Connecticut Geography

Connecticut Geography

The geography of Connecticut plays a very important role for the state. What’s more, if we trace back to the origin of the name ‘Connecticut’, we find that Connecticut is named after the Indian word "quinnitukq-ut" meaning "at the long tidal river", which is actually the name given to the Connecticut River. The capital of the state is Hartford, which is named after the city of Hartford in England. The other important cities are Bridgeport and New Haven.
The State Flower of Connecticut is Mountain Laurel, while the State Bird is Mountain Robin, and the State Tree being White Oak.

Geographically,Connecticut borders New York State, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, with Long Island Sound at the South.

Connecticut is a very small state, and ranks 48th among the 50 states of the United States of America,  Rhode Island and Delaware following after it. It extends c.90 mi (145 km) from east to west and c.55 mi (90 km) from north to south. The geography of the state is remarkable enough for providing a thorough ground of study with numerous interesting variations throughout the whole area.

The state divides itself into two equal sections:

  • The Eastern Highland, and
  • The Western Highland

The western highland, however, is more rugged than the Eastern Highlands, mainly because of the presence of the Taconic Mountains and Litchfield Hills in this region. The eastern highland is mainly drained by the Thames and the other rivers joining it, while, the Housatonic, and its main tributary Naugatuck drains the western part of the highland.

The highlands are separated by the Connecticut Valley Lowland. The Connecticut Valley Lowland averages about 30 miles wide. It runs through the centre of Connecticut and then turns north into Massachusetts, the Connecticut Valley. Many small rivers with basalt ridges are found in this region.

The Connecticut River flows through the northern half of the lowland. In the south, there is a low coastal plain along Long Island Sound.

If we delve deep into the geography of Connecticut, there are several significant factors that provide a wide scope of study:

 The highest areas of Connecticut are situated in the northwest uplands, generally known as the Berkshires. It goes on losing its elevation as it advances to meet the Long Island Sound in the south. Actually, the lowest point of Connecticut is where the State meets the Island.

The geography of the state of Connecticut can be distinctively divided into five regions:

  • Taconic Section - The Taconic section is in the northwestern part of the state, Connecticut’s highest peak, Mt. Frissell is situated in this region.
  • Western New England Upland – The upland however slopes down gradually from northwest to southeast, from about 1400 to 1000 feet. Major part of the western Connecticut comes under this region. It is marked by ridges, rivers, and hills.
  • Connecticut Valley Lowland – This area is about 30 miles wide, as mentioned before.
  • Eastern New England Upland - The Eastern New England Upland region is made up of narrow river valleys and low hills, with the land sloping down from northwest to northeast. This is a heavily forested area. 
  • Coastal Lowlands – Connecticut actually does not have any direct ocean coast. But the state has easy access to the Atlantic, by Long Island Sound and Block Island Sound.

The Connecticut Coastal Lowlands is a narrow strip of land, 6 to 16 miles wide, and stretches along the southern shore of the state, the Long Island Sound.

Geography of Connecticut

The geography of Connecticut is variably beautiful, and diverse in its own way. In a nutshell, we can summarize all these facts in a table:

Connecticut Longitude

71° 47' W to 73° 44' W

Connecticut Latitude

40° 58' N to 42° 3' N

Connecticut Capital


Connecticut Borders

Massachusetts on the north, Long Island Sound on the south, Massachusetts and Rhode Island on the east, and on the west, by New York.

Connecticut Total Area

5,544 square miles.

Connecticut Land Area

4,845 square miles

Connecticut Water Area

698 square miles

Connecticut Highest Point

Mount Frissell at 2,380 feet above sea level

Connecticut Lowest Point

the state borders Long Island Sound, at sea level

Connecticut Mean Elevation

500 feet above sea level

Connecticut Major Rivers

Connecticut River, Housatonic River, Thames River

Connecticut Major Lakes

Lake candlewood

List of Connecticut State Forests

Name Location (of main entrance)
Algonquin State Forest Colebrook
American Legion State Forest Barkhamsted
Centennial Watershed State Forest Redding
Cockaponset State Forest Haddam
Enders State Forest Granby
James L. Goodwin State Forest Hampton
Housatonic State Forest Sharon
Massacoe State Forest Simsbury
Mattatuck State Forest Watertown
Meshomasic State Forest East Hampton
Mohawk State Forest Goshen
Mohegan State Forest Scotland
Nassahegon State Forest Burlington
Natchaug State Forest Eastford
Nathan Hale State Forest Andover
Naugatuck State Forest Beacon Falls
Nehantic State Forest Lyme
Nepaug State Forest New Hartford
Nipmuck State Forest Union
Nye-Holman State Forest Tolland
Pachaug State Forest Voluntown
Paugnut State Forest Torrington
People's State Forest Barkhamsted
Pootatuck State Forest New Fairfield
Quaddick State Forest Thompson
Salmon River State Forest Colchester
Shenipsit State Forest Somers
Topsmead State Forest Litchfield
Tunxis State Forest East Hartland
Wyantenock State Forest Warren

List of Rivers of Connecticut

By Drainage Basin

  • Pawcatuck River
    • Ashaway River (Rhode Island)
      • Green Fall River
    • Shunock River
    • Wood River
  • Mystic River
    • Whitford Brook
  • Poquonock River
  • Thames River
    • Shetucket River
      • Little River (Shetucket River)
      • Natchaug River
        • Fenton River
        • Mount Hope River
        • Still River (Natchaug River)
      • Quinebaug River
        • Blackwell Brook
        • Fivemile River (Quinebaug River)
        • French River
        • Little River (Quinebaug River)
        • Moosup River
        • Pachaug River
      • Willimantic River
        • Hop River
          • Skungamaug River
        • Tenmile River (Willimantic River)
    • Yantic River
  • Niantic River
  • Fourmile River (Connecticut)
  • Threemile River (Connecticut)
  • Black Hall River
  • Connecticut River
    • Deep River (Connecticut River)
    • Eightmile River (Connecticut River)
    • Falls River (Connecticut River)
    • Moodus River
    • Salmon River
      • Blackledge River
      • Jeremy River
    • Farmington River
      • East Branch Farmington River
      • Nepaug River
      • Pequabu River
        • Pequabuck River
        • Poland River
      • West Branch Farmington River
        • Still River (Farmington River)
          • Mad River (Still River)
    • Hockanum River
      • Tankerhoosen River
    • Mattabesett River
      • Coginchaug River
    • Park River
    • Podunk River
    • Scantic River
      • Watchaug River
  • Patchogue River
  • Menunketesuck River
  • Indian River (Clinton)
  • Hammonasset River
  • Neck River
  • East River (Connecticut)
  • West River (Guilford)
  • Branford River
  • Farm River (Connecticut)
  • Quinnipiac River
    • Eightmile River (Quinnipiac River)
    • Muddy River (Connecticut)
    • Tenmile River (Quinnipiac River)
  • Mill River
  • West River
    • Sargent River
  • Cove River (Connecticut)
  • Oyster River (Connecticut)
  • Indian River (Milford)
  • Wepawaug River
  • Housatonic River
    • Blackberry River
      • Whiting River
    • Halfway River
    • Farmill River
    • Hollenbeck River
    • Konkapot River
    • Naugatuck River
      • Mad River (Naugatuck River)
    • Ten Mile River, Housatonic
    • Pomperaug River
      • Nonewaug River
      • Weekeepeemee River
    • Pootatuck River
    • Shepaug River
      • Bantam River
      • Marshepaug River
    • Still River
    • West Aspetuck River
      • East Aspetuck River
  • Pequonnock River
  • Mill River
  • Saugatuck River
    • Aspetuck River
    • Little River
    • West Branch Saugatuck River
  • Norwalk River
  • Silvermine River
  • Fivemile River
  • Noroton River
  • Rippowam River
  • Mianus River
  • Byram River
  • Hudson River (New York)
    • Croton River (New York)
      • Titicus River