Bingham Pond, Highest Elevation Pond in Connecticut
[This geographical extreme was visited in Dagobah-like humidity during the Connecticut Extreme Geo-Tour 2012 with the most excellent Tom from Twelve-Mile Circle and the equally excellent Scott from The Scenic Drive. The were the extremely generous winning bidders to do this to benefit The SMS Research Foundation. They rock.]
I’ve written it before and I’ll write it again: Sometimes I feel like CTMQ is the place to give people a boatload of random factoids with which road-trippers can endlessly annoy their passengers. In Connecticut, I’m the king of that.
Hm. No wonder so many of my adventures are solo adventures.
And while I realize not many people will find themselves tooling along the dirt Mt. Washington Road in extremely extreme NW Connecticut, if you ever are, now you have this one to lay on your lucky kids/spouse/friend(s): “Oh look over there. That’s Bingham Pond.”
Evil chuckle. “Oh, it’s only the highest elevation pond in the entire state!” They’ll love you for it. Love you silly.
I can’t find the exact elevation, it looks to be about 1900 feet. Which is 1900 feet above Long Island Sound. Which is only 500 feet lower than Connecticut’s highest point (South Slope of Mt. Frissell, just a few miles NW of the pond – CTMQ Visit here). In actuality, many people pass the pond on their way to the highpoint hike or the Bear Mountain/Appalachian access trail hike or up to Bash Bish Falls in Massachusetts. So this really is valuable information. You see.
I guess Riga Lake is the highest Lake in Connecticut, huh?
Here’s some more valuable information: At least from the road, you’re not really allowed to park and wander down pond side. Not that you can anyway, as the pond is surrounded by Bingham Bog, which is an incredibly murky, boggy, muddy, maze-like area that is protected by the Mt. Riga, Inc. which posts a few no trespassing signs. (Mt. Riga, Inc. donated the area around the pond to the Nature Conservancy in 1994.)
Fortunately for you, you can see the pond from the car – which is the only way you should see it. I didn’t feel it important to get to the waterline; even though the surrounding bog was probably as dry as it ever gets, and we found a deer trail that was fairly passable, I didn’t want to disturb the fragile ecosystem just to ultimately get me feet sucked into the black morass and possibly lose a shoe.
The 418 acres include Bald Peak (just to the east) and Bingham Pond and the extensive wetlands related to the pond. 14 plant species found on the state’s list of endangered or threatened species, or species of special concern, are found around the pond.
In fact, someone from the Nature Conservancy said back in ’94, “It’s really very special, most people can’t get in there, because it’s very boggy.” I can confirm that.
I suppose you can hike down from the Appalachian Trail side via bushwhack, though I’ve no idea why you’d want to do that. Really, it’s just a pond people.
That’s Bear Mountain in the distance
Wait, what? There is a compelling reason for me and Scott to have gingerly plucked our way down through the dense brush and sketchy footing: the aforementioned Bingham Bog surrounding Bingham Pond is one of Connecticut’s 8 National Natural Landmarks!
Of course that warrants a separate page here on CTMQ, so here it is.