The American Legion State Forest originated with 213-acres in 1927. This lovely densely forested space offers a tranquil space to explore the Farmington River and surrounding forest. Guests will find hiking the rugged terrain exhilarating. There are rocky hillsides to climb, dense forests to explore, and historic mill sites scattered along the Henry Buck Trail that leads through the river valley.
This forest combines with the People’s State Forest on the opposing side of the river to make a massive 3,900-acre area. The Farmington River divides the two forests and offers guests stunning views and the opportunity to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. Guests to this area enjoy canoeing, kayaking, tubing, and fishing in the river’s waters. The surrounding terrain offers hiking opportunities with some rugged terrain with rocky cliffs, stunning water-falls, and old wood pine forest.
Those interested in extending their stay into the evening will find six cabins and 30 camping sites to choose from. Several sites are near the river offering lovely views. The camping sites can accommodate RV’s up to 35-feet in length. Guests will find restrooms, hot showers, and a laundry facility in both of the loops offering cabin and camping sites.
The park's address is:
American Legion State Forest
198 River Road,
Barkhmasted, Connecticut 06063
Guests will find the forest located approximately 20 minutes from Winchester, Ct. Guests traveling from Winchester will head toward US-44 E and take US-44 E for approximately 2.3 miles. Make a left turn onto Hinsdale Ave which connects to Wetmore Ave. At the end of Wetmore Ave, turn left onto N. Main St. Veer right onto CT-20E/Riverton Rd for approximately three nad a half miles. Then turn right again onto W. River Rd in Barkhamsted. Travel alongside the Farmington River and veer right onto Legion Rd away from the river. Legion Rd will take you directly into the state forest. Guests seeking the campground will stay on River Rd. The campground will be on their left.
Guests to the American Legion State Forest will find parking available to them near the camp office within the Austin Hawes Campground and in the camp sites.
There is no access to public transportation within the park.
Guests to the American Legion State Forest will find plenty to occupy their time here. The space is densely forested and rest along the Farmington River. There are trails here for hiking, mountain biking along the road, exceptional fishing, and space for enjoying a relaxing picnic. Fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and tubing are popular past-times here. Guests wishing to extend their stay overnight will find a few options available to them. The Austin Hawes Campground, located in the American Legion State Forest, maintains six cabins and 30 camp sites. Guests will find sites accommodating RV’s up to 35-feet in length located along two gravel loops. Cabins are located, three within each loop, on opposite ends of the campground.
The cabins offer space for up to six people. These cabins are rustic with two bedrooms, a porch, and a deck. There is no cooking inside the cabins, but there is a fire pit and a picnic table on the cabin site. Each cabin has five beds. Linens and cooking utensils are not provided, so keep this in mind when reserving the cabins.
Those choosing to camp will find sites able to accommodate up to 35-foot long RV’s. Sites are located in two loops along a gravel road in dense forest. All sites have a fire pit and a picnic table. The campground maintains restrooms, hot showers, and a laundry facility to guest use. Pets are welcome in the camping area.
Guests to American Legion State Forest will find it a lovely place to enjoy some fishing. The cool waters that flow through Farmington Lake makes them an ideal space for trout fishing. However, be aware that, due to conservation, trout fish caught in the forest must be released unharmed. Fish common to the Farmington River include trout, bass, pickerel, and pike. Those wishing to obtain a CT fishing license before traveling may do so online.
Bring your canoe or kayak with you when exploring this densely forested park located beside Farmington Lake. There are plenty of places to put a craft into the water, and you will have hours of fun exploring the river’s banks. The river provides stunning views of the area, and guests can rent a camp site or cabin along the river’s edge at Austin Hawes Campground located right in the park itself.
Guests to American Legion State Forest looking for a fun and easy way to spend some time on Farmington River will want to try tubing. Guest to the area will find this popular local pastime to be a relaxing way to enjoy a summer afternoon. Guests will find several outfits available to support a tubing trip down the Farmington River. However, be aware that natural river tubing can be treacherous and make sure that all those tubing can swim.
Guests visiting American Legion State Forest will want to remember to pack their hiking boots. This rugged densely forested park offers guests two hiking trails to explore. Guests can try the Henry Buck Trail with its approximately two-miles of moderate hiking. This trail is challenging at times with some rocky and steep spots. It is beautiful whether blanketed in snow or canopied in fall colors. Guests will see several small streams along this trail. The other trail guests can explore within American Legion State Forest is the Turkey Vultures Ledges Trail. This out and back trail is approximately two-miles long in the warmer months. However, one and a half-mile Legion Rd, which hikers often drive up to a secondary parking lot, is not open after snows begin. So, be mindful that the three miles up and back tacked onto an approximately four-mile round trip can be challenging. There is a stunning view of People State Forest and Ski Sundown from the overlook along this trail. Guests seeking more options will want to note that there are also several hiking trails offered in People's State Forest.
Guests to this part of Connecticut in the winter time will want to participate in the locally popular sport of skiing. Guests to American Legion State Forest will find over 12-miles of cross-country skiing trails between American Legion State Forest and Peoples State Forest. Those new to cross-country skiing will find it a relatively inexpensive sport that is easy for all ages to pick up.
Those looking for a more adventurous skiing outing may wish to try the slopes at nearby Ski Sundown. Guests will find 16 skiing trails available from early Dec through late March for skiing and snowboarding here.
Guests to American Legion State Park with an interest in history and local culture will want to make the trip to nearby Torrington to see the Hotchkiss-Fyler House Museum. This 1900 Queen-Anne style Victorian home is said to be one of Connecticut’s best house museums. Guests are invited to explore the home, originally commissioned by Orasmus Flyer, with its furnishings that were collected by Fyler and his descendants. Guests will enjoy the Hotchkiss-Fyler and Torrington History Collections which include artifacts from Native American settlements in the Torrington area.