Spruce Brook Ravine
It’s a gorgeous setting with one of the more impressive waterfalls in the state. But, unless you live in Beacon Falls – you may not even know it exists.
Spruce Brook Ravine is tucked away in the western block of the 5,000-acre Naugatuck State Forest. The forest itself spans several towns. But, in Beacon Falls, the ravine, along with High Rock Grove, are a treat all on their own.
The forest here is lush with greenery bursting from all sides. Tall trees cover craggy ledges that spill down to a deep ravine where rocks and boulders are slick with moss.
There are many ways to get here with different entry points all along the way. But, to get to the first stop - at the bottom of the sprightly brook – prepare for the bumpy, mile-long stretch that brings you to the park’s edge.
A small lot is positioned parallel to the railroad tracks. And right off the bat, a trio of kiosks give hikers a little insight to the history of this land. From Native American hunting ground to Victorian tourist attraction, the grove’s background is quite eclectic - now providing locals a spot where they can still come and enjoy the scenery.
The brook from this vantage point is not awe-inspiring. But, it does give a tantalizing glimpse of what lies ahead upon entry to this fairy tale-like forest.
I quickly found myself absorbed in the sounds of the rushing water as I made my way upstream. There are a variety of small paths that snake through this landscape. Many are narrow and a bit precarious, so prepare to work for each step you take.
For those looking for an easier route, you may want to consider driving uphill along the paved, park road where there are plenty of pull-offs along the way.
One such spot comes up to a portion of the white trail. It brings hikers down a wide, old woods road and closer to the roar of cascades plummeting into pools of clear water.
A wobbly bridge brought me to the forefront of one of two waterfalls that grace this ravine. Its sound and that of the upper plunge nearly drowned out the numerous bird calls that continually chatter throughout the forest.
From this spot, you can see that first fall off in the distance some 100 yards away. But, for a closer look, hike up a small, unmarked path that scales the craggy rocks. Here, enveloped by sheer, rock cliffs, the 15-foot plunge helps transport visitors to a land that shines bright in the imagination – just like those childhood stories of ‘Once Upon a Time…’
Directions: Take Rt. 8 to exit 24 toward CT-42. Turn right onto South Main St. Turn right onto Depot St. Turn right onto Railroad Ave. Turn right onto Lopus Rd and go over bridge. Turn right onto Cold Spring Road. It turns into a dirt road running parallel with the railroad tracks. Road will fork, continue to the right down the hill. Parking is on the left after crossing the bridge.
Trail Distance: < 1 mile – 2 miles