Dikes Point Recreation Area

Old Town Road, New Milford, Litchfield County, Connecticut


Take Rt. 7 north.  As you leave Brookfield and enter New Milford you'll see New Milford High School on your left hand side. (large brick building)  About a mile later you'll come to a traffic light with a market on your left and gas station on your right.  Take a left at the traffic light onto Sullivan Rd.  A few hundred yards later make a right onto Old Town Park Rd.  Follow the road for 0.7 of a mile.  The road winds its way up a hill going past Hill and Plain School.  Keep going straight as the road continues to twist, turn and climb.  You'll soon come to the dirt entrance to Gerard's Marina on the right.  Turn left into the Dikes Point Recreation Area  parking lot, also a dirt lot, just to the left of Gerard's.  


The Rocky River Pumped Stored Hydroelectric Station in New Milford was completed in 1928.  It's purpose was to generate hydroelectric power for the region by pumping water into Candlewood Lake from the Housatonic River, and then back again to the river to generate the power.  This was done by flooding the Rocky River valley and creating the largest man made lake in New England, Candlewood Lake. (Hundreds of families, most of them involved in farming, were relocated and 4,500 acres were cleared.)  Most people think of jet skis, power boats, town beaches, and swimming when they here "Candlewood Lake."  However, not all of Candlewood Lake is overdeveloped and without character. The northern part of the lake has maintained a natural feel to it and this can be seen by accessing Lakeside Trail.

Lakeside Trail and Dike Point are brought to you by the folks at Northeast Utilities, the owner of the lake and its shores.  They did a really nice job here and created a gem of a trail with an outstanding guide book and self-guided tour that really is quite educational.  


views of the lake, easy strolls, swimming, fishing, picnicking, self guided educational trail.


The name of the trail is the Lakeside Trail.  The walk is easy (or perhaps moderate). 

Interesting to note: the trail has a split personality in a sense.  Weekends during the summer are teeming with people and not a great place to hike unless of course you love to people watch.  Summer week days are much better and September to May are the best times for exploring this shoreline trail.  

This 3/4 mile trail is the only trail made available to the public from the 60 miles of lake coastline.  It's a shame that more public land wasn't set aside on Candlewood Lake because it's a beautiful lake and there's no reason why more public parks shouldn't be made available.  The foliage season is an especially good time to walk the trail.

7/05/2005.  Dog Sonar and I stopped at this park.  I did not stay because apparently a group of dog enthusiasts let their dogs run without leashes.  My dog is small and not so friendly with other dogs and it is just too much of a hassle to have to deal with my own and everyone else's dogs.  I decided just to come back another day.  I just noted a few plants in the parking area.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.



Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

*  =  plant blooming on date of field trips, 7/05/2005

Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Populus grandidentata (big-toothed aspen)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)

Shrubs and Subshrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)     *
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)

Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed)      *
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)

Ambrosia artemisiifolia (ragweed)
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade)     *
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)     *
Epipactis helleborine (helleborine orchid)    
Hosta sp. (hosta)  planted
Impatiens sp. (jewelweed)    
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel)    
Plantago major (common plantain)       
Polygonatum pubescens (hairy true Solomon's seal)     *
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)    
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal)
Trifolium pratense (red clover)     *
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)   
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell)

Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Scirpus atrovirens (dark-green bulrush)

Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)

Ferns and fern allies:
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)

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