Saturday, April 9, 2011

Zoar Trail - Prydden Brook Trail

Last September I hiked the Zoar Trail in the Paugussett State Forest expecting to have lunch next to the huge waterfall where Prydden Brook empties into Lake Zoar.  Imagine my disappointment to find a bone dry brook and a lot of dry rocks were there was supposed to be a gushing waterfall.

Now with the melted snow and early spring rains, it was worth another trip into the forest to see what the brook and falls were like.  And voila, Prydden Falls:

I started the same route as my last trip – parking at the Great Quarter Road trailhead lot and hiking in along the lake.  To be accurate, Lake Zoar isn’t a lake, but a wide section of the Housatonic River upstream of the Stevenson Dam.  The town of Zoar was flooded in 1919 when the river was dammed for power generation, so they got the ‘lake’ named after them.  The Zoar Trail is a loop route along the river, crossing the Prydden Brook just above the falls, and then coming back around through the Paugussett State Forest finishing with a road walk along Great Quarter Road back to the parking area – about a 6 ½ mile hike. 

Back to the hike - I passed a few people along the trail, and in case it looks like I was alone in the forest, check out this group at the falls, the main attraction.  Backpacks came off; a few tripods out and up – a nature photographer’s dream. 

Instead of continuing on the Blue Trail passed the falls, I hiked west along the south bank of the brook.  The trail isn’t marked – no painted blazes - but it is cleared and easy to follow.  The brook was running fast, and there were small waterfalls all along the way.  In one steep section, the trail crew built a stone stairway to protect the trail from erosion – it would be a waterslide otherwise.

The brook crosses the blue trail again after about a half-mile, and I headed south again through the laurels and forest.  There were spots where the trail was under water.  I passed a couple of hikers bushwhacking to higher ground to avoid this swamped section – their sneakers would get a little soggy.

Watch that first step!  Blue Trail                                                 Swamped section of the Blue Trail - 
Crosses over Pryddon Brook                                                      Waders just might be required!

Along the way here, the Connecticut Walk Book indicates a scenic spot looking back toward the river.  In September, when the leaves were still on the trees, I couldn't see much of anything.  But now, you can peek through the trees for a view to the river below.

My shortcut along the brook cut a couple miles off the hike compared to covering the entire Zoar Trail.  But it was a good way to kill a couple of hours that afternoon, and I got that picnic by the falls!


  1. It was a great day for a picnic! Sounds like a great hike!

  2. The trail along Prydden Brook is quite scenic. I recommend descending on the Blue-Yellow Trail and walking up the trail on the south side for the best views of the cascades.
    Map at



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