Mono Pond State Park Reserve
Connecticut State Park
218 acres in Columbia, CT
Parking: Medium sized lot near 120 Hunt Rd Columbia, CT
The red or yellow blazed trails at Mono Pond basically form a figure eight hike. Starting on the yellow trail is a one mile loop with shoreline access for fishing. The red trail is mainly an out and back that parallels the shore before a quick loop back. The trails weren’t great for wildlife viewing, but they were great for wildlife listening. The plop of turtles dropping back into the water after sunning themselves, deer crashing off into the underbrush, and the slap of a beaver’s tail. Despite hugging the shoreline, the growth along the water’s edge distorts potential viewpoints.
There is a white blazed trail at the southern end of the pond that can only be accessed from the cul-de-sac at the end of Lake Ridge Dr (2 Bears Den Way for GPS). This area is known as Island Woods. The white trail is a half-mile loop that is an uneventful forested walk.
Mono Pond is a 113 acre shallow body of water. The main parking area doubles as a boat launch, canoes and kayaks are recommended since the average depth is only about 3.5 ft. The area around the boat launch is deep and clear. I’ve seen people fishing from the shore every time I’ve visited. Paddling south the water becomes filled with invasives and sediment though mostly passable for about 1/3 of a mile beyond that can be a struggle.
Mono Pond Island
An island sits in the middle of the pond and has at least three access points along the shore. The interior is young forest and I found a secret campsite in a thicket along the eastern shore. There is also a “cave” to the south amidst interesting rock formations. There are no trails on the island, but it is easily traversable even in full summer growth.
Established as a state park in 2008.
Links: Janet Lopes – State Reserve Offers Hikers, Boaters Peaceful Setting (dead link)