Outdoor Activities

CT’s Most Scenic Hike: Spruce Brook Ravine

Spruce Brook Ravine & Waterfalls
Written by Sean Henri

Spruce Brook Ravine (aka High Rock Park) is arguably one of the most scenic hiking trails and series of waterfalls in Connecticut – located in Beacon Falls, CT.

It’s arguably one of the most scenic hiking trails and series of waterfalls in Connecticut, yet it seems like hardly anyone outside of Beacon Falls has ever even heard about Spruce Brook Ravine (also known as High Rock Park). The trail’s towering trees, deep ravine, and multiple waterfalls makes it feel more like a mountainside in New Hampshire than it does the Naugatuck Valley. Whether in spring, fall, or the dead of winter, Spruce Brook Ravine should be on everyone’s list of Connecticut waterfall must-sees.

About Spruce Brook Ravine

The area is a part of the Naugatuck State Forest, which covers almost 5,000 acres and is spread across Naugatuck, Beacon Falls, Oxford, Bethany, Hamden, Cheshire, Ansonia, and Seymour.

The forest originated with Harris Whittemore, an industrialist and member of the State Forest and Park Commission. In 1921, Mr. Whittemore began buying parcels of land in the Naugatuck Valley, intending to donate them to the State.

Unfortunately, he did not live long enough to realize his dream, but after his death in 1928, his family continued to acquire land, and in 1931, almost 2,000 acres were donated in his memory. Spruce Brook Ravine is just one of the gems contained in the immaculate forest system.

 

Spruce Brook Ravine & Waterfalls

The trail is less than a half mile each way, making for a round trip of under a mile. Depending on how long you take to stop and enjoy the beauty of the falls, you can be back to your car within a half hour—but why rush? Bring your camera and a picnic lunch to make an afternoon out of the trek which features plunges and cascades up to 15 feet high.

 

Spruce Brook Falls

If You Want to Go

To get to the trail, you need to follow a bumpy dirt road which runs parallel to a railroad track. There are two parking areas for you to choose from, though the second parking area is sometimes closed due to bridge issues. Swimming is prohibited due to safety concerns, but feel free to bring your favorite four legged friend: Dogs can go hiking, too!

The falls are free and open to the public year round, but the best time to visit is likely early spring to late fall. The winter is sure to offer spectacular views of frozen falls and wintry landscapes, though, so it all depends on what you’re looking for. Just make sure you dress appropriately for the season.

This post was originally published in 2009 but has been updated for accuracy and style. 

About the author

Sean Henri

Sean is the founder and editor of The Connecticut Weekender, and CEO and Founder of Pepperland Marketing. He's a lifelong CT resident and frequently blogs about the outdoors, beer, food, family life and small business in CT. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanHenri.

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10 Comments

  • We tried to find this based on direction in New England Waterfalls (Parsons & Watson) but the directions didn’t seem to make sense, nor did they mention having to drive along a narrow rocky railway bed! We got spooked at such a drive, and didn’t finish. How long does one have to travel alongside the train track, and is there any other entrance to the park, and the falls, especially the one that you can walk behind?

  • Hi Daniella. Access to this trail is getting increasingly difficult. The dirt road extends about .7 miles before you get to the trail. The road conditions have gotten increasingly bad and you can no longer drive to the parking area that some other websites might direct you to. I would suggest parking somewhere on the paved part of the road and walk the rest of the way. It will only take you about 15 minutes. Here’s a link with walking directions: http://g.co/maps/d59va

    • The dirt road reopened now that the old bridge was rebuilt. It leads to a dirt parking lot. A lot of the muddied potholes have been filled in (though rain will continue to wash them out) so it’s much better on a low car than it used to be. If one doesn’t want a bumpy ride they can drive up through Naugatuck to the gun range, and continue following the road to the bottom and the same dirt parking lot.

  • when was the last time any of you were there…thinking of meeting a friend there for a hike tomorrow..sounds a little sketchy

    • The bridge is fixed and there is plenty of parking. Take the road along the railroad tracks until it comes to the parking lot.

      • Yesterday II was on the dirt road along the railroad tracks and that road is in terrible shape. Many many hills and potholes. Felt I was on a rollorcoaster.

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