Forster Pond State Park
148 acres in Killingworth, CT
Parking: Small lot near 360 CT-80, Killingworth, CT
Trail Map Trails: Less than a mile Rating: ★★★☆☆
Forster Pond is one of Connecticut’s more mysterious state parks and can effectively be broken into its eastern and western sides. The eastern side of the pond is largely closed to public access and but contains a number of historic buildings and access to the pond.
The western side is open to the public and is trailed by the northern terminus of the 4.2 mile blue blaze Chatfield Trail. The best parking access is from Chatfield Hollow State Park so if that park is busy you can just cross the road for a great (much quieter) hike.
After crossing Route 80 the trail starts off into the woods over a short bridge and heads parallel to the road until crossing Chatfield Hollow Brook. A side trail the follows the brook downstream leads to a dam on the brook and the ruins of an old waterwheel and pump house. Normally these have all been torn down long ago but this one has been left to collapse over the past 50 years yet still gives a sense of what is used to look like.
Continuing on the Chatfield Trail heads up out of the hollow to a series of rocky ridges until it heads south along the steep banks of the Forster Pond. I was a bit disappointed that there aren’t any opportunities to get to the water’s edge. Heading away from the pond the forest changes from oak/hickory to tall pines with a dense understory of mountain laurel. By now you’ve left the state park and have actually been hiking in Cockaponset State Forest for a bit. Click on to the Chatfield Trail page for a complete description of the trail.
Fun fact: I actually met Tom the DEEP biologist who oversees the area while on vacation out in Oregon, he mows a design into the field (usually a peace sign) at Forster Pond each year.
Established as a state park in 1963. The have been attempts to turn the former estate into a museum.
The area is named for Frank Forster, a famed architect who built a country estate on the property in 1935 attempting to create an inland Mystic Seaport. He had Chatfield Hollow Brook damed to create the pond.
The state purchased an adjacent 41 acres to the west in 1972 from Oscar Swenson, an inventor who brought electricity to his house with power generated by a water-wheel mill on the east branch of the Hammonasset River that flows into the pond.
Other state purchases:
- 1993 – 3.6 acre Mitchell property and house
- 1998 – 10 acre Fox property for $185,000
In 1992, the DEEP’s Inland Fisheries Division was given use of the pond and the Forster house for the Connecticut Aquatic Resources and Education (CARE) program. The program uses volunteers to teach families how to fish at various locations around the state.
Christine Woodside – The Mystery of Forster Pond State Park. Connecticut Woodlands Spring 2014. pg 10.
Peter Marteka – Old Hydroelectric Mill Speaks To The Preservation Of Killingworth’s Past (2014)
Stan Fisher – Famed architect’s buildings could become museum in Killingworth (2012)
Peter Marteka – The Park View Few People See (2001)
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Last updated April 24th, 2022
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