A member-based nonprofit. Connecting people to the land since 1895.
Home » Blue Blazed Hiking Trails » Native American Trail Names

Native American Trail Names

Cockaponset Trail Sign

CFPA’s early records indicate that the trails were named after Native Americans in the differing regions of the state because they follow old footpaths. While, for the most part, we are unsure of the exact location of original Indian trail systems, the connection with local Native American tribes is known. So we have compiled a number of Indian place names and their English meanings as translated by John Holden in 1962. While exploring the Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail System, watch for landforms that correspond to the trail’s given Indian name.

The following list was assembled by Nicholas F. Bellantoni, PhD, (former) Connecticut State Archaeologist, for the 19th Edition of the Connecticut Walk Book East:

Mattabesett: “a resting place,” “place of a large brook”

Coginchaug: “at the place where to cure fish,” “stones in brook,” “outlet of cove”

Totoket: “on the great tidal stream”

Pistapaug: “muddy pond”

Metacomet (possibly): “at a faraway place”

Cockaponset: “the boundary is at this falls”

Nayantaquit: “points of land on tidal stream”

Nehantuck: “point of land on a tidal river or estuary”

Nipmuck: “fresh water place,” “fresh water fishing place”

Shenipsit: “at the great pool”

Natchaug: “between rivers”

Pootatuck: “falls in river,” “county around falls”

Pattaconk: “round hill”

Meshomasic: “at the place of great springs”

Pachaug: “the fork, or turning aside place”

Quassapaug: “long pond”

Naugatuck: “one tree”

Housatonic: “between the mountains”

Higganum: “quarry where we get stone for axes”

Get more trail info, visit the Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails interactive map, find out about volunteer options, or make a donation to support what CFPA does for you.