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Connecticut State Parks

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Mystic Country Region
Selden Neck State Park
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67 River Road
East Haddam, Connecticut   06423

Phone: 860-526-2336
Toll Free: 866-287-2757
Email: park email button icon
Three public camps along the Connecticut River at Hurd, Gillette Castle and Selden Neck State Parks offer primitive, riverside sites with fireplaces and pit toilets for individuals traveling on the river.The river campsites are available from May 1 through September 30. The length of stay is limited to one night. Use of river campsites at Hurd and Gillette Castle is restricted to canoers only.
History of the Area
Though called Selden Neck, this park is actually an island. Cut off from the mainland in the 1850s, Selden Neck has spent the better part of 160 years on its own as the largest island in the Connecticut River. The island is named after John Selden who was the second owner of the property having purchased it in 1695. It remained in the Selden family for approximately 170 years until the 1860s. In 1889 a partnership bought the property to quarry the islands? red granite schist for paving stones. These paving blocks were four inches wide, seven inches deep and twelve inches long. These blocks were used for paving the streets of New York city nearly 130 years ago.

Today the roadless, uninhabited, 607 acre island, bordered to the east by Selden Creek and by the Connecticut River to the west, is roughly a half mile wide and one and a half miles long. Except for the tidal marshes, the island is completely blanketed with lush woodland vegetation. The island tops out at nearly 230 feet in elevation providing some areas of potentially strenuous hiking.

Connecticut State Parks has constructed four primitive camp areas (see map) for overnight stays. Each location invites the camper to explore the island trails, some marked better than others, in search of wildlife, the remains of the farmstead, and a former quarry building?s granite foundation.

A marked trail begins near the Quarry Knob camp site and leads to the quarry area in the southeast part of the island. The trail encounters the old causeway, built to transfer the granite stones from the quarry face to the shoreline for shipment. Another trail extends northwest to the ruins of old farm buildings and a well.

Lookouts from the trail offer wonderful views of the lower Connecticut River. From these the viewer will quickly understand why the Nature Conservancy designated the lower Connecticut River as one of "America's Last Great Places". Views to the east, opposite Selden Creek, encompass 275 more acres of Nature Conservancy owned land. The quiet of the island is inviting. Listen at night to the wind in the wings of waterfowl passing overhead.

History courtesy of David Wordell's "The Quarries of Selden Neck".
Connecticut has made state parks, forests, trails, historic sites and beaches more accessible to our residents so they can enjoy the many attractions and beauty they offer. Under the Passport to the Parks program, parking fees are now eliminated at Connecticut State Parks for those with Connecticut registered vehicles. You can view the CONNECTICUT PASSPORT TO THE PARKS web page to learn more.
There are four primitive camp areas in this park.
Nearby Accommodations
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BBs / Inns
Located along the CT Shoreline midway between New York City and Boston, and only one hour from Hartford, with tons of local attractions both on the Long Island Sound and the Connecticut River.
3.2 miles from park*
Accessible only by water, the park offers freshwater fishing along the Connecticut River. Anglers can catch bass, catfish, and panfish.

Selden Neck State Park offers scenic picnic spots accessible by boat, with views of the Connecticut River and serene nature.
- Main Trail: This is the longest trail in Selden Neck State Park, approximately 2.5 miles long; it winds through dense forest and offers glimpses of wildlife.

- River View Loop: A shorter loop at around 1 mile, this trail provides stunning views over Connecticut river with several viewpoints along its course.

- South End Pathway: Approximately a half-mile long pathway that leads to the southernmost point on Selden Island offering panoramic water vistas.

- Quarry Trails: These trails lead hikers to an old quarry site where remnants from early stone-cutting operations can be seen; length varies but most are under one mile each way.

- North Point Lookout Trail : Roughly three-quarters of a mile in length leading up to northern tip providing sweeping view across Lyme's Hamburg Cove area.

- West Shoreline Walkway : An easy walk alongside western shoreline for about two-thirds of a mile presenting serene waterside scenes throughout journey.

- East Side Ridge Track : About one-and-a-half miles track running parallel with eastern shore giving elevated perspective over surrounding landscapes including Gillette Castle State park visible afar off eastward direction.

- Central Forest Route : Less than half-mile route cutting straight through middle part island's woodland revealing variety flora fauna native region while connecting main north-south pathways together facilitating circular hikes within interior parts island terrain
Things To Do in the Area
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Explore the Connecticut River aboard the R/V River Quest, an environmentally friendly 64', 60 passenger vessel docked at Eagle Landing State Park, Haddam, CT.
8.3 miles from park*

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Nearby Hotels

From New Haven, Connecticut:

- Head north on I-91.
- Take exit 6 for Willow Street toward Blatchley Avenue.
- Turn right onto Willow Street.

Continue to Branford and Guilford:

- Follow signs for CT Route 103/US Highway1/Branford/Guilford.
- Merge with US Hwy 1 E via the ramp to Branford/Guilford.

Proceed towards Old Lyme:

- Continue straight onto Main St/Old Boston Post Rd in Old Saybrook.
- Use any lane to turn slightly left onto Ferry Road.

Arriving at Selden Neck State Park:

- From here you can access a boat or kayak rental service as it is only accessible by waterway from the town dock of Hadlyme's Gillette Castle State Park across the river.

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Connecticut State Parks