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Connecticut State Parks

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USA Parks
River Valley Region
Wadsworth Falls State Park
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Wadsworth Falls State Park Root © Haridas Pachuveetil
An interesting shaped root found on the main trail in the Wadsworth Falls state park.
Wadsworth Falls State Park Wadsworth Falls © Haridas Pachuveetil
Wadsworth Falls State Park © Michael Bochenek
The Giant Laurel Tree on the main trail
Wadsworth Falls State Park © Michael Bochenek
Little Falls during winter
Wadsworth Falls State Park © Michael Bochenek
Little Falls during Fall
Wadsworth Falls State Park Wadsworth Falls © Daniel Gaedeke
Wadsworth Big Falls
Wadsworth Falls State Park Wadsworth Lower Falls © Gary Jordan
Wadsworth Falls State Park Wadsworth Falls © Daniel Gaedeke
Wadsworth Big falls
Wadsworth Falls State Park © Michael Bochenek
Bridge over the little brook heading toward the beach
Wadsworth Falls State Park Wadsworth Falls © Daniel Gaedeke
Wadsworth Big Falls
Wadsworth Falls State Park Wadsworth Upper Falls © Gary Jordan
The Upper Falls is a bit of a hike and somewhat treacherous in the winter, but worth the venture if you enjoy viewing waterfalls in the winter.
Wadsworth Falls State Park Wadsworth Lower Falls Falls © Gary Jordan
Wadsworth Big Falls is only a shortwalk from the main parking area.
Wadsworth Falls State Park © Michael Bochenek
Little brook at the begining of main trail
Wadsworth Falls State Park All Dryed Up © Gary Jordan
This is what Wadsworth Upper Falls looks like with no water. Its an interesting study of Connecticut geology. These rocks statred forming about 200 million years ago.
Wadsworth Falls State Park Wadsworth Falls © Angela Hansen
Wadsworth Falls are especially beautiful in the summer, when visitors can also splash in the water or barbeque on the banks
Wadsworth Falls State Park Wadsworth Little Falls © Angela Hansen
Wadsworth Little Falls are most enjoyable to visit during the spring.
Wadsworth Falls State Park Wadsworth Falls © Mike Lincoln
Wadsworth Falls in Wadsworth Falls State Park
Wadsworth Falls State Park Wadsworth Falls BW © Mike Lincoln
Wadsworth Falls Black and White
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381 Route 80
Killingworth, Connecticut   06419

Phone: 860-663-2030
Toll Free: 866-287-2757
Email: park email button icon
Spend a summer day cooling off in the mist of the waterfall or an autumn day hiking or biking the varied trails of the park.
Nature of the Area
The youngest rocks in Connecticut lie in the central part of the state. Wadsworth Falls State Park is made up of those young rocks, only about 200 million years old. About 250 million years ago all of Earth's land made up one huge continent called Pangea. It began to break up about that time, with large pieces of continental crust moving in various directions. What is now North America broke away from present-day Europe and Africa. As this occurred, tension fractures formed in the land, such as happen if you try to stretch cookie dough or modeling clay. Two such fractures formed in central Connecticut, allowing a long narrow valley to drop below the level of the surrounding land. Sediments from the surrounding highlands washed into the basin. Deep fractures formed in some places and lava flowed up to the surface from the upper mantle. Three such lava flows filled the valley and covered the surrounding uplands. In between the flows, sediments continued to flow into the still dropping valley. We now have a pile of sedimentary rock (made from the sediments), lava flow, sedimentary rock, lava flow, sedimentary rock, lava flow, sedimentary rock. Finally, the eastern side of the valley dropped faster than the western side, so now the rocks all dip toward the east. Over the intervening 200 million years, the higher uplands have eroded down so they are now much lower than they were and the basalts have all been eroded off of them. Basalts are now found only in the valley, where their lower elevation protected them from erosion.

Sedimentary rocks are made up from sediments, usually deposited by water in low areas such as streams, lakes and oceans. Over a long time these sediments can become so thick the pressure compresses the grains close together. Groundwater moving slowly through them gradually deposits dissolved minerals, such as calcium, silica or iron, between the grains, cementing them together. The lava flows cooled and solidified into basalt (also called traprock). Start your exploration of the park on the Scout Trail, which begins just past the swimming pond. Where the trail follows the stream edge, you will soon come to a shelf of flat rock. Sometimes water may cover this outcrop. The reddish brown rock is the Portland Arkose, the famous brownstone quarried for years in Portland and used for the brownstone buildings at Wesleyan and many other buildings around Connecticut, plus the brownstone buildings of New York City. It was shipped as far as San Francisco and is one of the rocks used in building the Parliament Building in Toronto, Canada. Here it is fine-grained and fairly smooth. If you run your fingers across it, you can feel the fine sand-sized grains that make it up. Arkose is a type of sandstone, made up mostly of quartz but also of feldspar. Most of the red color comes from the iron cement.

Watch for a stream coming down the hill on your left. The layers of arkose are thinner here. Some stick out, others are more indented. This is the result of differential weathering, meaning the harder layers have weathered less from the stream's flow than the softer layers. If you look closely at the layers, you will see that some are coarser than others, even containing pebbles. This is because the layers formed as streams carried sediments, depositing them probably in a lake. When stream flow was low and slow, only fine sediments could be moved by the water. But during floods, faster water could move materials as large as pebbles. So the various layers represent changes in the weather.

History of the Area
Clarence C. Wadsworth, noted scholar and linguist, had held the rank of Colonel in the New York National Guard before marrying and settling in Middletown. There he became involved in a forty-year effort to preserve the natural beauty of Wadsworth Falls for all people. By his will which established The Rockfall Corporation, a non-profit organization to administer his plans for the land, the 267 acres were given to the State in 1942.The Coginchaug River, flowing north along the western fringe of the park has been an important stream providing industrial waterpower. Only the sluiceway of a textile mill remains by Wadsworth Falls in the southwest corner of the park. Nearby, one of the first pistol factories in Connecticut was operated during the 1800's by Simeon North, developer of the interchangeable parts system for firearms used in the Civil War.Gunpowder was made at the factory established by Jehosophat Starr at Powder Mill Pond in 1794, until the business literally blew up in 1892. Today, the waters of this pond are used as a reserve to replenish the Bone Mill Pond below.The swimming pool, a saucer-shaped basin hollowed out of the level plain south of Route 157, is paved with a soil cement to prevent water from leaching out. Water pumped from a series of inter-connected wells located near the river is directed into the pool creating a circulating effect.There is a level walk from the parking area on Cherry Hill Road, off Route 157, to the brink of the falls. A trail system connects the falls with the main swimming/picnicking area and other scenic areas of the park. From a stone bridge used by the Colonel, the trail passes through densely wooded areas, the Little Falls and several meandering streams.Others may wish to explore or fish the cold waters of the Coginchaug River. Here, beneath great hemlocks and noble oaks, nature provides her own air-conditioning.
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.
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.
19.4 miles from park*
Visitors can enjoy fishing in the designated areas along the Coginchaug River. Common catches include trout, bass, and catfish.

Wadsworth Falls State Park offers scenic picnicking spots near waterfalls, with tables available and grills for outdoor cooking.
- Main Trail: This is a 1.25-mile trail that starts from the parking area and leads directly to Wadsworth Big Falls, offering scenic views of the Coginchaug River.

- Red Triangle Blazed Hiking Trail: A moderately difficult hike spanning about two miles; it takes you through dense woods with glimpses of wildlife such as deer or birds.

- Blue Circle Blazed Hiking Trail: Approximately one mile long, this easy-to-moderate level path winds along wooded areas and provides beautiful vistas over Cherry Hill Road's ravine.

- White Square Blazing Loop (Little Falls): An approximately half-a-mile loop leading hikers to Little Falls - an impressive waterfall cascading down rocky ledges into a serene pool below.

- Orange Rectangle Blaze (Main Street Middletown Access Point): Starting at Main Street in Middletown, this three-quarter-of-a-mile-long trail offers access points for fishing on its way towards Wadsworth Mansion before ending near Laurel Grove Cemetery.

-The Swimming Area Pathway: Short walkway providing direct access from main park entrance to designated swimming area by Mill Brook Waterfall during summer months; length not specified but less than quarter mile based on map scale.

-Purple Diamond Marked Bridle Trails : These are multi-use trails suitable for horseback riding which also offer good hiking opportunities across varied terrain within park boundaries; exact lengths vary depending upon chosen route combination.
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.
8.7 miles from park*

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
February 22 One of my favorite parks by Michael B.
park review stars; one to five Couple times a week i take my dog for a little hike at Wadsworth Park and both me and my dog love it. Its a great getaway from the city for a few hours. Through out many of my hikes I came across many picture perfect moments from watching a few deer eating in the distance or a few rabbits run across the path, and even an owl flying from tree to tree. My husky feels right at home whenever we visit the park and also my family joins me on the hike sometimes and we all have memorable moments
July 28 Incredible!!!!!!
park review stars; one to five This past weekend my family and I spent the day at the lake. We had a wonderful time. It is so relaxing. Then we took a ride down the street to the falls and we had soooo much fun. It has rained alot so the falls were roaring to its maximum!!!! We had fun!!!!
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Nearby Hotels

From Hartford area: take I-91 south onto Route 9 south. Follow Route 9 south to Middletown. Take Middletown ? Meriden Exit 15 onto Route 66. Stay on Route 66 through Middletown for 6-7 traffic lights ? look for the signs Wadsworth Falls State Park and Route 157 at a traffic light near a Walgreen?s Pharmacy. Take a left onto Route 157. Stay on Route 157. Wadsworth Falls State Park will be on the left.

From New Haven area: take I-91 north onto Route 66 (Middletown ? Meriden Exit 15). Follow Route 66 towards Middletown. Look for the signs Wadsworth Falls State Park and Route 157 on the right. Follow Route 157 to Wadsworth Falls State Park.

From Westbrook/Shoreline areas: take Route 9 north onto Route 66 (Middletown ? Meriden Exit 15). Follow Route 66 through Middletown for 6-7 traffic lights. Take Route 157 off Route 66 near a Walgreen?s Pharmacy. Stay on Route 157 to Wadsworth Falls State Park.

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Connecticut State Parks