Upper Paugussett


Hike the edge of Lake Lillinonah through the Upper Paugussett State Forest, which was designated a State Forest through Polly Brody and other Conservation Commissioners in 1967. It is maintained by Connecticut Forest and Parks. This section is the the northern terminus of Al's Trail and has several loop-trail options.


Pond Brook marks the northern terminus of Al’s Trail, whose headwaters begin above Taunton Lake, on Castle Hill Road. Native American Tribes lived along this brook, and in the 19th century, button mills and other manufacturing mills harnessed the flow along the entire brook.

The Shepaug River enters the Housatonic River across from where goshawks nest.

The Shepaug dam separates Lake Lillinonah from Lake Zoar. The day the dam closed in 1955, the worst flood in 100 years filled the lakes in 24 hours. The eagles fly here from Quebec and northern New England when frozen waters cut off their winter fishing. When the trail is closed December 15 to March 15 (so that the eagles won’t be disturbed), view the eagles from the Shepaug Dam Eagle Observatory across the river in Southbury.

Segment Map: 
Trail segment map
4.1 mi
Hiking Time: 
Moderate (see trail ratings)
Hiking Notes: 

Part of this trail is closed from Dec. 15th to Mar. 15th, when bald eagles from Canada and Northern New England are roosting in the area.

Optional Loop Trail(s): 

Blue Blaze loop (6 miles): Start at the Upper Paugussett Interior parking area. Hike west out of the parking lot and follow the blue trail clockwise around the forest. Go right near Hanover Rd. and then north along the edge of the lake. Go inland up a steep ravine. Cross the brook and go to the large oak with a registration box. Go left to continue on the Blue Blaze loop, or go right the shorter White trail loop (see description below). Descend to the lake again and continue along the lake for just over a mile, and go right on the blue trail at the intersection of Al's Trail. Follow the blue trail to a gravel road; go right to the parking area.

Optional Loop Trail(s): 

White trail loops (longest: 3 miles): Start at the Pond Brook parking area. Go right on any of the three white-blazed trails (the last one at the old oak tree). Each of these intersects with the unpaved Polly Brody Forest Rd. Turn right and follow the road back to Hanover Rd. Turn right and follow it for a quarter mile, back to the Pond Brook parking area.

Trail photo