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East Rock

Contact Information Park Rangers
East Rock Ranger Station
Trowbridge Environmental Center
Cold Spring and Orange Streets
New Haven, Connecticut
(203) 946-6086
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General Information

Transportation
Park can be reached by taking, any bus that travels on State Street, Orange Street or Whitney Avenue.

Location 
The 425-acre park is located on the New Haven / Hamden border. The park is roughly bounded by Livingston Street, Davis Street, State Street and the Mill River. It is administered by the New Haven Department of Parks, Recreation and Trees.

Directions to Summit
Entering East Rock Park from Davis Street, take the first left turn onto the Summit Drive. From the end of Orange Street, turn left onto Farnham Drive. Follow to first right. This is Summit Drive.

Handicapped Parking
A limited number of stalls are provided at all parking areas. Vehicles MUST display a parking permit.

Park Hours and Traffic
The Park is closed sunset to sunrise. The lower drives are open all year.

Emergency or Violation Reports
In case of fire, police, or medical emergency call 911 (free) from pay phones at the corner of Cold Spring and Orange Streets, or at Blake Field (intersection of Mitchell Drive and Willow Street). To report Park violations the Ranger Station at 203-946-6086. City police regularly patrol the Park for your safety.

Restrooms
Porta-jons are located seasonally at College Woods, the Summit and Rice Field. Restrooms at the Ranger Station at College Woods are available for permitted events.

Drinking Water
At College Woods Ranger Station, Wilbur Cross Sports Complex, and Blake Field from April 15 to October 30.

Urban Park Rangers
A Division of the New Haven Department of Parks, Recreation and Trees. The Ranger Station Trowbridge Environmental Center is located in the College Woods area of the Park at the corner of Cold Spring and Orange streets across from Wilbur Cross High School. Reservations for Ranger programs and park tours can be made by schools, groups and organizations. For up-to-date program information call 203-946-6086 or visit the program calendar.

Lost and Found
Contact Park Security or Ranger Station. If no answer, call the Parks Department Main office at 203-946-8020


Park Regulations

  1. Park in designated lots only.
  2. Parking for College Woods is available on Orange, Cold Spring and Livingston Streets.
  3. Motor vehicles are not allowed in College Woods.
  4. Trails are for pedestrian use only. No Mountain Bikes or Motorcycles are permitted.
  5. Dogs must be on leash at all times. Owners are responsible for removal of their animal's solid waste.
  6. Speed limit is 25 mph unless posted at a lesser speed.
  7. Ground fires are prohibited throughout the park.
  8. Charcoal fires are permitted in designated areas only.
  9. Swimming in Mill River is prohibited.
  10. Rock Climbing is prohibited.
  11. Do not harm or collect plants or animals.
  12. All weapons are prohibited.
  13. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
  14. Park is closed sunset to sunrise unless posted otherwise.
  15. Please help keep our park clean. Put all trash in the provided barrels.

Geology of East Rock Park

East Rock was formed about 200 million years ago as the continents were in the process of moving away from each other. Molten rock from deep in the earth surged through stress cracks formed in the sandstone bedrock of the New Haven area. The molten rock cooled to form dolerite, also know as basalt or traprock. Dolerite is much more resistant to erosion than the surrounding sandstone. As glacial action and the forces of weathering eroded away the softer sandstone, East Rock (and other traprock ridges such as West Rock) became more prominent. The summit of East Rock Park now rises more than 350 feet above the floor of the Mill River valley at its base.


Recreation

Ball Fields: Rice and Blake fields. Permit required for use; call 203-946-8022 or 203-946-6559.

Basketball Courts: One court in College Woods and two at Wi!bur Cross High School, and a half court across from Rice Field.

Bicycles: Bicycles are allowed on all paved roads. Trowbridge and English drives are closed to traffic and offer a scenic and peaceful way to the summit. Mountain bikes are prohibited on trails.

Boating: Canoes and rowboats are permitted on the Mill River, but there are limited launching facilities. The best access to the river is at the Orange Street Canoe Launch located on the southwest side of the Orange Street Bridge. Life jackets are required for your safety. CAUTION! Stay clear of the tidal gate downstream of the canoe launch site. A printed guide to the Mill River is available at the East Rock Ranger Station/Trowbridge Environmental Center.
Fishing and Crabbing: Fishing is permitted all year. Please observe all State Regulations as to limits and size of catches. A fishing license is required for all individuals 16 years of age and older when fishing north of State Street. Crabbing is best during July, August and September. All crabs must be 5 inches from shell point to shell point. Please carry out all trash and monofilament line.

Football and Soccer: Rice and Wilbur Cross High School fields.

Ice Skating: Ralph Walker is at 1080 State Street. Open November through March. Call 203-946-8029 for rental and schedule information. For additional information call 203-946-8007.

Joggers/Walkers/Hikers/Cross-Country Skiers: There are over 10 miles of trails for your enjoyment. Special maps are available at the Ranger Station. In addition there is a 1/4-mile athletic track at Wilbur Cross High School.

Kite Flying: Good sites for this activity are at College Woods, North Meadow, Rice Field and at the Summit.

Picnicking: There are two picnic pavilions at East Rock Park; one at the summit (English Shelter), and one in College Woods next to the Trowbridge Environmental Center (Picnic Pavilion). These facilities may be reserved by calling 203-946-8020 for a permit. Picnic tables and charcoal grills are located through College Woods and atop the summit of East Rock. These can be reserved as well. If not reserved, these are available on a first come/first served basis. Please dispose of all trash properly.

Playgrounds: Fenced-in playgrounds for small children are located in College Woods and near the Cedar neighborhood at the south end of Rice Field. Cedar playground features a spray pool.
Self-Guided Nature Trail: A self-guided nature trail (800 feet long) starts at the northwest end of the Orange Street Bridge. Constructed and maintained with the help of Wilbur Cross High School students, this trail offers an opportunity to explore the natural history of the Mill River floodplain. Trail-guide pamphlets are available at the Ranger Station.

Sledding: A favorite spot to sled is North Meadow located off of Davis Street at the northern end of the Park. Nearby Edgerton Park features an excellent sledding hill for young children.

Swimming: Wilbur Cross High School pool is free and open to the public during the summer months. For information on times of operation call 203-946-8020. Swimming is NOT ALLOWED in the Mill River.

Tennis: Eight hard-surface courts are at Wilbur Cross High School Sports Complex. These courts are free and open to the public. Courts are illuminated at night during the summer.
Special Events In The Park: East Rock Park hosts special events for the public. For details contact the Ranger Station or the Recreation Department at 203-946-8020.

ATTENTION ALL VENDORS, PARTIES INVOLVED IN FUND RAISING, OR OUTSIDE GROUPS CHARGING FEES for services rendered within the Park property: you are required to contact the New Haven Park's Director at 203-946-8027 for written permission to conduct such activities.

Opportunities: The New Haven Parks Department encourages people to volunteer in all our parks. To find out what you can do to make our parks a better place for all, contact the staff of the Trowbridge Environmental Center located in East Rock Park.


Special Attractions within the Park

The Summit of East Rock is accessible by foot, bicycle or car and affords visitors a spectacular view of downtown New Haven, New Haven Harbor, Long Island Sound, and surrounding communities. It is a favorite tourist stop in New Haven.

The Trowbridge Environmental Center, located in the College Woods section of East Rock Park, is dedicated to promoting environmental awareness. The center features displays and information about the flora and fauna of East Rock Park and offers programs to the general public, school groups and organizations. See the program calendar for a current list of programs.

Pardee Rose Garden and Greenhouse (203-946-8142) is located at the intersection of Park Drive and Farm Road. The Rose Garden, containing an array of flowers from early spring until mid fall, features one of Connecticut's finest display of roses. Also found in the garden is a raised, tiered structure that resembles the top of a wedding cake. Traditionally, many brides and grooms come here for wedding pictures. *Please call 203-946-8020 for a park permit if you are considering a photo shoot or wedding at this site.

Soldiers & Sailors Monument near the summit honors New Haven men who gave their lives in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Civil War. Erected in 1887, this 112-foot-high tower can be seen from almost anywhere in the City. Further information on the Park's history is at the Ranger Station.

Giant Steps Trail provides a spectacular 285-foot climb to the Summit. It starts at the English Drive gate along the north side of Rice Field. The Giant Steps Trail is designated with red triangle trail markers.


Nearby Attractions

Edgerton Gardens is at the corner of Cliff Street Whitney Avenue. This 27-acre park offers the beauty of an old English estate. Flower gardens, magnificent trees, a fountain, greenhouses, and a Tropical Rainforest Conservatory can be found here. Hours for the Conservatory are weekdays year around, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

A Horticultural Library and Book Collection can be seen in the Carriage House open Sundays, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Eli Whitney Museum is at 915 Whitney Avenue next to the Whitney Lake Dam. For information on hours and current exhibits call 203-777-1833.

Peabody Museum of Natural History is at 170 Whitney Avenue. For information call 203-432-5050.

 

Park Advocacy - F.E.R.P

The Friends of East Rock Park is a support organization founded in 1982 to enhance public use and awareness of the Park by sponsoring ranger programs and fostering community involvement. F.E.R.P. raised the money for the equipment in the College Woods playground and helps the staff of the Trowbridge Environmental Center directly in such activities as trail clearing and park clean-ups.

Friends of East Rock Park is a community and environmental advocacy group. We encourage neighbors to meet each other, celebrate the environment and become stewards of the park. We build connections by hosting social events and work days, and supporting other neighborhood efforts. All of our events are free and open to everyone.

To join: Friends of East Rock Park - www.friendsofeastrockpark.org.

For more information contact
David Shimchick - (203) 997-3430
Betty Thompson - (203) 785-9331

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