Nod Brook Training Area

Tower Business Park
202/10 (near Avon)
Simsbury, CT
Operating Hours:
Managed By:
State of Conneticut
Days Closed:
Most weekends until 5pm for trial days with live ammunition
Park Size:
Type of Park:
Not Fenced
Other Notes: I placed the marker at the turn off, the two ponds for dog swimming are south along this road. This is a dog training area, dogs are allowed to learn to swim and be off leash; be careful to read all signs as sometimes the area is closed for hunting and live ammunitions will be used. Here is a listing of this years closure dates.
Javascript is required to view this map.
Robert.a.walton's picture
New, dog lover

Just moved here after 21 years in the U.S. Army
I read the regs on this place, I can't wait to bring my shelter here!

Jenny C's picture
wonderful place

We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful place to take our dogs where they can safely play off-leash in a big, open, natural field. With swimming to boot! The field trials are posted and it is important to respect that the park is closed during those times. We have been when the trials are over but the sign is still up - check to see if they are still going on before letting your dogs loose. We must work together - after all, it is about the dogs.

hunter trainer's picture
Trials and test

I am upset to read some of the comments about the dog club people being "rude". I just wanted to re-state why some folks may appear that way. I understand that everybody has a right to use this land BUT we as club members pay a fair amount of money to be able to use the facility (as it was intended)to hold dog events. Some of these events are actually licensed AKC events that draw competitors from through-out New England and the eastern seaboard. It is unfortunate that there are bad apples in both crowds but that is not the norm. I try to be very cordial with walkers that may have overlooked the signs when entering the park and try and steer them clear of the event. For the most part these encounters are very understanding. I have also been harassed by walkers that just dont want to hear it, they start to curse and swear at us. It is unfortunate that folks (on both sides)act like this. Hopefully we can continue to get along and everyone can enjoy the resource that is available to us.

To answer some of the questions, Sometimes these licensed events do run later into the evening so the best advice is to heed the signs, if they say "Area Closed" assume that an event is still taking place.

I take exception to being heaped in as a nasty person. From our point of view, when we see walkers with there dogs walking through these events when signs are clearly posted that the area is closed and "LIVE AMMUNITION" is being fired, we tend to shake our heads and wonder what these people are thinking. Is it really worth it to that person to risk a horrible injury to themself or there pet to try and make a point?

Freed's picture
Weekend Usage

I went to Nod Brook at around 6pm on Saturday but found the CLOSED signs still up - so chose not to risk using it. Could someone say for sure the trials finish at 5pm and that use after then until sunset is allowed/safe?

Deb's picture
Why the area is closed sometimes

As a few reviewers have mentioned, the area is closed sometimes for Field Dog Trials(mostly mid-spring until late fall). It's important that we respect the fact that it's closed. The State of Connecticut purchased the property in 1975, with the assistance of federal funds that require the land to be open to public use. While the State has fully complied with that stipulation, it intended at the time of purchase that this land be available for dog field trials and dog trainers who compete in those trials. It is one of only four such dog training areas in the state. Some of the small fingers of water were specially created for dog field trials. People come from different states to Nod Brook because it is such an unusual and exceptional facility for the trials. They spend thousands of dollars on their dogs and on training. The trials truly do use a lot of the area, and if a club does let people sneak into one end of the park, invariably an off-leash dog runs into the trial. That results in an interruption (best case) or perhaps the dog that's running in the trial at the time performs poorly. If you've ever been a competitor in any sport or activity, and have spent time and money training and preparing, perhaps you can understand how upsetting that would be.

Please visit for more information and for a link to the DEP closing schedule, and thanks for trying to get along with everyone at Nod Brook. We've made great strides, and many of the field dog trial people are trying to be more flexible and agreeable as a result. Shoreline Retrievers even did a sample trial for us last year, to help us understand why the area needs to be closed.

It's too bad there aren't more areas where dogs are allowed to run off leash. Let's be good Nod Brook citizens so we don't jeapordize our ability to use this area.

Visitor's picture
nice place

I just moved to Simsbury (up on the mountain) a year ago and was told about this field. I have never been yelled at by these trainers, etc... but one time on a Sunday morning was told very coldly to "vacate the premises" by a woman that was a "judge" for the event. So I did. But other wise I've met some nice people and pretty much stay away or ignore the hunting dog trainer people. They look rude so I do not bother with them. Only one time did I see a police SUV parked in the field, this was July around 815pm. Otherwise no trouble. Yeah some teens up to no good hide out on the edges of the woods but nothing bad has ever happened. Its a really nice place. Just watch out for loads of poision ivy during the summer months!!!!! Your dog can carry the oils and spread them to you!!! I found out the hard way many of times!

Visitor's picture

I just found this site as i was doing a search on this area. i will say everything posted here is pretty accurate. I just went the other weekend for the FIRST TIME and I was shouted at and then told to leave the property. I don't even know what a field trial is let alone testing in progress means!? Now I know. I guess i will stick to the Granby dog park with my "mutt" as someone said vs coming to this field where its obviously not for "pet dog" owners.

Visitor's picture
Went on Saturday for the First Time

I enjoyed dogs enjoyed it, it's a shame that I work all week long and that seems to be the only time spring-fall that it's open to the general public. I've marked my calendar for the days I can bring them and will definitely go again. I met some very, very nice people; my dogs had a wonderful time meeting other dogs and I found out that my 7 mo. old can swim.

I'd love to be able to take them on the weekends, but I was told by one person that I met that they field trial people are nasty and it's just best to stay away; and it's closed during those dates anyway.

Visitor's picture
Great area but...

We've been taking our pet dog to Nod Brook for 2 years, never when area is closed for trials (which seems to be most weekends in spring-fall). It is a great place to run and swim and socialize for dogs. It is the hunters who make us feel uncomfortable. We were in Nod Brook over Xmas holidays--there were two hunters who had driven their trucks into middle of fields and were walking around shooting at nothing we could see (certainly no geese around). When we tried to get as far away as possible, one hunter walked parallel our new path, turning when we did, and then tried to drive truck up path we took to leave (but was not a car track and had to turn back), giving us an eerie feeling of being pursued. We have never seen any police or DEP officers in area.

SandyRed80's picture
Great area to excercise your dog

I have been going to Nod Brook for almost 3 years since my Brittney was a pup.  I have met all kinds of people here and I will have to agree with the previous reviews that if there is a field trial taking place to STAY AWAY.  I have run into a few guys training their gun dogs and yes they were rude.  But hey I have a right to be there as well. 

I have also met a lot of cool people here and lots of pet dogs and have never had a problem. 

I will warn you that the past two years I have run into duck/geese hunters here in December/January at 7am.  I no longer go to the fields this early but they do "hide" in their camo sleeping bag things.  I freaked out one early morn when a guy popped out of the ground (literally) and warned me that they are hunting geese and ducks this morning.  You can hear them with those duck call things.  I have also seen them set up on the outskirts of the field and sometimes in the middle of the fields with homemade forts is the best I can describe it.  Again this was early morn hours.  So you do have to be aware of live hunting taking place from October-January I think.  Check the DEP website.  I was told that they are allowed to hunt ducks/geese and "small game" here.  No upland game birds are hunted here I was told.

Overall its so nice to have all this open land for your dog.  You can let your dog run free and have a blast and meet up with other dogs/people as well.  Its a great place but its shared by many so we all have to respect each other.

Shaymus's picture
Great area with sour apples

I have a Blue Heeler pure breed.  He is well trained and was once used to herd sheep for my uncle in upstate NY on a farm.  This dog thrives on running in the open land.  He needs to.  I've been coming to these fields on and off since I do not live close to this area.  I have met some great people here and some great dogs.  Its got a lot of open land for dogs to just run freely. 

During the spring/summer months there are a lot of field trials and hunt tests that take place here during weekends.  Well sometimes I have gone here when these events were taking place.  Granted the area is closed but there were times where I honestly did not know this.  Very bad news.  I have been screamed at and yelled at by these people a few times.  I forgot the name of the club but they were all goldens and one time it was all labs and chessies.  Very rude people.  I understand why they are upset but the behavior is totally uncalled for.  I finally was directed to check the DEP site to find out when these events were taking place.  They were basically every weekend from 8am-4pm'ish.  So I'd go around 5 but sometimes these people were still there and again would either try to stare me down or make sly comments about my dog. 

Their event was over but they were still just hanging around so I saw no problem why I could not be there.  During the weekdays at night during summer months I have run into a lot of retreiver trainers.  I always am respectful for their space.  But again they get mad and shout at me.  Only one time I met a nice guy with a lab who was training and he kinda gave me the run down on the people who come there and how he feels its a bit uncalled for.  Most of these people are from out of state he told me.  

Other than that I've run into the occasional teens hiding on the sidelines of the fields that were drinking and smoking you know what.  The town cops do know about this as I ran into one there one night. 

So great place to take your dog but just be sure to stay away when there is an event going on here. 

MycroftH's picture
Great area but be aware and respectful!!!

I have been coming to these fields for 2yrs now.  Just some quick background this area was created for hunting dog / field trial training.  Back in the early 90s I remember my father taking me here as he was a hunter and it was a spot where his club met up to train their Chesapeakes and Labs.  So I've always known about this area.  I recently moved back to the area in a newly built house with a new Lab.  I started going to Nod Brook but soon found out that there are many hunt clubs using this area on the weekends for testing / trialing and sometimes during the weekdays/nights- training.  I personally do hunt with my lab but I do not use these fields for training.  I actually have my own land to do this but enjoy coming to Nod Brook to meet new and frequent pet dog owners.  Its great to get the dogs out to meet and play.  What I have observed in the past year is tension.  Tension between hunt clubs and pet dog owners.  I have seen a few screaming matches between the two.  Threats exchanged.  Its preposterous, we are adults!  I myself had an exchange of words with a woman that belonged to a hunt club.  She was downright rude!  She actually escorted me off the field because they were conducting a test.  I respected that but did not respect the "mad-doggin", rude behavior, and insulting comments.  I kept my mouth shut and left.  I talked to a local police officer once who was parked in the lot.  He told me that a few complaints have been called in and that they would monitor the area on the weekends to keep the peace.  Wow.  Recently I haven't seen police presense but did see 4 DEP officers one night patroling the area.  When asked what was up they said they were just doing a routine patrol.  I have never seen DEP presense before in the 2 years I have been going there until this past June 08.  

There rarely is any type of upland bird hunting going on at Nod Brook in October-January.  There really isn't any wild game birds here and as far as I know no released bird hunting.  A few times I saw a pack of hounds and hunters and they were hunting rabbits and squirels.  Another time I saw some youngsters up to "no good" as they were just shooting their 12ga shotguns into the river. 

Overall this is a great place to bring your dog to run in the open field.  They can swim in the river or the ponds.  Meet other dogs and play.  And you yourself can make new friends.  But I think you need to check the DEP site to see when field trials are taking place. (usually on weekends).  If there is a trial best to just avoid the grounds and come after 5pm'ish when they are done.  Its a shame we can't all just get along!