The Scantic River State Park is actually three parcels of land bought and secured by the State of Connecticut in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The three parks are located a few miles from each other. The East Windsor section of the park is the southern most park and is situated just north of CT Hwy 140. The Enfield parks are adjacent to each other and situated just south of CT Hwy 190.
There are a number of activities that take place in the park. It is primarily known for its rapids near the Maple Street Bridge where many visitors enjoy the cool waters. It is also popular among canoe and kayak enthusiasts and the Scantic River Splash is held every spring by the Scantic River Watershed Association honoring it’s great paddling opportunities. Fishing and hunting are also allowed here. Hiking in the Powder Hollow as it is known locally is a unique experience because of the history of the park.
Both of the Enfield parks contain the ruins of the Hazard Powder Company, a factory complex that manufactured black powder from 1836 until 1913. Over the course of its 77 year history, it comprised approximately 200 buildings filling an area half a mile wide and two miles long, winding through the hollow carved out by the Scantic River. During the Civil War the company’s mills provided over 40% of the Union’s gun powder. The Hazard Powder Company was also immeasurably important in furthering western expansion by supplying blasting powder to railroads and mining companies. Work at the factory could be dangerous, and over 67 people lost their lives working there.
The old man-made structures are in ruins, and as they continue to decay, they provide a fresh canvas for nature’s palette. For 100 years the area has been uninhabited and a forest has regrown in the former structures surrounding the river basin. Today, people hike, paddle canoes and kayaks, picnic and swim in the area. This site is your guide to exploring the Scantic River State Park. Choose a park to explore in more detail with the buttons on the left.