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Outdoor Activities

Southford Falls: One of CT’s Hidden Gems

Southford Falls
Written by Sean Henri

Southford Falls State Park on the Oxford-Southbury border is one of the best-kept secrets of CT, full of beauty and perfect for all kinds of outdoor activities.

Whether you want to go fishing, picnicking, play a field sports, or simply take a scenic stroll, you’ll always find something to do at Southford Falls State Park.

The falls are bound to astound with their cascading water and the nature that surrounds the park that you along the trails. Southford Falls is a perfect adventure any day you are craving some fresh air.Southford Falls

The Park

Southford Falls is located on the Oxford-Southbury line (where do you think the name Southford came from, anyway?). The 169-acre park has been the home to many different businesses and industries over the years. In the early 1800’s, the park was used to clean sheep wool before local farmers would spin it, and use it for a variety of different purposes. It was later used as a flour mill located alongside a paper mill.

By the 1860’s, there were multiple industries that were operating on the falls; an ax manufacturer, sawmill, and a cutlery shop all populated this beautiful area.

In 1923 the falls were home to the Diamond Match Company. They produced paperboard, which was used in matchboxes and matchbooks. Ironically, the Diamond Match Company burned to the ground and became the last company to operate on the falls.

Today, Southford Falls offers pond and stream fishing, picnicking, field sports, hiking, ice skating, cross-country skiing, and sledding. The fast flowing waters of Eight Mile Brook drop steeply from Lake Quassapaug to the Housatonic River. This provides scenic waterfalls located at the southeast end of the park. These falls are the iconic focal point of this land, and you’ll love the serenity they offer.

The Trail

The Red trail takes you on a big loop around the entire Southford Falls Park. The trail itself is about a 1.8-mile loop. Along the way, you’ll be sure to find beautiful flowing waters, a covered wooden bridge crossing the gorge, and a series of scenic falls. There are marks on the trees along the trail that help guide you throughout your hike. It is important to pay attention to the tree marks as trails may veer off for deer trails or locals making their own entrance into the park. Veering off will only lead to dead-ends and extra time walking through woods!

Southford Falls

As you make your way through the trail, you’ll come across one of the more interesting features Southbury Falls has to offer, the old observation tower. This rustic tower stands at about 25 feet, and from the ground, seems like it will give an awesome view of the area below. Unfortunately, the structure was built when the trees were small, and now overpower the height of the tower. In other words,  the view is less than exceptional if you’re trying to gaze into the distance, but serves as a great place to go see the fall foliage and take some excellent pictures!

If You Want to Go

Southford Falls State Park is located at 175 Quaker Farms Road, Southbury, which is located off I-84 (Exits 15 and 16) in Southbury. The park is open year-round from 8 am to sunset. Pets on a leash are permitted in picnic areas and on hiking trails. There is no parking fee at Southford Falls State Park. The park also offers handicap accessibility for parking and picnic areas.

You can find a trail map for Southford Falls State Park here.

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

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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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1 Comment

  • One of my favorite spots all the way around. Walking, fishing, photography. Very beautiful and serene.