Shepaug Dam Bald Eagles
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Plan Your Visit

Tips from our visitors and volunteers to make your visit as rewarding as possible and to help ensure you see bald eagles.

Step 1 in planning your eagle viewing visit to the Shepaug Dam is making a reservation for your visit.  You must have a reservation at the Dam prior to your visit.  You may make your reservation between December 7th and March 7th.  If you've not made your reservation, please click here before proceeding further.

1)  Spend time here on our website becoming familiar with the Observation Area and the graphic informational displays you will find posted in the Observation Building.
2)  Eagles are not always visible at the dam.  The time of day, month, weather and whether the Dam is generating power all influence the presence of eagles. 
3)  Very cold, clear weather is best for finding eagles at the Dam.  If the rivers and ponds are freezing up in inland Connecticut, that's a very good indicator that eagles will be in the area of the Dam.  Usually, earlier morning hours are better for finding eagles at the Dam.  Most of all, plan on spending an hour or more at the Dam.  If eagles aren't at the Dam when you arrive, they likely will be soon.
4)  Over-dress.  Dress in several layers of clothing and dress with more layers than you may think you need.  The Dam is on a hill and tends to be colder than most other Connecticut locations.  You'll be more comfortable removing layers of clothing than wishing you had layers of clothing to add.
5)  No matter your itinerary, plan for extra time.  The eagles don't know, or care, about your schedule.  To have the greatest chance of seeing eagles, plan to spend as much time at the Dam on the day of your visit as possible.
6)  If at all possible, allow an hour extra time to travel to Shepaug Dam.  Take the Merritt Parkway to exit 53 (Route 110).  You may want to stop for some coffee at Ryder's Landing and walk over the Sikorsky Bridge looking for eagles up the river. 
7)  Follow Route 110 north to the center of downtown Shelton.  When you see the sign for Route 34 (Bridge Street) in downtown Shelton, make a right onto Bridge Street, cross the bridge,  then turn left onto Route 34 westbound.  Route 34 will eventually cross the  Stevenson Dam.  Keep your eyes on the river and the trees to the left of Route 34.  Eagles frequent the river all along Route 34.
8)  Stop at the Lake Zoar Drive-In on the right hand side of the road right after you cross the Stevenson Dam and park your car.  Eagles are often visible over Lake Zoar behind Stevenson Dam.  While parked at the Lake Zoar Drive-In, use the restrooms.  There are no comfort stations at the Shepaug Dam (only port-a-potties) and no running water.
9)  Continue on Route 34 westbound.  You'll pass under I-84.  After passing under I-84, continue straight onto Glen RoadDO NOT follow Route 34 to the left.  Eventually, you'll come to an intersection with stop lights in the center of Sandy HookContinue straight through the intersection onto Glen Road for about another mile.  You'll cross a large bridge.  Make a left just beyond the bridge onto River Road.
10)  Watch for eagles all the way up River Road.  Don't get out of your car.  You'll frighten off any perched eagles.
11)  After visiting the Dam, consider visiting Audubon Connecticut's Bent of the River sanctuary in Southbury.  You may want to stop at Waldo State Park, on the way to Bent of the River, to look for eagles. 
12)  After viewing the eagles and visiting Bent of the River, spend an extra hour so you can visit McLaughlin Vineyards for a wine tasting.  From the Dam, retrace your route back down River Road.  Make a right onto Glen Road.  Cross the bridge and make your first right onto Walnut Tree Hill Road
13)  Continue on Walnut Tree Hill Road until you come to the intersection of Alberts Hill Road and Walnut Tree Hill Road.  Make a right onto Alberts Hill Road.  The driveway into McLaughlin Vineyards will  be on the right.  Proceed down the driveway for about a mile.  The vineyard is at the top of the hill on the dirt road.
14)  McLaughlin Vineyards is on the other side of the Housatonic River from the Observation Area.  The wines are interesting and good.  The tasting is very inexpensive.  Ask for Deedee.  She'll help you pair your wines with the food being served at Sal e Pepe's in Newtown.  Ask Deedee to help you find your way to Sal e Pepe's for lunch.
15)  If we may assist you in any way with planning your eagle viewing visit, please e-mail us at

Shepaug Dam Observation Building


Sikorsky Bridge


Lake Zoar Drive-In
Lake Zoar Drive-In


I-84 Overpass at Route 34
I-84 Overpass at Route 34


Bridge on Glen Road
Bridge on Glen Road just before River Road


Audubon Connecticut
The historic barn at Audubon Center at Bent of the River


McLaughlin Vineyards
McLaughlin Vineyards


Sal e Pepe
Sal e Pepe

Lake Zoar
Lake Zoar behind Stevenson Dam

Shepaug Dam, Southbury, Connecticut, USA