Penwood State Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Boston (AMC Books)
Address:CT 185 and Simsbury Road, Bloomfield, CT
Hours:Dawn to dusk daily; Gate opens at 8 a.m. for cars
Fee: Free
Contact:; 860-242-1158

Bathrooms: At a comfort station at the main picnic area
Water/Snacks: Water fountain next to the bathrooms

Stroll along a paved path to beautiful Lake Louise and enjoy a picnic with a view.

A wooded hike to Lake Louise presents a nice challenge for beginner hikers.
Photo by: Jerry and Marcy Monkman

The 800-acre Penwood State Park offers both challenging hikes and fields for playing. At the main picnic area, located about 1 mile into the park, you’ll find tables and grills, and plenty of open space for kids to run around or toss a ball. When you’re ready for a hike, you can push a stroller all the way up to Lake Louise on a 3.5-mile paved loop road (not accessible to cars) to the left of the parking area. Be prepared for a bit of a climb, as the park is on the Talcott Mountain Range.

Once at the lake, you can follow a trail around the lake or stop to fish or skip stones from a dock. A couple of picnic tables are here if you want to eat lunch or have a snack before heading back the way you came. When we visited one day, we were startled by pieces of wood falling from the trees and then we finally spotted a woodpecker high above us, working away at a tree.

You can also enjoy mountain biking and cross-country skiing on Penwood’s wide trails. A section of Connecticut’s blue-blazed trail system, called the Metacomet, goes through the park. Metacomet Trail is part of the New England National Scenic Trail, which runs 114 miles from the Connecticut state line to Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire. The long-distance hiking footpath is maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Berkshire Chapter Trails Committee and other volunteers. You can gain access to this trail from the first parking lot as well as at the pond.

Remember: Keep your dog on a leash and clean up after it.

Plan B:

The nearby American Legion and Peoples State Forest in Barkhamsted offers campsites if you want to spend more time in the region.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Look for sandwich shops along CT 178.


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