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Connecticut State Parks

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USA Parks
Greater New Haven Region
West Rock Ridge State Park
West Rock Ridge State Park © 5ju989nfhs50 at English Wikipedia / CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
West Rock. New Haven Connecticut. 2003. Paul Gagnon
West Rock Ridge State Park © 2112guy / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Judges Cave at West Rock Ridge State Park, Connecticut, USA
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1134 Wintergreen Avenue
New Haven, Connecticut   06514
(lat:41.3446 lon:-72.9662) map location

Phone: 860-424-3000
West Rock Ridge rises from 400 feet of elevation at the South Summit in New Haven to 700 feet of elevation at High Rock in Bethany on the Hamden border. The 6-mile long ridge is traversed by the 7-mile long Blue-Blazed Regicides Trail, which connects to the Quinnipiac Trail at High Rock. There are impressive vistas along the ridge, with estimates that a person can see approximately 200 square miles from various locations.

At the South Overlook, views include New Haven and the Harbor, Long Island Sound, East Rock Park, and the Sleeping Giant. Along the Regicides Trail, one can see forested water company lands to the west of the ridge, including Lake Dawson and Lake Watrous. Baldwin Drive, constructed in the 1930s as a Works Progress Administration WPA project, extends 5.6 miles along the ridge, and offers walkers and bicyclists a car-free experience.

The 1.6 mile long Regicide Drive offers seasonal motor vehicle access to the South Overlook and Judges Cave. The Regicides Edward Whalley and William Goffe sought refuge at the cave in 1661 and 1664 from agents of King Charles II of England, who was seeking their capture and execution.
History of the Area
Located in New Haven, Connecticut, the park was established in 1975. It covers over 1,700 acres of land and includes West Rock Ridge. The ridge itself is a traprock mountain with three peaks that offer panoramic views.

The area has historical significance dating back to colonial times when it served as an important landmark for Native Americans and early settlers. During the Revolutionary War period (1777), British General William Tryon used this location to monitor American troop movements.

In later years during World War II, anti-aircraft guns were installed on top of Judges Cave due its strategic vantage point overlooking Long Island Sound.

Today it offers recreational activities such as hiking trails including Regicides Trail named after two judges who hid there from King Charles II's soldiers.

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.
Anglers can enjoy freshwater fishing in the park's Lake Wintergreen. Common catches include largemouth bass, catfish, and sunfish species.

West Rock Ridge State Park offers scenic picnicking spots with tables and grills overlooking Lake Wintergreen and surrounding woodlands.
Seasoned riders often tackle the challenging terrain of Regicides Trail, a rocky path offering technical sections and rewarding vistas. The Baldwin Drive offers a paved route for cyclists seeking smoother rides with steady inclines and scenic overlooks. For mountain bikers, Lake Wintergreen trails present an array of single-track options weaving through dense woodlands around the serene lake setting. Always ensure your bike is in good condition before hitting these paths due to their demanding nature.
- Red Trail: This is the longest trail in West Rock Ridge State Park, spanning approximately 7 miles. It traverses through a variety of terrains including forests and rocky outcrops.

- Blue Trail: A moderate difficulty level trail that stretches for about 5.6 miles along Lake Wintergreen's eastern shore before ascending to South Overlook.

- White Circle Nature Trail: An easy-to-moderate hiking path covering around two-thirds of a mile with interpretive signs explaining local flora and fauna throughout its course.

- Regicides' (Blue)Trail - Named after the judges who sentenced King Charles I to death, this challenging hike spans over seven miles from end-to-end across rugged terrain offering panoramic views at several points.

- Yellow Triangle Connector Trails - These are shorter trails connecting main routes within the park; they vary in length but typically span less than half a mile each.

-Judges Cave Loop via Green/Red/Yellow Trails - Approximately three-mile loop starting near Judges' cave then following green markers until it intersects red/yellow blazes leading back towards start point

-South Overlook via Violet/Pink/Green Routes- Roughly four-mile round trip beginning on violet-marked route transitioning onto pink/green paths up steep inclines reaching scenic overlooks

-Lake Wintergreen Loop-A relatively flat one-and-a-half-mile walk encircling beautiful Lake Wintergreen providing opportunities for bird watching or fishing

-Baldwin Drive Pathway - Paved road stretching nearly five kilometers suitable for walking or biking featuring stunning vistas overlooking New Haven area
Things To Do in the Area
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CT Bike Tours.Com, LLC - GUILFORD, CT
Family Outting
Our Shoreline Bike Boat Tour is a leisurely paced guided ride along the coast on gently rolling hills. We combine it with a narrated 45 minute boat tour of the lovely Thimble Islands. If you have your own bikes and helmets, bring them. Custom guided rides are also available. Minimum age allowed is 16 yrs. old. The bicycle guide, boat tour, bikes, helmets and refreshments are all provided, all you need is your energy
4.3 miles from park*

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Area Campgrounds
Totoket Valley RV Park
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Nearby Hotels

Directions from New Haven, Connecticut:

- Start on Whalley Avenue towards West Rock Ridge State Park.
- Continue onto CT-10 N/Whalley Ave for about 3 miles.
- Turn right onto Mountain Rd.

From Hartford, Connecticut:

- Begin by getting on I84 W from Main St and Asylum Street.
- Follow I91 S to Dixwell Ave in North Haven. Take exit 63 off of the Wilbur Cross Parkway (CT15).
- Drive along Shepard Avenue until you reach Wintergreen Lake where you will turn left into the park entrance.

From Stamford, Connecticut:

- Get started heading northbound via US1 N/S Pacific St toward Henry street
- Merge with Interstate95N using ramp Boston/New haven then continue up to Exit27A Trumbull/Waterbury route
- Proceed straight ahead through Route8N till Derby/Shelton area is reached at Exit17 Ansonia/Derby/Rt243E junction point,
- Go forward following Rt34W direction which leads directly inside state park boundary line after crossing over Naugatuck River bridge structure

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Connecticut State Parks