Cockaponset State Forest

The Cockaponset State Forest is the second largest state forest in Connecticut. It was named after a Native American chief buried in the Ponset section of Haddam and a portion of the forest was declared a National Natural Landmark in May 1973. The forest includes over 100 miles of trails within the Cockaponset State Forest that are perfect for hiking, biking, or horse riding.  Pine Ledge is a popular rock climbing place within Cockaponset Forest with the rocky cliff being as high as 60 feet. The recreational development of the area allows guests to enjoy the woods, streams, and overall environment of the forest.

Hiking Trails

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) has a 20-mile trail system based around Pattaconk Reservoir Recreation Area near Chester. The scenic Pattaconk Lake is the centerpiece for this area and it is used for swimming, fishing and paddling. Some trails are specifically for footpath only, while others allow mountain bikes or horses. The CT DEEP has maps detailing only 20 miles of trails although there are over 100 miles of trails within Cockaponset State Forest.

Rock Climbing

Pine Ledge is located about a half mile west of Deep River, Connecticut and is within the Cockaponset State Forest grounds. It is a very popular rock climbing destination with the rocky cliff being as high as 60 feet at its southern end and it extends for about a half mile north. The greater Pine Ledge area has become popular for local riders even though the use of all-terrain vehicles has not been officially approved. Vehicles have utilized some of the abandoned roads as trails. There are footpaths throughout the Pine Ledge rock climbing area that give guests access to the remote cliff edges.


This is a massive forest that goes through multiple towns! Lots of trails to hike on and Pattaconk Lake is great for fishing (the lake is stocked each spring for opening day of fishing). There is a nice beach area and small pier for swimming, just be careful near the dam/waterfall area. It's also nice for kayaking, just be aware that you will need to walk the kayaks from the parking area (not too far) - there is no boat launch. Common place for picnics and dog walking as well.
Hiking, Swimming & Fishing. Samantha, Trip Advisor