For city dwellers who can’t make it to the mountains, East Rock Park brings a mountain to the city. Recognizable by its sheer 350-ft. western face and the white granite Civil War monument that rises from it, the eponymous rock is by far the most conspicuous landmark in the park, which also encompasses the humbler summits of Indian Head and Snake Rock.
Residents of the neighborhood to which it lends its name can be seen jogging, biking, and hiking its trails all four seasons of the year, and its ample picnic areas at base and summit are a magnetic draw throughout the warmer months.
East Rock is a traprock ridge belonging to the Metacomet Ridge. Its nearest visible neighbor along the same formation is West Rock, visible from the summit and points along the way.
The park plays host to a remarkable variety of wildlife. A keen eye might spot a beaver improving its dam in the Mill River, and flocks of wild turkeys are on regular patrol. For novice birdwatchers, there's a short nature trail along the Mill River with interpretive signs depicting local fauna.
Getting ThereEast Rock Park is situated on the boundary between New Haven and Hamden. If you arrive by car, the most convenient parking area is located on the Hamden side, accessible via Park Drive, located between Ridge Rd and Hartford Turnpike. (See External Links below for complete directions). Multiple entrances are open to walkers and bikers; the most convenient from the East Rock (neighborhood) side is to follow Orange St. to its end immediately below the summit and follow the road or trails from there.
RoutesThere are several enjoyable ways to the top of East Rock. Certainly the most dramatic are the Giant Steps (red triangle), notched directly into the rock’s steep face. The steps are accessible from their intersection with the gentler white trail, which travels along the Mill River and wraps gradually uphill.
A paved service road closed to regular traffic also leads to the summit from an entrance across the street from Rice Field.
See the park map (External Links) for complete trail information.
There are no fees for parking or entry to the park.
Opening hours are sunrise to sunset.
Dogs must be leashed.
Officially, bicycles are permitted only on paved roads.
There are no camping facilities in the park.
External LinksOfficial East Rock Park information (including directions, trail map, and complete rules)
Friends of East Rock Park