Forest, Kettletown State Park offers camping facilities with 58 sites, including 47 tent and trailer sites and 11 lean-to sites. Amenities include bathrooms, showers, picnic tables, and fire rings. Reservations are recommended.

2. Lake Waramaug State Park: Situated about 25 miles northeast of Pootatuck State Forest, Lake Waramaug State Park offers camping options along the picturesque Lake Waramaug. The park has 77 total campsites, including 35 tent and trailer sites and 22 lean-to sites. Amenities include restrooms, showers, a swimming area, picnic areas, and hiking trails. Reservations are recommended.

3. Black Rock State Park: Located approximately 35 miles northwest of Pootatuck State Forest, Black Rock State Park allows camping in its designated campground area. The park has 81 campsites, including 53 tent and trailer sites and 28 lean-to sites. Amenities include restrooms, showers, a swimming area, picnic areas, and hiking trails. Reservations are recommended.

4. Kresge Memorial Campground: Situated about 9 miles east of Pootatuck State Forest in Roxbury, Kresge Memorial Campground offers primitive camping options. It is managed by the Pomperaug Valley Grange and features campsites with no hookups. Facilities include restrooms, picnic sites, and hiking trails. Prior reservation is required.

5. Private Campgrounds: There are also private campgrounds near Pootatuck State Forest, including Wolf's Den Family Campground in East Haddam, Little City Campground in Higganum, and Nelson's Family Campground in East Hampton.
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Pootatuck State Forest, located in western Connecticut, offers various fishing opportunities for anglers. The forest is home to the Pootatuck River, which provides a diverse range of fish species for fishing enthusiasts. Common fish found in the river include trout species such as brook, brown, and rainbow trout. Anglers can enjoy both fly fishing and spin fishing in the Pootatuck River, catering to different preferences and techniques. Fishing in this scenic state forest provides a tranquil and serene ambiance for a memorable angling experience.

The Pootatuck State Forest in Connecticut allows several types of hunting for both residents and non-residents. These hunting activities include archery hunting, small game hunting, and deer hunting. The forest provides ample opportunities for hunters to pursue their respective game. It is important for hunters to follow all the relevant hunting regulations and obtain the necessary permits and licenses before engaging in these activities. Overall, the Pootatuck State Forest offers a rich hunting experience for outdoor enthusiasts in Connecticut.
1. Zoar Trail: This 6.5-mile loop trail offers a moderate hike with beautiful views of the Housatonic River and Lake Zoar.

2. Lillinonah Trail: A challenging, rugged path that stretches for about six miles along the eastern shore of Lake Lillinonah.

3. Paugussett State Forest Loop: An easy to moderately difficult 4-mile round trip through dense forested areas featuring scenic overlooks on cliffs above Lake Zoar.

4. Hanover Road Trails: These trails offer an array of short hikes ranging from one to three miles in length, perfect for beginners or those looking for a quick nature escape.

5. Blue-Blazed Pomperaug Trail: It is approximately eight mile long hiking route which passes by some interesting rock formations and provides access to several other smaller side-trails within Pootatuck state forest area.

6. Primrose Street Accessible Pathway: A wheelchair:accessible pathway offering serene woodland scenery over its half-a-half mile stretch; ideal choice if you're seeking less strenuous outdoor activity options.

7. Hattertown Pond Circuit: Approximately two:and-a-half-miles-long circuit around picturesque Hattertown pond providing opportunities not only just walking but also bird watching & fishing.

8. Upper Gussy's Falls Track: Short yet steep track leading towards Upper Gussy's falls where hikers can enjoy mesmerizing waterfall view after their uphill climb.

9. Lower Block Rock Preserve Route: Roughly four:miles-long trekking route passing through Lower block preserve region showcasing diverse flora fauna species native to Connecticut forests.

10. Sandy Hook Multi:use Pathways: Network of multi-purpose pathways suitable both cycling as well as leisure walks amidst lush green surroundings.
Pootatuck State Forest in Connecticut offers excellent opportunities for birding enthusiasts. Located in the town of Newtown, this forest features diverse habitats that attract various bird species. Visitors can explore the area's trails and enjoy sightings of woodland birds such as warblers, woodpeckers, and thrushes. The forest is home to a variety of raptors as well, including hawks, owls, and eagles. Birdwatchers can also observe waterfowl and wading birds near the forest's streams and ponds. With its peaceful surroundings and rich birdlife, Pootatuck State Forest is a must-visit destination for birders in Connecticut.

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Area Fishing Related Businesses
Valley Angler
56 Padanaram Rd
Danbury, CT
(203) 792-8324
Candlewood Bait & Tackle Co
2 Germantown Rd
Danbury, CT
(203) 743-2221
Bill's Bait & Tackle
117 Old Town Park Rd
New Milford, CT
(860) 354-9066
Area Cabins and Lodges
18 Old Ridgebury Road
Danbury, CT
(203) 794-0600

Pootatuck State Forest is located in Western Connecticut, near the towns of Newtown and Shelton. Here are the directions to reach the forest:

1. From Newtown:
- Start by heading south on Main Street (Route 25) towards South Main Street.
- Continue on Route 25 for about 4 miles.
- Turn left onto Walnut Tree Hill Road.
- Follow Walnut Tree Hill Road for approximately 3.5 miles.
- The entrance to Pootatuck State Forest will be on your right.

2. From Shelton:
- Begin by heading east on Route 110 (River Road).
- Continue on Route 110 for about 6 miles.
- Turn right onto Redding Road (Route 107).
- Follow Route 107 for approximately 2.5 miles.
- Take a slight left onto Pocono Road.
- Continue on Pocono Road for about 2 miles.
- The entrance to Pootatuck State Forest will be on your left.

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Connecticut State Parks