Contact us: (860) 379-9074 or (860) 379-2469

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Hours are:

Saturday and Sunday 10:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Links

Displays

Reopened in 1992, the Peoples State Forest Nature Museum features mounted taxidermy specimens of many mammals and birds that are native to Connecticut.  Freshwater fish specimens are also displayed.

Display cases contain artifacts from the historic Barkhamsted Light House site, many animal skulls, interesting rocks and minerals found in Connecticut, an insect collection, and much more.

 

 

A Light-up display board helps to identify animal tracks and plant species.  Early charcoal-making and its significance is explained.   Photographs identify local flora and fauna.

In the 1930s, 250 men occupied Camp White, a Civilian Conservation Corps camp on West River Road in what is now the American Legion State Forest in Barkhamsted. Some of the projects completed by the men include building the Museum, creating trails and roads through the forest, and planting many of our present-day trees. The layout of Camp White is beautifully illustrated in a diorama which was made by a former CCC member.

Trails

There are eight trails that cover approximately 10 miles in Peoples State Forest.  Two of the trailheads are located directly behind the Museum.  These trails wend their way through hilly terrain taking hikers past scenic streams, spectacular overlooks, and interesting historic sites. See the Trails page for more trail descriptions.  Trail maps and information are also available from museum staff.

Friday, June 16, 2017, 6:30 - 7:30:  Eagles in Connecticut with DEEP biologist Brian Hess.  

Friday, July 21, 2017, 6:30 - 7:30:  Bobcats in Connecticut with DEEP wildlife biologist Jason Hawley.  

Friday, August 18, 2017, 6:30 - 7:30: THIS PROGRAM HAS BEEN CANCELLED Fishers in Connecticut.

Friday, September 15, 2017, 6:30 - 7:30:  Moose in Connecticut with DEEP wildlife biologist Andy LaBonte.  The location for this event will be under the pavilion in Mathies Grove.  

 

Registration is appreciated but not required to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling (860) 882-9632.  Events may be moved to the PSF Mathies Grove pavilion to meet space requirements.  For more information visit the FALPS facebook page, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (860) 882-9632.  All events are hosted by FALPS (Friends of American Legion and Peoples State Forests).         

 

 

 

 


 

 jessiegerardtrail  Jessie Gerard Trail (blue/yellow dot): At the East River Road trail-head, take the path to the right which passes by the historic Light House Village Graveyard site, and climbs up steep switchbacks. This path leads to the scenic overlooks, including Chaugham's Lookout.

The trail then passes between the Veeder Boulders, named for Curtis Veeder, an inventor from Hartford who helped raise money for Peoples Forest land purchases. The trail ends at the Big Spring Recreation Area. Distance - 1.3 miles.

Jesse Gerard was a long-time director of the Connecticut Forest and Park Assoc. who enlisted the help of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and Connecticut Federation of Women's Clubs, to raise money for the Peoples Forest Fund.

Agnes Bowen Trail (blue/orange dot): Agnes Bowen Trail (blue/orange dot): The Agnes Bowen Trail is accessible from two trail heads, one on Greenwoods Road and the other at the Nature Museum. This moderately hilly trail includes a scenic overlook, passes by the Beaver Pond, and follows along Beaver Brook on the south side of Greenwoods Road. Distance - 2.5 miles.

As the secretary of the Barkhamsted Chamber of Commerce, Agnes Bowen was responsible for suggesting that the state locate the Peoples Forest in Barkhamsted. She then personally led a tour of officials on the proposed 2500 acre site that would eventually become the Peoples State Forest.

 Charles Pack Trail (blue/yellow dot):

Charles Pack Trail (blue/yellow dot): The Charles Pack Trail starts at Greenwoods Road, north of the James Stocking Area. It crosses Beaver Brook and goes past the brick and stone remains of an early 1800s farmhouse. It then crosses the road at the Beaver Brook Recreation Area and continues on to the Big Spring Recreation Area. Distance - 1.9 miles.

Charles Pack was president of the American Tree Assoc. and the American Nature Assoc. He was an early supporter of public forests and offered technical forestry advice which, among other things, helped save a beech tree grove along the Pack Grove Road. He also made donations to the PSF forestry fund.

Elliot Bronson Trail (blue/red dot):

 

Elliot Bronson Trail (blue/red dot): The Bronson Trail starts at Greenwoods Road opposite the Ullmann Youth Camping area and runs through the hilly terrain of the southern portion of the forest. It terminates on Center Hill Road, off of route 181. Distance - 2 miles.

E.P. Bronson wrote the Forestry Pageant for the dedication of Peoples Forest in 1924. He was also a forest fire warden, a member of the Board of Fisheries and Game, and Superintendent of State Parks until 1964.

 Jessie Gerard Trail (blue/yellow dot):

 

 

 

Falls Cut-Off Trail (blue/red dot): The trail-head is on East River Road and starts at the Jessie Gerard Trail sign.  Follow this trail to the left.  It is steep and rocky and features stone steps installed by the CCC in the 1930s.  This trail is a popular winter ice-climbing site. Distance - .2 miles. 

 Robert Ross Trail (blue):

 

Robert Ross Trail (blue): The Ross trail starts at the end of Warner Road, runs westerly to the Jessie Gerard Trail; and then southerly along the west side of the ridge, to the end of King Road; proceeds to the Museum and westerly to East River Road. Distance - 2 miles.

Robert Ross was a forester who sponsored the first Forestry Work Camp in the 1930s, which was later used as a model for the C.C.C. He was very influential in the development of Peoples Forest.

 Walt Landgraf Trail (red):

 

Walt Landgraf Trail (red): This trail starts near the east end of the Elliott Bronson Trail and leads to an area of rock ledges known as the Indian Caves. For 1500 years soapstone was quarried here by Native Americans. Distance - .2 miles.

Walter Landgraf was the curator of the Nature Musuem (then called the Stone Museum) from 1992 when it reopened, until his passing in 2007. He is fondly remembered for his wealth of knowledge about the forest, its flora and fauna, and local history.

 Pond Trail (Green)

 

The Pond Trail (green)

This short trail was created in the summer of 2012 and leads to a corner of the Beaver Brook Pond.  Birds and other pond life may be observed from here.  To reach this trail, start at the southernmost Charles Pack trailhead on Greenwoods Road, go over the wooden bridge that crosses Beaver Brook, then take an immediate left and follow the green markers.  This trail is about one tenth of a mile long and does not loop.