Natchaug State Forest – Ashford, Connecticut
Trailhead Coordinates: 41.826577, -72.080049
For most New England horse owners and riders, equine camping in Connecticut means the Natchaug State Forest. Natchaug translates into “land between the rivers” in the Nipmuc language. The forest covers well over 13 thousand acres in the northeast corner of Connecticut where the rural beauty is not easily rivaled as you camp and ride among the dense forest of oak, maple, and ash. The fall colors here can be simply fabulous.
One of the things that I like best about Natchaug is that despite its remote feel it’s really quite easy to get to being less than an hour away from the metropolises of Hartford and Providence.
Natchaug will reward visiting riders with 30 miles of horse friendly trails that loop and wind through the forest. Riders have the option of enjoying three 5, 10, or 15-mile loop trails that are accessed directly from the horse camp. The trails are interconnected so you can easily create your own route of about any length you desire. These popular trails are shared with hikers and bicyclists so keep an eye open as you ride.
Fun Fact: Riders exploring the forest will encounter many remains of old homesteads including the crumbling stone chimney from the birthplace of the first Union General killed in the Civil War, General Nathaniel Lyon.
Horse campers at Natchaug will stay at the Silvermine Horse Camp within the forest. The camp is referred to as primitive but the 15 campsites have everything a rider needs for a wonderful outing. The entire camp is heavily wooded with a glorious selection of campsites. While there may not be electrical connections or water hook ups each site offers equestrian campers picnic tables, fire ring, and easy access to the centrally located toilet and water pump. As with everyplace horse camping is welcome let’s work to make sure that our welcome is extended by cleaning our campsites and packing out all of our trash when we leave.
For more information about horse riding at the Natchaug State Forest including driving directions, weather forecasts, and much more visit https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/natchaug-state-forest/.