You must be signed in to save park lists.
Your Park Lists
add New List
Add Photo
You must be signed in to add photos.
state route ranger badge

Connecticut State Parks

responsive menu icon
USA Parks
Litchfield Hills Region
Algonquin State Forest
Robin ©
Keep On Leash ©
Availability Search
Algonquin State Forest began as 92 acres in 1937, and has grown to a size of 2,545 acres today. The forest consists of several parcels in the towns of Colebrook and Winchester. The largest piece of the forest is along Sandy Brook in Colebrook. Most of the early acquisitions of Algonquin State Forest were gifts to the State. The name 'Algonquin' is an Indian name.

The forest is managed for sawtimber, firewood, wildlife habitat, and recreational activities such as hiking, hunting, fishing, and bird watching.
History of the Area
Algonquin State Forest, located in the towns of Colebrook and Barkhamsted in Northwestern Connecticut, has a rich history dating back centuries. The area was originally home to Native American tribes, predominantly the Algonquian-speaking peoples of the Eastern Woodlands. The forest gets its name from these tribes.

During the 17th century, European colonizers began arriving in the region, including the Dutch, English, and French. Connecticut was part of the English colonies, and European settlement gradually displaced the native tribes. The forest area was utilized for hunting, fishing, and farming by the European settlers.

By the early 20th century, with increasing industrialization and rapid urban development, concerns arose about preserving natural landscapes, particularly forests. In 1905, the Connecticut General Assembly passed the State Park Act, which authorized the establishment of state parks and forests. Algonquin State Forest was formally established in 1909, making it one of the oldest state forests in Connecticut.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a work relief program during the Great Depression, played a significant role in the development of Algonquin State Forest. CCC workers were employed in various conservation projects, including road construction, fire tower construction, forest management, and reforestation efforts in the forest. The CCC camps were disbanded after World War II, but their impact on the development of the state forest remains evident to this day.

Algonquin State Forest was established primarily for timber production, watershed protection, and recreational purposes. The forest covers around 2,200 acres and features diverse ecosystems, including mixed-hardwood forests, coniferous plantations, and wetlands. Several water bodies, such as Colebrook River Lake and West Branch Reservoir, provide opportunities for boating, fishing, and other water-based activities.

Algonquin State Forest has been managed with a focus on sustainable forestry practices, wildlife conservation, and outdoor recreation. The forest offers various recreational activities, including hiking, nature observation, camping, picnicking, and hunting (during specific seasons).

Algonquin State Forest serves as a valuable natural resource, offering visitors the chance to experience Connecticut's natural beauty while preserving its historical legacy.
Connecticut has made state parks, forests, trails, historic sites and beaches more accessible to our residents so they can enjoy the many attractions and beauty they offer. Under the Passport to the Parks program, parking fees are now eliminated at Connecticut State Parks for those with Connecticut registered vehicles. You can view the CONNECTICUT PASSPORT TO THE PARKS web page to learn more.
Nearby Vacation Rentals
Search for a vacation rental

1. Nipmuck Trail: This 36-mile long trail is one of the oldest in Connecticut, offering hikers a chance to explore deep forests and beautiful water bodies within Algonquin State Forest.

2. Bigelow Hollow Loop: A moderately challenging hike that spans about six miles through dense woods with several steep inclines and declines along the way.

3. Breakneck Pond Loop via Nipmuck Trail & Park Road: An approximately nine mile loop featuring scenic views of Breakneck pond, this route offers moderate difficulty level for experienced hikers seeking solitude amidst nature's beauty.

4. Mashapaug Lake Viewpoint Hike: This easy-to-moderate two-mile round trip takes you up to an overlook providing stunning panoramic vistas over Mashapaug Lake - perfect for sunset viewing or picnic lunches!

5. Ridge/Mashamoquet Brook/Pomfret Station/Ridge Trails Combination Route: With varying terrain across its four:and-a-half miles length including rocky outcrops, brook crossings and forested areas; it provides ample opportunities for wildlife spotting as well as enjoying seasonal wildflowers bloomings.

6. The Blue-Blazed Shenipsit Trail Section: It extends from Eastford into Stafford Springs covering around eight miles inside Algonquin State Forest boundaries showcasing diverse flora-fauna alongside historical sites like old mill ruins etc., making it popular among history buffs too apart from regular trekkers.

7. Mountain Laurel Sanctuary Pathway: Specifically designed keeping novice walkers comfortability factor under consideration hence being relatively flat yet still managing presenting enchantingly blooming state flower clusters during late spring till early summer period.

8. East Ridge to Breakneck Pond: A challenging 6-mile hike that takes you through the dense forest, along ridges and finally leads to a serene pond where hikers can relax or even take a dip.

9. Bigelow Hollow State Park Loop Trail: This is an easy-to-moderate trail spanning about six miles with beautiful views of Bigelow Hollow Lake throughout its course offering plenty opportunities for fishing as well besides hiking activities indulgence.

10. Woodstock Observation Tower Route: Though being shortest among all mentioned here barely covering one mile distance yet it rewards climbers reaching top by presenting them panoramic surrounding areas view from atop specially constructed tower there making entire effort worthwhile indeed!

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
write a review
Share On

Area Campgrounds
White Pines Campground
232 Old North Road
Barkhamsted, CT
Lone Oak Campsites
360 Norfolk Road
East Canaan, CT

1. Start by heading onto I:84 East if you are coming from Hartford or Waterbury, or take I-84 West if you are traveling from Manchester.
2. Take Exit 69 and merge onto CT:74 toward Tolland/Stafford Springs.
3. Continue on CT:74 for approximately 4 miles until you reach a roundabout intersection with Crystal Lake Road (also known as Route 30).
4. At the roundabout, take the second exit to stay on CT:74/Crystal Lake Road.
5. Follow this road for about another mile until it intersects with Old Stafford Road; turn left onto Old Stafford Rd at that junction.
6. Continue straight ahead on Old Stafford Rd for around half a mile before turning right into Nipmuck Trail parking area.

state route ranger badge

Connecticut State Parks