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Monday, September 20, 2021

Chatfield Hollow State Park - Killingworth, Connecticut

As many mourn the official end of summer, avid hikers are eagerly awaiting the cooler temperatures and disappearance of bugs, excited for fall on the trails. The end of summer/early fall is the best time to hike as the humidity drops and the black flies are no more. It's a time for backpacking trips and day trips, weeklong road trips and weekend adventures. 

Today, KW is sharing a popular Connecticut State Park loaded with a swimming pond, picnic areas, a fishing brook and of course, hiking trails. 

f i r s t  i m p r e s s i o n s 

Very beautiful park that is a popular spot to walk (a lot of families with strollers or small kids on bikes). A paved road loops around the lake and extends to the end of the park. The park has a lot of interesting sights including a restored water wheel, a covered bridge, a large pond and stream, and wooded areas. There are a lot of day-use areas with picnic tables and grills spread through the park. You can also rent an open-air shelter for private events. There is a beach and designated swimming area at the pond with large newly renovated bathrooms. An impressive boardwalk weaves its way through the marsh. There is a small network of hiking trails that runs through the park. The park also borders Cockaponset State Forest which adds additional trails to the area.  We hiked a 4-mile loop around the park and only saw two other people. While we had a nice hike and enjoyed the quiet, there was nothing "special" about the trail system (no great vistas or scenic areas). Great place to picnic or spend some time in the park but there are a lot more interesting hiking trails in the state. 

h i s t o r y 

Indians: Indians frequented the valley to fish and hunt and many artifacts found near the Indian Council Caves indicated that Native Americans sought refuge and held tribal gatherings in the area. An Indian trail also followed the brook along what is now the park road.

English Settlers: The three Chatfield brothers (from England about 1639) were believed to have operated a gristmill along the brook. Metal fragments are sometimes found near the water and it's likely that an iron smelting furnace worked native ores into metal. You can also see old building foundations, a restored waterwheel, and the covered bridge (reproduction) across Chatfield Hollow Brook.

Civilian Conservation Corps: Like many properties here in Connecticut, the Civilian Conservation Corps was involved in the park's development and in 1934, the CCC built an earth and stone dam across the brook creating the seven-acre Schreeder Pond. In 1949 Chatfield Hollow was designated as a state park.

a c t i v i t i e s  

Hiking: Indian caves, covered bridge, water wheel - trail map here
Walking: A lot of families like to use the quiet park roads to walk the loop around the lake
Picnic Areas: grills, tables, bathrooms, and a rentable open air shelter
Fishing: Pond and stream fishing (the park is a designated Trout Park)
Swimming: Guarded beach area - Check the water quality before you go

a d m i s s i o n

Free for anyone with a Connecticut License Plate. There is a weekend/holiday parking fee at Chatfield Hollow State Park for non-residents. Memorial weekend through Labor Day.

The park is open from sunrise to sunset. Gates open at 8 am on the second Saturday in April, to coincide with the opening day of fishing. They close after the first weekend in November.

k i d s  /  d o g s 

Pets on a leash are permitted. Health regulations require that pets be kept off the beach and out of the water in the swimming pond. There are dog waste stations in the park. The trails are kid-friendly (and kid in pack friendly). 

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