Area: 23.3 square miles
Population : 1262
Government: Selectmen, Town meeting
The town of Canaan, is located in the Northwestern corner of Connecticut on the east bank of the Housatonic River. The town, named for the Biblical land of Canaan, was auctioned at New London in 1738 as were most of the towns up in the corner. Canaan is made up of mountains on the south and east, with a plain along the Housatonic, from which cultivated valleys reach back into the hills. It contains major portions of the Housatonic State Forest.
In the past, Canaan was devoted primarily to agriculture, sheep raising, and iron mining. The divisions of interests between the northern and southern portions of the town appeared in the 18th Century, causing first a division into two ecclesiastical societies and then, in 1858, the split into two towns. The older, northern portion became North Canaan, whi
U.S. 7 crosses from Salisbury at Lime Rock Station, and continues north under the cliffs of Canaan Mountain. At South Canaan there is an attractive Congregational Church, erected in 1802. Rt. 43 leads west to Falls Village. The area offers botanists a plethora of unique plant life to explore, and is protected by the Canaan Mountain Natural Area Preserve, the largest contiguous holding of open space in Connecticut. It runs from Waghum Lake in the high mountains down through important alkaline wetlands of Robins Swamp.
Rt. 43 runs southeast up the beautiful Hollenbeck Valley to Cornwall. About 1 1/2 miles from South Canaan, a road climbs south 1 mile to Music Mountain, where the Gordon Musical Foundation has established a summer school. Concerts are given weekly during the season. One can cross at this point to the Under Mountain Road, along the south slope of Canaan Mountain, with remarkable views of the mountains to the northwest.
The Appalachian Trail comes down from Cornwall through the Housatonic State Forest and Deane's Ravine, a cascading brook of great beauty, reached by road 1 1/2 miles southeast from Lime Rock Station, with a short walk up the stream. The Trail then climbs over rock ledges to Barrack Mountain, with good views of the Housatonic Valley, and down to the crossing at Falls Village.