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East Rock

East Rock

East Rock

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Connecticut, United States, North America

Object Title: East Rock

County: New Haven

Activities: Hiking

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 366 ft / 112 m


Page By: NathalieLouise

Created/Edited: Apr 26, 2009 / Apr 26, 2009

Object ID: 509033

Hits: 13785 

Page Score: 77.48%  - 8 Votes 

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Downtown New Haven
Downtown New Haven and the Long Island Sound seen from the summit

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.

Canoeing on the Mill River, below East Rock
The Mill River and East Rock, seen from Orange St in New Haven
East Rock s Steepest Face
Up close to East Rock's steepest face
Peering out to Sleeping Giant
Peering out to Sleeping Giant (R) and the Mill River

Getting There

East 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.
Forsythia Wall
Spring bloom along the western face
Along the Mill River
A pleasant greenway along the Mill River
The East Rock Civil War Monument
The East Rock Civil War monument at the summit


There 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.

Giant Steps
The Giant Steps
The New Haven Harbor
The New Haven Harbor, seen from the summit
Lake Whitney Dam
Lake Whitney Dam, opposite the covered bridge

Red Tape

Red Tape in East Rock
Some canine red tape in East Rock

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 Links

Official East Rock Park information (including directions, trail map, and complete rules)

Friends of East Rock Park
Covered Bridge, East Rock Park
The newly restored covered bridge by the Eli Whitney Museum, just below East Rock


East Rock\'s Steepest FaceForsythia WallPeering out to Sleeping GiantEast RockAlong the Mill RiverCanoeing on the Mill River, below East RockLake Whitney Dam
The East Rock Civil War MonumentGiant StepsDowntown New HavenCovered Bridge, East Rock ParkThe New Haven HarborRed Tape in East Rock