Paugnut State Forest is part of a 2,410 acre, contiguous park and forest complex that includes Burr Pond State Park and Sunny Brook State Park. The complex is primarily in north-central Torrington but reaches north into Winchester as well. Paugnut’s woodlands are made up of mixed hardwoods with white pine and hemlock found on drier and rocky areas. In the mid 1930s and early 1940s, Paugnut was part of the actively forested landscape during the years of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) camps in Connecticut. In 1934 the Connecticut Forestry Department commissioned artist Harry Leith-Ross to document the work of the CCCers in the state. At least two of his forest landscape paintings depict work done in Paugnut State Forest during those depression years.
The 2.1 mile John Muir Trail traverses Paugnut’s main section and connects Burr Pond and Sunnybrook state parks. Today, Paugnut is part of the Connecticut Forests Letterboxing Series, in which all 32 state forests participate, and in combination with Burr Pond and Sunny Brook state parks, it preserves a wonderful portion of the state’s western woodlands.