By Bob Difley
The New England states are famous for their spectacular fall colors, and Connecticut is not lacking when it comes to vibrant autumn foliage.
Like the tourism promotion folks say, “When it comes to autumn, Connecticut is much more than seemingly limitless shades of reds, oranges and yellows waving in the trees and wafting to the ground – though visitors will definitely find that throughout the state.”
RVers all want to know: Where can I park the RV to appreciate all this beauty? Here’s a tip – try the state forests. One of these is Pachaug, Connecticut’s largest state forest, rolling with forests more than 24,000 acres. If the name’s a bit different, consider that it’s a native term meaning “bend or turn in the river.”
Pachaug is an area rich with history. Indians of the Narragansett, Pequot, and Mohegan tribes inhabited this area in great number. During the last half of the seventeenth century, the Narragansetts and Pequots were defeated by the combined force of the Colonists and the Mohegans, when in 1700, a six-mile-square tract was granted to the Indian War Veterans. Eventually, the central portion of this land grant became “Volunteer’s Town,” incorporated as Voluntown in 1721.
Old cellar holes and miles of stone fence winding through the woods give evidence that the entire forest was once farmed or pastured. Abundant water encouraged the establishment of a mill industry as early as 1711. Nearly every brook has several old mill sites and dams. Homestead farming and small industry succumbed to advancing modern technology; the forest reclaimed its land.
Fall is one of the finest times to visit the forest. Call the forest folks at 860-376-4075 for more information.
Dispersed camping (boondocking) opportunities are far fewer in the East than in the West, where most of the national forests now have maps of legal dispersed camping areas. Not only do these maps not exist for the national forests of Connecticut, but there are no National Forests in Connecticut, making boondocking even more difficult.
The rules are always subject to change, but at this writing, dispersed camping in Connecticut State Forests is only referred to as Backpack Camping and the available online information does not provide enough information to determine whether these sites have vehicle access or are walk-in only. They do not refer either to where RV dispersed camping is available; therefore, it is necessary to contact them by phone, both for where RV dispersed camping is legal and what are the current guidelines/rules.
You can contact the Pachaug State Forest online at the CT DOE camping areas website (scroll down to State Forest Camping Areas) for information on Pachaug State Forest with this link.
[Editor’s note: The fall 2017 "leaf-peeping” season is off to a late start in Connecticut. Experts are suggesting leaf color will start appearing in about three weeks, and in some areas, could be at least five weeks to reach peak color. Plenty of time to load up the rig and get there!]
Here’s a link to the latest information on fall foliage timing.
You can find Bob Difley’s RVing e-books on Amazon Kindle.