The Kettletown State Park is a 605-acre park in the southwestern portion of the State of Connecticut. There are two contiguous bodies of water that border it, the Housatonic River and Lake Zoar. These and the park’s trails have made it a popular destination.
There is a story about how the Kettletown State Park got its name. When settlers first arrived in the area it was inhabited by an Algonquin group called the Pootatucks, in other versions of the story they were the Paugussett Indians. A brass kettle was purportedly traded between both parties to allow the newcomers hunting and fishing rights in the area. This is how the area got its name.
Today, the area lies nestled in the suburbs of the towns of Oxford and Southbury. Visitors frequent the park to go camping, picnicking, swimming, fishing, and hiking. There are 68 campsites in the wooded and open areas, a dumping station, a number of bathrooms and showers.
There are several trails interspersed throughout the park for hiking enthusiasts. The trails differ in their level of difficulty from easy hikes, for those who would like to just meander about, to the more challenging ones, for those after a tougher workout. The terrain these trails pass through is also interestingly varied. Before trying out any of the paths, it would be a good idea to download and print a map of these trails. This way, the possibility of ending up in the wrong place is minimized. A copy can be obtained at the official Kettletown State Park website. The website also has a listing of all the trails with instructions on how to get on them. The suggestions below could be interesting however.
The William Miller Trail is ideal for families who have small children along and those who are new to hiking. The trail, a blue blazed one, can easily be found as it is close to the area with picnic tables. Amazing views of the Housatonic River can be enjoyed along this trail. Even though it is a short hike, there are all sorts of birds and majestic trees to keep the family’s interest keen. Care should be exercised however while on the trail as there are steep drop-offs camouflaged by the height of the trees that have grown really close to them. Children should be warned away from the edge to avoid any unfortunate accidents.
The more challenging blue and white blazed trail, called Crest trail, can be found close to the ranger station. The trail is a quiet and peaceful one that goes into a hardwood forest and offers wonderful views that overlook Lake Zoar. Occasionally, rare animal species that have taken refuge in the safety of the park can be encountered along it. Those who would like an even more challenging workout can combine this path with the one that begins in the main area. Only hikers who are in good shape may try this trail. If a hiker’s fitness level is doubtful, attempting this is not advisable.
Aside from the trails, swimming may be enjoyed in the designated swimming areas. The website has the rules listed. So if a swim is part of the day’s recreational itinerary, looking them up is important. Stiff fines are imposed on those who do not follow these safety precautions.
There are some important considerations for those who would like to avail of what Kettletown State Park has to offer. Pets should be on a leash in the picnic and hiking areas of the park. They are not allowed in the beach or swimming areas. RVs and trailers should not be more than 28 feet in length. The park also has youth group campsites. The park office is open only during the months of May to September, at phone number (203) 264-5678. Reservations and calls about the park are entertained during that time period. Inquiries on other months may be made through Putnam Memorial State Park, (203) 938-2285 or their toll free number 1-866-CTPARKS. The park is open from eight in the morning to sunset.