Hiking East Rock Park




View of East Rock, New Haven CT
View of East Rock, New Haven CT
East Rock Park is a one of two high rocky ridges that flank New Haven. The hiking is superb, views are worthwhile, and the trails seem endless for a city park with no entrance fee. Here is another example of the Great Recession hitting hard on the wealthiest state in The Union. The access roads to the ranger station and summit were closed on a summer weekend - telling the tale that New Haven has abandoned this tourist treasure. Nonetheless, if you are willing to climb, and don't need restrooms or water - the trails at East Rock will still welcome your feet.





The Giant Steps Trail at East Rock Park
The Giant Steps Trail at East Rock Park
I drove through the tunnel under West Rock on The Merrit and approached East Rock from Hamden. The park reaches out beneath the rock like a plantation - with a long shaded drive that acts as a promenade. This is the field where Eli Whitney set up his arms and ammo mill and conceived the industrial revolution with his interchangeable parts and machines that ran from the mills he erected in the aptly named Mill River.

I turned off Whitney Avenue and onto East Rock road and crossed the Mill River, then took a right on Farnam Drive and parked near the Giant Steps trail head North of Rice Field.

I am getting pretty good at navigating poorly marked trails as I explore Connecticut. Connecticuters don't believe in road signs, so there is no reason to start believing in marked trails.  The East Rock website claims that the Giant Steps trail is marked with red paint splotches. Do not be fooled. Take the white and yellow marked trail part ways up the hill. cross the windy road twice and then the little trail that isn't marked but has big steps and a handrail - the would be the Big Steps trail. And that is the trail to the summit and Soldiers & Sailors monument. You can also take the windy road if you are not athletic enough for the Giant Steps.

New Haven Harbor from East Rock summi
New Haven Harbor from East Rock summit
The Giant Steps was a wonderful full body work out. Be careful on the rocks - they are quite slippery, and can easily come loose as well.

Reaching the overlook takes about 15 to 20 minutes - So, it is not that rigorous of a trail, and the hand rail helps immensely.

There are superb views of Long Island Sound and of New Haven which looks small and quaint below.

History holding a book, Soldiers and Sailors
History holding a book, Soldiers and Sailors
At the summit is The Soldiers and Sailors monument which is proud and a testament not only to the warriors it memorializes, but the grandness and detailed artistry that our nation was once capable of producing.

On the four corners of the monuments are figures in full relief. History holds a book, Patriotism holds a sword. Above them all is The Angel of Peace holding out an olive branch to would-be attackers. Should ever this peaceful industrial port of entry be taken by adversaries they will come to this monument and find an offering of peace. What a grand and thoughtful gesture. Above all, there resides eternal values in Connecticut. It is for all to see, even if very few come to see.

It is easy to look down and believe yourself to be high and kingly above the crowds that fight, and work, and study below. Yet, to look upward is to realize that there are still heights unattainable by man.

Metaphors are easy to find in East Rock Park. I recommend that you spend some time here.

DIRECTIONS


Address for your GPS: 885 Orange Street New Haven CT 06511
| Coordinates: N41.324815,W072.90216 |
From Bridgeport40 Minutes
From New Haven-
From Hartford45 Minutes
From New London1 hour
From Providence2 Hours
From New York2 Hours


MAP


LINKS

http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/parks/parksinformation/eastrockpark.asp

Eli Whitney

Soldiers & Sailors Monument 
 

PHOTOS

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGES
Along The Giant Steps Trail, New Haven
Along The Giant Steps Trail, New Haven

East Rock Summit, New Haven CT
East Rock Summit, New Haven CT

Trail passing under a masonic tunnel, East Rock Park
Trail passing under a masonic tunnel, East Rock Park

Along The Giant Steps Trail, New Haven
Along The Giant Steps Trail, New Haven



Mountain Biking Trails, East Rock Park, New Haven
Mountain Biking Trails, East Rock Park, New Haven



Patriotism, Soldiers & Sailors Monument, New Haven
Patriotism, Soldiers & Sailors Monument, New Haven