Published July 07. 2011 4:00AM Updated May 02. 2013 11:14AM
Chatfield Hollow State Park
Directions: Take I-95 to Exit 63. Follow Route 81 north to Route 80 west.
Where to Park: Free parking for hikers just inside park entrance, in front of gate. There are separate parking fees for cars that wish to park within Chatfield Hollow.
Description: The trip to get to Chatfield Hollow along the picturesque Route 80 corridor is reason enough to visit. Once you get there, numerous blazed hiking trails offer varying degrees of exercise, and a paved loop is ideal for dog-walkers and families. Picnic areas and a large beach/swimming area make for great gathering spaces. Several spots will beckon to fishermen. The Paul F. Wildermann Boardwalk takes walkers on an alternate route through the park's abundant foliage — a prime location for bird watching.
Regulations: 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.
Amenities: Bathrooms, changing rooms, picnic shelters, picnic tables, pond and stream
fishing, beach and swimming area.
Natural Features: From a bedrock of Monson Gneiss, "Chatfield Hollow Brook flows toward Long Island Sound between two high ridges covered with oak, beech, and hickory," according to the CT DEP website.
A hike on the Chimney Trail (blazed in green) takes hikers to a large outcrop of Monson
Gneiss in which the adventurous will find small rock-fall caves.
Other features include the seven-acre Schreeder Pond, a cooling promenade of tall pines and a designated trout pond.
Fees: Fees are charged per vehicle, if parking within Chatfield Hollow. Weekdays: $6 CT registered vehicle, $10 out-of-state registered vehicle; Weekends and holidays: $9 CT registered vehicle, $15 out-of-state registered vehicle
Things to Note: The park is open from sunrise to sunset. Gates open at 8 a.m. on the third Saturday in April, to coincide with opening day of fishing, and close the day after
Columbus Day, in October.
Owned by: State of Connecticut
More information: http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?A=2716&Q=325182#facilities