Hiking

Pine Hill Loop – Pootatuck State Forest

July 31, 2021 – New Fairfield, Connecticut

Issue: Reasonable

Size: Roughly 3.6 miles

Max elevation: 1,224 ft.– complete elevation achieve roughly 719 ft.

Route sort: Determine-8 Loop

Map: Pootatuck State Forest Path Map – DEEP

Avenza App Map (Free): Pootatuck State Forest Path Map for Avenza

Trailhead parking: 230 Pine Hill Highway – New Fairfield, CT 06812

No loos on website – No entrance or parking charges

Parking for roughly 15 autos in a gravel lot on the Pine Hill trailhead.


Overview:

Pootatuck State Forest is sort of 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 embody climbing, mountain biking, letterboxing, looking, birdwatching, snowmobiling, and cross-country snowboarding.

Pine Hill Trailhead - Pootatuck State Forest

Pine Hill Trailhead – Pootatuck State Forest

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 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, attention-grabbing rock formations and seasonal mountain streams with a scenic view from a rock outcrop, overlooking Squantz Pond and Candlewood Lake.

Blue Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Path – Pootatuck State Forest


Historical past:

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 – Might 24, 1933 to Oct. 30, 1935) on the adjoining Squantz Pond State Park. The CCC was very energetic within the Forest. They planted bushes, constructed roads and fireplace ponds, salvaged dying chestnut bushes 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 are nonetheless in use right this moment.


Trails Overview:

Pootatuck State Forest gives 5 miles of trails “with varied levels of issue.” The official trails are a mix of marked footpaths/outdated charcoal-wagon roads and wider unmarked fireplace 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 today have been nearly completely shaded by dense tree cowl.

Pootatuck State Forest Map

Pootatuck State Forest Map

The marked trails are properly blazed and maintained. The fireplace roads, though not blazed are in nice form and simple to comply with.


Hike Overview:

Nonetheless coping with some knee points, I used to be looking for a average brief 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 disenchanted. 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 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.

Pine Hill Loop - Pootatuck State Forest

Pine Hill Loop – Pootatuck State Forest

This hike descends from the highest of the mountain initially, leaving a variety of the elevation achieve in direction of the again finish. Though I’ve rated it as average, there are some brief steep descents on the Blue Path and a sustained ascent alongside the Yellow Path from the Hearth Highway.

elevation profile - Pootatuck State Forest

elevation profile – Pootatuck State Forest


The Hike:

On the again finish of the parking zone, stroll previous the metallic barrier onto the hearth highway, labeled on the path map as “Forest/CCC Highway.” Proceed forward on the Forest/CCC Highway for about 300 toes till you attain the beginning of the Orange Path which begins on the fitting.

Pine Hill Trailhead – Pootatuck State Forest

Pine Hill Trailhead – Pootatuck State Forest

Pine Hill Trailhead – Pootatuck State Forest

Pine Hill Trailhead – Pootatuck State Forest

This space was hit fairly laborious by a twister again in Might 2018. All the time keep alert for “widow-makers.”

Pine Hill Trailhead – Pootatuck State Forest

Pine Hill Trailhead – Pootatuck State Forest

Fire Road - Pootatuck State Forest

Hearth Highway – Pootatuck State Forest

The Forest/CCC Highway continues forward and can 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 fitting. Proceed forward following the orange blazes.

Turn right on Orange Trail

Flip proper on Orange Path

Orange Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Orange Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Orange Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Orange Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Continue straight on Orange Trail

Proceed straight on Orange Path

Orange Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Orange Path – Pootatuck State Forest

In just 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 comply with it for about 265 toes till you attain a junction with the Blue Path, which begins on the left.

Turn right on Yellow Trail

Flip proper on Yellow Path

Yellow Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Yellow Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Flip left on the Blue Path which dips down a little bit then climbs progressively on a large rocky path. Observe the blue blazes for roughly 400 yards till you attain a rocky outcrop that overlooks Squantz Pond and Candlewood Lake.

Turn left on Blue Trail

Flip left on Blue Path

Blue Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Squantz Pond is down beneath on the left and Candlewood Lake within the distance.

Blue Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Path – Pootatuck State Forest

This makes for a great place to take a break and benefit from the view.

Blue Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Path – Pootatuck State Forest

The seaside at Squantz Pond State Park is seen down beneath.

Blue Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Path – Pootatuck State Forest

A zoomed in view of the picnic space at Squantz Pond State Park with Candlewood Lake simply past.

Blue Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Path – Pootatuck State Forest

When you’re able to proceed, proceed forward on the Blue Path which begins a gradual descent, steeply at instances.

Blue Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Path – Pootatuck State Forest

On the base of the steep descent, the Blue Path splits. The path map exhibits a viewpoint in case you 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 completely.

Blue Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Seasonal view?

Blue Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Path – Pootatuck State Forest

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 fairly steep descent for an additional 510 yards till its terminus on the Forest/CCC Highway.

Blue Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Blue Path – Pootatuck State Forest

The path map exhibits that there are a number of mountain streams that circulation down into Squantz Pond. I’ve seen photographs taken by others of beautiful cascades flowing over giant rocks. On today the streams have been dry, however after a heavy rain or throughout Spring thaw, you might have higher luck. However, we turned left and walked north a brief distance to the place the stream flows beneath the highway. Discovering the stream bone dry, we circled and retraced our steps on the Forest/CCC Highway.

End of Blue Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Finish of Blue Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Road - Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Highway – Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Road - Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Highway – Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Road - Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Highway – Pootatuck State Forest

From the junction of the Blue Path proceed south on the Forest/CCC Highway which descends progressively, passing attention-grabbing rock formations and big boulders alongside the way in which.

Forest/CCC Road - Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Highway – Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Road - Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Highway – Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Road - Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Highway – Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Road - Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Highway – Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Road - Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Highway – Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Road - Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Highway – Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Road - Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Highway – Pootatuck State Forest

Quickly the Forest/CCC Highway begins to climb progressively and passes over one other dry stream. A brief distance later, the highway involves a junction with the Yellow Path which begins on the fitting, marked by a put up.

Forest/CCC Road - Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Highway – Pootatuck State Forest

Turn right on Yellow Trail

Flip proper on Yellow Path

Flip proper on the Yellow Path and comply with it because it heads uphill, gaining all of the elevation that you just misplaced on the way in which down. For the subsequent 1/2 mile, the path consists of brief steep ascents adopted by comparatively stage stretches on switchbacks.

Yellow Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Yellow Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Preserve your eyes on the yellow blazes as a number of unmarked woods roads converge with the path.

Yellow Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Yellow Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Yellow Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Yellow Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Yellow Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Yellow Path – Pootatuck State Forest

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 brief part that you just took early within the hike) for an additional 265 toes.

Yellow Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Yellow Path – Pootatuck State Forest

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.

Yellow Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Yellow Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Turn right to remain on Yellow Trail

Flip proper to stay on Yellow Path

The Yellow Path descends progressively by means of the forest, heading north.

Yellow Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Yellow Path – Pootatuck State Forest

The Yellow Path briefly leaves the State Forest and enters property owned by the Candlewood Valley Regional Land Belief.

Yellow Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Yellow Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Yellow Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Yellow Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Yellow Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Yellow Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Yellow Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Yellow Path – Pootatuck State Forest

Yellow Trail - Pootatuck State Forest

Yellow Path – Pootatuck State Forest

The Yellow Path ends on the Forest/CCC Highway. Flip left and comply with the hearth highway uphill for a few 1/2 mile, passing the junction with the Orange Path and again to the parking zone, the place the hike started.

Turn left on Forest/CCC Road

Flip left on Forest/CCC Highway

Forest/CCC Road - Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Highway – Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Road - Pootatuck State Forest

Forest/CCC Highway – Pootatuck State Forest

Pine Hill Trailhead – Pootatuck State Forest

Pine Hill Trailhead – Pootatuck State Forest


Evaluation:

A extremely good hike that sees little foot visitors. The paths we took have been completely shaded which makes it an amazing hike for decent sunny days. The view is price a go to by itself, however the geological make-up of the realm retains the hike attention-grabbing as properly. The paths are properly marked and the hearth roads are straightforward to comply with. The paths at Pootatuck State Forest might be mixed with these at Squantz Pond State Park to type longer loop hikes. The realm was freed from trash, in case you go to, please preserve it that approach.

Execs:

Very stunning forest, rock formations, scenic view, quiet space.

Cons:

None.


Take a hike!

Pine Hill Loop – Pootatuck State Forest

Pine Hill Loop – Pootatuck State Forest


Sources:




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