July 31, 2021 – New Fairfield, Connecticut
Size: Roughly 3.6 miles
Max elevation: 1,224 ft.– complete 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 website – No entrance or parking charges
Parking for about 15 automobiles in a gravel lot on the Pine Hill trailhead.
Pootatuck State Forest is sort of 1,200 acres. It’s situated primarily in New Fairfield, with a small portion in Sherman. The principle block of the Forest rises steeply from the western shore of Squantz Pond. The paths could be accessed from Squantz Pond State Park trails in addition to from the Pine Hill Trailhead, off of Pine Hill Highway. Leisure actions embrace climbing, mountain biking, letterboxing, looking, 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 principle property and Squantz Pond State Park.
- The Western Pootatuck State Forest parcel is situated north of Beaver Bathroom Highway simply west of the intersection of Beaver Bathroom 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 Bathroom Highway and Quick Woods Highway.
Pootatuck State Forest is comprised of steep wooded slopes, fascinating 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.
A lot 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 fireplace ponds, salvaged dying chestnut timber for posts and poles, and did forest thinnings to supply firewood. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) left a legacy of climbing trails and fireplace roads in Pootatuck State Forest which can be nonetheless in use at this time.
Pootatuck State Forest gives 5 miles of trails “with varied levels of issue.” The official trails are a mixture of marked footpaths/previous charcoal-wagon roads and wider unmarked fireplace roads that had 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 could be mixed with these in Squantz Pond State Park. The paths that had been hiked on at the present time had been virtually solely shaded by dense tree cowl.
The marked trails are properly 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 looking for a average 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. This can be 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 some other hikers till we had 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 at the beginning, leaving a variety of the elevation achieve in direction of the again finish. Though I’ve rated it as average, 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 hearth street, 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 arduous by a twister again in Could 2018. At all times keep alert for “widow-makers.”
The Forest/CCC Highway continues forward and will probably be your return route, however for now flip proper on the Orange Path because it heads in an easterly course. In about 475 yards, the Orange Path passes an unmarked woods street 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 step by step on a large rocky path. Observe the blue blazes for about 400 yards till you attain a rocky outcrop that overlooks Squantz Pond and Candlewood Lake.
Squantz Pond is down beneath 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 beneath.
A zoomed in view of the picnic space at Squantz Pond State Park with Candlewood Lake simply past.
If you end up 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 exhibits a viewpoint for those who proceed straight. We adopted the path in search of 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 solely.
In the event you skipped the seasonal view, flip left and proceed downhill on the Blue Path. In the event you determined to hunt out the view, return to the junction and switch proper. The Blue Path continues its slightly steep descent for one more 510 yards till its terminus on the Forest/CCC Highway.
The path map exhibits that there are a number of mountain streams that circulate down into Squantz Pond. I’ve seen pictures taken by others of beautiful cascades flowing over giant rocks. On at the present time the streams had been dry, however after a heavy rain or throughout Spring thaw, you’ll have higher luck. However, we turned left and walked north a brief distance to the place the stream flows underneath the street. 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 step by step, passing fascinating rock formations and big boulders alongside the way in which.
Quickly the Forest/CCC Highway begins to climb step by step and passes over one other dry stream. A brief distance later, the street 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 way in which down. For the following 1/2 mile, the path consists of quick steep ascents adopted by comparatively stage stretches on switchbacks.
Maintain 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 one more 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 step by step by the forest, heading north.
The Yellow Path briefly 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 hearth street 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 very good hike that sees little foot site visitors. The paths we took had been solely shaded which makes it an incredible 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 fascinating as properly. The paths are properly marked and the hearth roads are simple to observe. The paths at Pootatuck State Forest could be mixed with these at Squantz Pond State Park to type longer loop hikes. The realm was freed from trash, for those who go to, please preserve it that means.
Very stunning forest, rock formations, scenic view, quiet space.
Take a hike!