July 31, 2021 – New Fairfield, Connecticut
Size: Roughly 3.6 miles
Max elevation: 1,224 ft.– whole elevation achieve roughly 719 ft.
Route kind: Determine-8 Loop
Avenza App Map (Free): Pootatuck State Forest Path Map for Avenza
Trailhead parking: 230 Pine Hill Highway – New Fairfield, CT 06812
No bogs on web site – No entrance or parking charges
Parking for roughly 15 automobiles in a gravel lot on the Pine Hill trailhead.
Pootatuck State Forest is nearly 1,200 acres. It’s situated primarily in New Fairfield, with a small portion in Sherman. The primary block of the Forest rises steeply from the western shore of Squantz Pond. The paths might be accessed from Squantz Pond State Park trails in addition to from the Pine Hill Trailhead, off of Pine Hill Highway. Leisure actions embrace mountaineering, mountain biking, letterboxing, searching, birdwatching, snowmobiling, and cross-country snowboarding.
There are two smaller Pootatuck State Forest property parcels in New Fairfield, close to to however disconnected from the primary property and Squantz Pond State Park.
- The Western Pootatuck State Forest parcel is situated north of Beaver Lavatory Highway simply west of the intersection of Beaver Lavatory Highway and Quick Woods Highway.
- The Southern Pootatuck State Forest parcel is situated between Quick Woods Highway and CT Route 39 barely south of the intersection of Beaver Lavatory Highway and Quick Woods Highway.
Pootatuck State Forest is comprised of steep wooded slopes, attention-grabbing rock formations and seasonal mountain streams with a scenic view from a rock outcrop, overlooking Squantz Pond and Candlewood Lake.
Pootatuck (additionally Pohtatuck, Potatuck) is an Algonquian time period translating to “river of the falls,” “falls in river,” or “river with many falls,” relying on the place you look.
Many of the Forest was acquired within the 1920’s for about $10 per acre. Within the 1930’s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) established a piece camp (Camp Hook – Could 24, 1933 to Oct. 30, 1935) on the adjoining Squantz Pond State Park. The CCC was very lively within the Forest. They planted timber, constructed roads and hearth ponds, salvaged dying chestnut timber for posts and poles, and did forest thinnings to provide firewood. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) left a legacy of mountaineering trails and hearth roads in Pootatuck State Forest which are nonetheless in use right now.
Pootatuck State Forest affords 5 miles of trails “with numerous levels of problem.” The official trails are a mix of marked footpaths/outdated charcoal-wagon roads and wider unmarked hearth roads that have been constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) within the 1930’s. The scenic view of Squantz Pond and Candlewood Lake from a big rock outcrop, makes for a worthy vacation spot. The paths in Pootatuck State Forest might be mixed with these in Squantz Pond State Park. The paths that have been hiked on at the present time have been nearly totally shaded by dense tree cowl.
The marked trails are effectively blazed and maintained. The hearth roads, though not blazed are in nice form and straightforward to observe.
Nonetheless coping with some knee points, I used to be trying to find a reasonable quick hike with first rate views and no crowds. Having hiked Squantz Pond State Park in 2019, I made a decision to take a look at the higher trails that join the State Park and Forest. I used to be not upset. It is a stunning forest with barely difficult uphills and a beautiful view. Getting an early begin and hitting the path by 8:15am on a Saturday morning in July, we didn’t encounter another hikers till we have been on the final stretch of the Hearth Highway, lower than 1/4 mile from the parking space.
This hike is a Determine 8 Loop, starting on the Pine Hill Trailhead.
This hike descends from the highest of the mountain initially, leaving numerous the elevation achieve in the direction of the again finish. Though I’ve rated it as reasonable, there are some quick steep descents on the Blue Path and a sustained ascent alongside the Yellow Path from the Hearth Highway.
On the again finish of the car parking zone, stroll previous the steel barrier onto the fireplace highway, labeled on the path map as “Forest/CCC Highway.” Proceed forward on the Forest/CCC Highway for about 300 ft till you attain the beginning of the Orange Path which begins on the precise.
This space was hit fairly exhausting by a twister again in Could 2018. All the time keep alert for “widow-makers.”
The Forest/CCC Highway continues forward and shall be your return route, however for now flip proper on the Orange Path because it heads in an easterly path. In about 475 yards, the Orange Path passes an unmarked woods highway which begins on the precise. Proceed forward following the orange blazes.
In slightly below a 1/2 mile (from the beginning of the Orange Path), the Orange Path ends at a T-intersection with the Yellow Path. Flip proper on the Yellow Path and observe it for about 265 ft till you attain a junction with the Blue Path, which begins on the left.
Flip left on the Blue Path which dips down somewhat then climbs regularly on a large rocky path. Comply with the blue blazes for roughly 400 yards till you attain a rocky outcrop that overlooks Squantz Pond and Candlewood Lake.
Squantz Pond is down under on the left and Candlewood Lake within the distance.
This makes for a great place to take a break and benefit from the view.
The seashore at Squantz Pond State Park is seen down under.
A zoomed in view of the picnic space at Squantz Pond State Park with Candlewood Lake simply past.
When you find yourself able to proceed, proceed forward on the Blue Path which begins a gentle descent, steeply at occasions.
On the base of the steep descent, the Blue Path splits. The path map reveals a viewpoint should you proceed straight. We adopted the path searching for out the point of view, however didn’t discover one. We even ventured off path a bit, however no luck. Maybe it’s a seasonal view or we missed it totally.
For those who skipped the seasonal view, flip left and proceed downhill on the Blue Path. For those who determined to hunt out the view, return to the junction and switch proper. The Blue Path continues its quite steep descent for an additional 510 yards till its terminus on the Forest/CCC Highway.
The path map reveals that there are a number of mountain streams that stream down into Squantz Pond. I’ve seen photos taken by others of pretty cascades flowing over massive rocks. On at the present time the streams have been dry, however after a heavy rain or throughout Spring thaw, you could have higher luck. However, we turned left and walked north a brief distance to the place the stream flows below the highway. Discovering the stream bone dry, we rotated and retraced our steps on the Forest/CCC Highway.
From the junction of the Blue Path proceed south on the Forest/CCC Highway which descends regularly, passing attention-grabbing rock formations and large boulders alongside the best way.
Quickly the Forest/CCC Highway begins to climb regularly and passes over one other dry stream. A brief distance later, the highway involves a junction with the Yellow Path which begins on the precise, marked by a put up.
Flip proper on the Yellow Path and observe it because it heads uphill, gaining all of the elevation that you just misplaced on the best way down. For the subsequent 1/2 mile, the path consists of quick steep ascents adopted by comparatively stage stretches on switchbacks.
Preserve your eyes on the yellow blazes as a number of unmarked woods roads converge with the path.
In simply over a 1/2 mile, the Yellow Path passes the junction with the Blue Path from earlier within the hike. Proceed forward on the Yellow Path (the quick part that you just took early within the hike) for an additional 265 ft.
The blazes signaling a proper flip are partially hidden by foliage. On the junction flip proper to stay on the Yellow Path. The Orange Path which you started your hike on, is on the left.
The Yellow Path descends regularly by the forest, heading north.
The Yellow Path quickly leaves the State Forest and enters property owned by the Candlewood Valley Regional Land Belief.
The Yellow Path ends on the Forest/CCC Highway. Flip left and observe the fireplace highway uphill for a couple of 1/2 mile, passing the junction with the Orange Path and again to the car parking zone, the place the hike started.
A extremely good hike that sees little foot visitors. The paths we took have been totally shaded which makes it a fantastic hike for decent sunny days. The view is value a go to by itself, however the geological make-up of the world retains the hike attention-grabbing as effectively. The paths are effectively marked and the fireplace roads are simple to observe. The paths at Pootatuck State Forest might be mixed with these at Squantz Pond State Park to kind longer loop hikes. The world was freed from trash, should you go to, please maintain it that manner.
Very stunning forest, rock formations, scenic view, quiet space.
Take a hike!