James L. Goodwin State Forest
Connecticut State Forest
2,003 acres in Hampton and Chaplin, CT
Parking: Lot at 23 Potter Rd, Hampton, CT
Goodwin State Forest provides one of the most complete nature experiences in the quiet corner of Connecticut. The Goodwin Conservation Center provides educational classes and guided hikes year round on everything from Master Naturalist Program to building a survival camp to animal tracking. Goodwin is the southern terminus of the blue blaze Natchaug Trail with over 3 miles passing old homestead foundations and the Orchard Hill overlook.
Shorter hikes can be found heading east around the 135 acre Pine Acres Pond. Options include the yellow loop around Brown Hill Marsh, the red trail out to Governor’s Island. In 2012, the Friends of Goodwin Forest built a new viewing platform on the island to replace one built by Forester Bob Garrepy sometime in the early 1970s.
Another option is the rocky blue/white trail that navigates the pond’s edge before passing Black Spruce Pond and reconnecting with the Natchaug trail for nearly about six mile hiking loop. The Airline Trail State Park also passes through the forest providing a long wide flat trail that connects with other properties nearby.
Other features include the 1.6 acre Richard D. Haley Native Plant Wildlife Gardens and the Forest Discovery Trail at the start of the Natchaug Trail. There is also a pavilion for picnicking that can seat 50 people, a boat launch for fishing or boating, youth group camping, and historical information kiosks.
A History of Pine Acres Farm by James L. Goodwin
Peter Marteka – A Journey To A Windswept Island In Goodwin State Forest
Steve at CTMQ – TSTL’16.7: James L. Goodwin Forest
Steve Broderick, Friends of Goodwin Forest build new observation platform. CFPA Woodlands Winter 2012. pg 26