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Connecticut State Parks

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USA Parks
River Valley Region
Bigelow Hollow State Park
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Bigelow Hollow State Park Family Canoe © June L. Mita
At the hollow there is a boat launch where you can bring a boat, even an inflatable, and go through the water. Motors are not allowed on Mashapaug Pond. This family found something interesting on the far bank.
Bigelow Hollow State Park © June L. Mita
Bigelow Hollow State Park Lazy Afternoon © June L. Mita
I am not sure it is right to go swimming or tubing at the hollow, but there were so many folks in the water I guess it must be okay.
Bigelow Hollow State Park Mashapaug Pond © June L. Mita
This is a portion of Mashapaug Pond at the hollow. It is near the picnic area off the road that leads to the boat launch.
Bigelow Hollow State Park Red Squirrel © June L. Mita
One thing in abundance at the hollow are red squirrels. They are everywhere, and like to come up to an empty table with food on it and grab a few morsels.
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166 Chestnut Hill Road
Stafford Springs, Connecticut   06076

Phone: 860-684-3430
Toll Free: 866-287-2757
Email: park email button icon
Bigelow Hollow State Park and the adjoining Nipmuck State Forest offer over 9,000 acres of recreation opportunities including miles of hiking trails and an 18-acre pond in Eastern Connecticut.
History of the Area
Nipmuck State Forest and Bigelow Hollow State Park in the town of Union lie within one of the largest unbroken forest areas in Eastern Connecticut. Nipmuck is the second oldest state forest in Connecticut. The first parcel was acquired in 1905. Additional lands in the towns of Stafford, Ashford, Willington, and Woodstock have been added to the forest over the years. Today Nipmuck State Forest and Bigelow Hollow total over 9,000 acres. The recreation area in Bigelow Hollow was established in 1949 by the State Park and Forest Commission.

The name "Bigelow" is a mystery since no person of that name seems to have been associated with this area. According to older residents of Union, the name is derived from "Big Low" in reference to the deep hollow in which the 18-acre pond of that name is located. The word "Mashapaug" is the Nipmuck Indian word for "Great Pond". The present lake of 300 acres was originally about half the size. In the mid-1880's, two different parties attempted to draw the water from this natural pond. One party ditched to the north and the other to the south. The latter party was forced to give up the battle when they ran into a ledge and later joined forces with their rivals to create the present lake. Two other smaller ponds, Breakneck and Griggs, lie to the north and east of Mashapaug in Nipmuck State Forest.The contrast of rock, water, and mixed deciduous/evergreen woodland provide ample beauty to the many visitors this park receives.
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 Accommodations
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Friendship Valley Inn - Brooklyn, CT
BBs / Inns
A Bed Breakfast in the Quiet Corner of Northeast Connecticut on Route 169, a National Scenic Byway.
17.9 miles from park*
Bigelow Hollow State Park offers a freshwater swimming area at Mashapaug Lake. No lifeguards on duty; swim at your own risk.
The park offers freshwater fishing in ponds and lakes. Anglers can catch largemouth bass, trout, pickerel, perch, and sunfish.

Bigelow Hollow State Park offers scenic picnic spots by Mashapaug Lake. Tables available, bring a blanket for grassy areas. Grilling permitted; pack out trash. Enjoy hiking trails nearby after lunch.
Marked trails lead from Bigelow Hollow to the Breakneck area, but no trail in this area is a loop trail. Hikers should be prepared to walk at least 6 miles to complete a loop around Breakneck. There are no marked trails to Briggs pond. For hikers desiring trails that start and end in the same place, the trails west of the park road both form loops and cover less of a distance than the trails leading to Breakneck. This extensive trail system is maintained in cooperation with the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, which provides volunteer assistance. For information on volunteering for trail activities throughout the state contact the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, 16 Meriden Road, Rockfall, CT 06481;
Area Attractions
Quaddick State Park, Thompson Location: 7 miles northeast of Putnam via East Putnam Road off 44. Activities: Pond Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Picnicking, Field Sports. Charge: Weekends and holidays. Bigelow Hollow State Park Bigelow Hollow State Park

Shenipsit State Forest, Stafford Springs. Location: 15 miles west on Route 190Activities: CCC Museum, Hiking, Lookout Tower, Picnicking, Winter Recreation Charge: None

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
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Area Campgrounds
Sun Valley Beach Club
51 Old Springfield Road
Stafford, CT
Mineral Springs Family Campground
135 Leonard Road
Stafford Springs, CT
Brialee RV & Tent Park Inc
174 Laurel Lane
Ashford, CT
Nickerson Park Campground
1036 Phoenixville Road
Chaplin, CT
Charlie Brown Campground
98 Chaplin Road
Eastford, CT
Peppertree Camping
146 Chaplin Road
Eastford, CT
Beaver Pines Campground
1728 Route 198
Woodstock, CT
Chamberlain Lake Campground
1397 Route 197
Woodstock, CT
Roaring Brook Cooperative Campground
Route 190 8 South Road
Stafford Springs, CT
Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
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Located on over 100 wooded lakefront acres, overlooking Ashland State Park. Right out our front door you get to truly enjoy the great outdoors. Easy access to trails for hiking, and an area for swimming. Come and enjoy all that Ashland State Park has to offer, and stay at the Warren Center right next door.
38 miles from park*
Nearby Hotels

Bigelow Hollow State Park is located on Route 171 and can be reached via I-84. Take Exit 73 or 74, then follow Route 190 north to Route 171 east to the park entrance.

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Connecticut State Parks