Day Pond State Park / Salmon River State Forest
180 acres in Colchester, CT
Parking: Turn left at 28 Peck Ln Colchester, CT and follow the road to a couple medium sized lots (depending on the season)
Though the Day Pond park property itself is technically small it is so closely linked with this section of the Salmon River State Forest that I’ll consider them the same. Together they offer over 8 miles of trails including the Salmon River Trail that connects to the Comstock Bridge, one of CT’s covered bridges.
From Day Pond starting out on the south loop will head off into the woods and past a very large erratic. A trail junction sign sits on the hill just past a utility corridor with the left option heading downhill for 2 miles towards the Salmon River and the Comstock Bridge. And the right heading towards Day Pond Falls.
The Day Pond Brook Spur Trail was created in 2010 by a local Eagle Scout and leads to a waterfall which is one of Peter Marteka’s favorites. I visited them for the first time on a trail run with a friend in 2018. Near the upper falls is a fire ring surrounded by log seating that would be a fantastic camping spot if it were allowed. There are three main plunges that total for a drop of about 40 feet. They were great even in the dry summer. After passing some foundations and an old cellar hole you can continue on the North Loop trail over mixed terrain for 1.35 miles back to Day Pond.
The Salmon River trail has a few hundred feet of elevation change between Day Pond and the Comstock Bridge and is a very scenic hike. The sections along the Salmon River are beautiful and peaceful. On busy summer days, you’ll often see families set up on the banks or fly fisherman casting by the bridge.
The remains of Day Pond Road also cross the property. The trail is a wide downhill path that has eroded down to a rocky base. Water is often streaming down lengthly sections. The first half is part of the CT Horse Council recommended trail which breaks off at the utility corridor. A bit further you’ll pass an old rusted car and from here the trail becomes less traveled/maintained. I followed it all the way down to the Salmon River curious about the scenic vista on the map. My surprise was a nice sandy beach with huge foundations on both sides of a wide stretch of river. The area had fishing regulation signs. The trail also continues along the high banks of the river for about another 1.5 miles as some sort of mountain bike loop. I turned around at a No Trespassing sign and recorded the below map back to Day Pond.
In addition to hiking the park offers swimming and a beach at Day Pond with direct access (open gates) from the third Saturday in April until Columbus Day. There is also a pavilion and several picnic areas. Fishing is possible at Day Pond and seem to be just as popular along the Salmon River.
Established as a park in 1949, the site is a former sawmill and man-made pond by the Day family.
Waterfalls of New England – Day Pond Brook Falls