Mashapaug Pond @ Bigelow Hollow State Park
I went to Mashapaug Pond today because I was told it was a wonderful place to paddle and to hike, bike, swim, etc. I was also told not to go on the weekend and both were sound pieces of advice! It was quite crowded today (Saturday), filled with lots of boisterous people. However, despite the little bit of chaos, this place was beautiful. It was also a more moderate paddle. Once the wind picked up, there was some relatively choppy water (you can see this in some of the photos). I was actually ready to use my paddle float, if necessary.
It is a very large body of water by Connecticut's standards; the park ranger stated that it was 2 miles in length. There are some very cool inlets and islands. You should bring lunch and consider pulling your boat up to one of the islands or picnic areas to eat. There is plenty of space to roam, even with the other people around. It took me around 1.5 hours to paddle the entire pond around its outside. You should also consider bringing your mountain bike or hiking shoes for a post-paddle romp through this comprehensive state park.
One other note: there is a smaller pond located at the entrance of the park. Don't be fooled! This is not Mashapaug. You need to drive to the end of the park and you will see a boat launch area there. I would highly recommend this area to any paddler wishing to view a really spectacular landscape.
You will see the traditional state park facilities. There is a boat launch area too.
$7 is required to enter the park.
Take I-84 and get off at exit 74. Follow the signs to Bigelow Hollow.