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Connecticut's Litchfield region has fine state and local parks

462 Kent Cornwall Road (Route 7) Kent, CT Phone: 860-927-3238

Cascading waterfall, covered bridge, hiking trails. Great for picnics, walking

Kent Falls is a series of waterfalls that descends in stages from a height of 200 feet to drain into the Housatonic River. Lots of interesting rocky stream beds to explore. The flow is heaviest in spring, but the falls are dramatic year-round. Great places for picnics. There is an authentic covered bridge to explore. Mapped hiking trails surround the area. Swimming prohibited. Alcoholic beverages prohibited. Park has bathrooms and grills and picnic tables. Park is open 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Parking fee weekends and holidays is $9 to $15. No charge to park on weekdays. Hiking map

Lake McDonough Park

Route 219 Barkhamsted, CT, 06063 Phone: 860-379-3036

Water sports and a boat launch; Braille-marked walking trail

Swimming, boating, fishing, picnicking, hiking on a Braille-marked trail (by reservation only); boat launch. Fishing allowed through November. Boat rentals are $5 per hour. The park is open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday and holidays, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Boating and shore fishing: late April- Labor Day.

1400 George's Hill Road (Off I-84 at Exit 15) Southbury, CT Phone: 860-424-3200

Lots of water sports are done at this park on the Housatonic River; also near Lake Zoar

Visitors can enjoy nature programs, fishing, hiking trails (including one for the handicapped), swimming and picnic areas. The adjacent Housatonic River and nearby Lake Zoar make this park popular for water sports and fishing. Also, Kettletown Campground offers 63 sites in both open and wooded settings.
Admission: Parking fee is $9 for state-registered vehicles and $15 for out-of-state vehicles
Camping map.
Hiking map.

Route 7 Sharon, CT Phone: 860-927-3238

Wooded campgrounds; fly fishing for trout and bass in the Housatonic River

Housatonic Meadows offers many outdoor activities, with an emphasis on fly fishing for trout and bass in the Housatonic River. A two-mile stretch of river (including the park shore) is limited to fly fishing. Camp sites are located in groves of tall pine trees. Housatonic Meadow Campground has 95 sites; the camping season begins in mid-May and ends September 30. Campground has bathrooms and showers. Hiking map. Campground map.

Watertown Road (Route 6) Thomaston, CT Phone: 860-283-8088

Camping, trout fishing, water sports, picnicking

Black Rock offers excellent swimming, hiking, scenic views, and Indian legend all tucked into the scenic rolling hills of the western highlands of Connecticut. Black Rock Campground has 96 sites in a wooded setting. The camping season is mid-April through September 30. This is a designated trout park. Activities include picnicking, field sports, swimming, and pond fishing. Facilities: bathrooms, food concessions, picnic tables.
Hours: Gates are open on weekends only from the third Saturday in April until Memorial Day, 8 a.m. to sunset. From Memorial Day to October 31, they are open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset.
Admission: There is a daily parking fee in season. Campsite fees are charged separately.

Between Center Hill Road (Route 181) and East River Road [see map] Barkhamsted, CT Phone: 860-379-0922

Large forests offer all outdoor recreation: camping, water sports, extensive hiking trails

These two adjacent state forests are located along the west branch of the Farmington River, named a wild and scenic river by the National Park Service. The two parks offer year-round outdoor activities, including trout fishing, canoeing, kayaking and tubing on the river; several extensive hiking trails around rocky formations and old mills; 30 campsites (at the American Legion Forest); and the Barkhamsted Lighthouse (in Peoples State Forest). There are lots of places for picnicking and field sports. Winter activities include cross country skiing and snowmobiling.
Campground map for American Legion State Forest
Hiking map for American Legion and Peoples State Forests.

Route 45 New Preston, CT Phone: 860-868-2592

Beautiful lake for swimming, paddling (car-top boating), and picnicking

This beautiful blue lake welcomes visitors for water sports, including swimming and car-top boating. Dozens of campsites are situated in wooded and open settings at Lake Waramaug Campground. The campground has concessions, dumping station, bathrooms, showers. Pets not allowed. The camping season is from mid-May to September 30. There is a weekend/holiday parking fee and a campsite fee at this park.
Park map.

384 Burr Mountain Road Torrington, CT Phone: 860-482-1817

Pond has beach for swimming, canoe & kayak rentals, trails around the shoreline

Visitors can enjoy swimming from the beach, picnicking, hiking the perimeter of the pond, and boating at this pretty park. Visitors may rent canoes and kayaks.
Hiking map.

Buell Road Litchfield, CT Phone: 860-567-5694

Historic mansion offers summer tours; grounds for walking, picnicking, sledding

Topsmead has a mansion, the summer estate of Edith Morton Chase, set on 511 acres. During the summer the house is open for tours. The grounds are open year-round and feature hiking, sledding, cross country skiing, as well as picnic areas. Numerous trails and unpaved lanes are available for walking. In addition, the Edith M. Chase Ecology Trail offers a one-mile walk with interpretive signs.
Hours: The grounds are open from 8 a.m. to sunset.
Admission: Free

4 Straits Tpk. Middlebury, CT, 06762 Phone: 203-729-8840

Day park offers water sports on the lake, picnicking, fishing, and trails for walking

This nice day park is centered upon Hop Brook Lake. The lake has a sandy beach and is open for swimming, paddling, rowing, and fishing. Fishing may be done on the lake and its streams, which are stocked with brown, brook, and rainbow trout. Bass and panfish are also found in the lake. Hikers will find over seven miles of trails winding through the woods and meadows at Hop Brook Lake. An 11-hole disc golf course is also located within the park. Facilities include flush toilets, drinking water, ball fields, volleyball courts, and horseshoe pit.

178 Shortwoods Road New Fairfield, CT, 06810 Phone: 203-312-5023

Pond is centerpiece of wooded park with beach, swimming, boating, hiking trails, ice skating, cross country skiing

This year-round recreation area is centered upon a cool, blue pond where visitors enjoy boating, fishing, swimming from a sand beach, picnicking, and, in winter, ice skating and cross country skiing. Canoes and kayaks are available to rent. Hiking trails travel through the adjacent woods. Hiking map.

Route 202 Litchfield, CT Phone: 860-567-8870

Water sports in the lake; hiking to tower at mountain top

This park is for two main purposes: fresh-water swimming, fishing, scuba diving, or non-motorized boating in the lake; and hiking to a lookout tower atop Mount Tom, 1,325 feet above sea level. Admission: Parking fee is $6 to $15.
Facilities: bathrooms, concession, change houses. Park map.