Cockaponset State Forest, Chester
Cockaponset State Forest is located mostly in the towns of Chester and Haddam. At over 16,000 acres it is the second largest of the State's forests. There are many miles of trails to explore including over 20 miles of trails near the Pattaconk Reservoir Recreation Area. In all it is estimated that there are over 100 miles of trails in Cockaponset though most are not on the official State maps.
I find that the riding at Cockaponset runs the entire gamut of trails from easy mellow buffed trails to very challenging trails that all levels of riders will have to walk parts of. In the spring there is a lot of water in the forest but that usually dries up by mid summer. Whenever I ride Cockaponset I am impressed with how many rocks there are. It's rare to find a trail that's totally rock free. After a few miles I can usually re-set my mind for rock riding and will have a good time. But until I make that adjustment I find myself bouncing all over the place.
There are quite a few dirt roads stitching together the trail network and most of those can be enjoyed by familes or newer riders.
You'll enjoy Cockaponset. It's a fun place to ride though, depending on the trails you choose, a challenging one.
There are many places to park in a forest this large. I usually use the parking area at the Pattaconk Recreation Area as it offcers facilities and a place to swim on a warm summer day. From Route 9 take exit 6 and head West on Route 148 for a little over two miles. Turn right on Cedar Lake Road, which is just after a large lake, and drive for two miles until you see the sign for Pattaconk Lake on your left. Follow this road uphill for a mile or so until you get to the parking area.