Explore the Natchaug

Hiking the Natchaug

The Natchaug Trail winds its way through over 19 miles of the of the Natchaug State Forest and the James L. Goodwin State Forest.

The forest immediately behind Nickerson Park Family Campground houses loops of the Blue Trail, and the CCC (Blue-Yellow) Trail, as well as miles of multi-use trails and gravel roads, perfect for short hikes, or day-packing.

Nickerson Park is perfectly situated along one of the river trails, allowing hikers to exit the North End of the campground, hike the eastern ridge of the valley, and reenter at the South End of the campground.

Swing by the campground office to pick up a map of the local trails.

Birding and Wildlife

The forests around Nickerson Park contain a network of streams, vernal pools, meadows, and beaver ponds, supporting a wide range of wildlife, including turkey, beaver, bobcat, deer, porcupines, coyote, and many others.

During migrations, the Natchaug River and Beaver Pond fill with an assortment of ducks, geese, and swan. In the evenings, the tree-lines along local fields provide locations for spotting owls or treeing raccoons.

Checklist of Connecticut Birds

The state of Connecticut is home to 12 species of salamanders, including the Spotted and Marbled Salamanders, and 7 species of frogs, including the gray tree-frog and pickerel frog.

The wetlands and vernal ponds at the North End of Nickerson Park are perfect for both experienced herpetologists and children alike to splash around and make some slimy friends.

Boating and Water Sports

In addition to tubing, canoeing, and kayaking the Natchaug River, Nickerson Park is centrally located to Halls Pond and Mansfield Hollow Lake.

Halls Pond, located just 3 miles from Nickerson Park, offers 12 small islands and over 82 acres of serine water to explore and fish. This hidden gem is perfect for paddling and small boats.

Mansfield Hollow Lake is a man-made reservoir that stretches across 440 acres, and is located a short drive from the campground. Open from 8 a.m. to sunset, Mansfield Hollow State Park offers shaded picnic areas, and miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing.

DEEP Map of Halls Pond

DEEP Map of Mansfield Hollow State Park


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