Connecticut State Forests Seedling Letterbox Series - Clues for Wyantenock State Forest
Wyantenock State Forest -
Wyantenock State Forest is one of the best-kept secrets of Litchfield County! The forest is over 4,000 acres scattered among nine different parcels of land, often widely-separated throughout the towns of Warren, Kent, and Cornwall. Many of these blocks of forest have little or no public access and Wyantenock remains one of Connecticut’s least visited state forests with virtually no “developed” recreation areas for public use. The forest was originally considered part of Mohawk State Forest during the first land acquisition in 1925. As land was added, Wyantenock received its own designation.
Description: This letterbox was relocated to a different block of Wyantenock from the one previously hidden in Kent. The Seedling Series box is located in the 715-acre Woodville Block of the forest in the town of Warren, which is the most accessible and thoroughly managed parcel of Wyantenock. The letterbox is a very short hike! IMPORTANT NOTE: Active forest management often takes place here as part of a management plan to produce a healthier and more diverse forest and wildlife habitat. Whenever work is in progress, the public parking area and this forest block will probably be closed to the public for safety. Please check the website for updates before venturing out to look for this letterbox!
CLUES: In Litchfield, follow Route 202 West, passing through Bantam and continuing onward. Shortly past signs for Mt. Tom State Park on your left, take a right onto Route 341. Follow 341 for 1.3 miles and turn right into the state forest. There will be a mailbox #182, and a wooden shield sign for “Wyantenock State Forest”. Go down the gravel drive and park. Do not block the gate!
Walk past the green gate, and walk about 100 feet, to just past the small bridge over the stream. Look to your left. Do you see the large forked yellow birch by an enormous glacial boulder? Yellow birches have papery, peeling bark that is golden or bronze in color. Get off the road and begin walking directly for this tree for about 35 feet or around 14 adult steps. Stop about 15-20 feet in front of the yellow birch and the boulder, and look right at a rock overhang around 6 feet away. A pair of sugar maples are just above and behind this area, as another hint. Look for your prize in the space under that rock overhang! When done, be sure to thoroughly rebag the letterbox to protect it from moisture, and cover the hiding spot with debris so it is not accidentally seen from the road.
How well do you know your trees and plants? Just in the 35-40 feet between the road and the letterbox, at least 16 native plant species could quickly be identified, including young sugar maple, red maple, striped maple, ferns, sarsaparilla, white oak, chestnut oak, black cherry, witch-hazel, maple-leaf vibernum, rattlesnake plantain, jewelweed, blackberry, highbush blueberry, white ash, and poison ivy. How many of these can you find? Research these plants in advance of your visit, and you might identify them all!
If you have the time, stick around after stamping your book and explore more of Wyantenock. You can follow the road deeper into the forest. You will see hardwood forest more than a century old, a natural blowdown, wetlands, an area of 35-year-old forest, and even large clearcuts to provide habitat for New England cottontails and birds that require younger forest for nesting. For more information on how and why state forests are managed please see our Forest Management Webpage.
If walking during spring or summer, or during wet conditions, watch your step for red efts! These are tiny bright orange salamander-like amphibians that often sit on the ground. They are actually juvenile red-spotted newts. The newt is unique in having three distinct forms in its lifetime, rather than two. The middle phase is the only terrestrial one (other two phases occur in the water).
Learn More, Earn a Patch: DEEP hopes you enjoyed your visit to Wyantenock State Forest. This is one of 32 letterbox hikes sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Division of Forestry. Take 4 additional sponsored letterbox hikes to earn a commemorative Connecticut Forestry Centennial patch. Visit all of them and earn a walking stick.
When you have completed five of these hikes, please contact us and let us know what sites you have visited, what your stamp looks like and how we may send your patch. We will verify your visits and send the patch along to you. Contact DEEP Forestry
Content last updated September 13, 2021.