Barred Owl

Barred Owl
A barred owl rests in a tree along the Red Trail, Sept. 2017.

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Suggested Hikes and Walks


There are many hiking options available at West Rock, with regard to both length and difficulty. An interesting mathematical problem would be determining how many possible hikes could be designed at West Rock. The answer is probably in the dozens, not including the option of doing a particular circuit in reverse.

Create your own loops using the Red, White and Red-White Trails on the east (lower) side of the ridge with the Regicides Trail and the two paved roads on west side (top) of the ridge. Connect the east and west sides of the park with your choice of colorful trails.

These are suggested hikes starting from Lake Wintergreen, Westville, and the Hill Street parking area. These notes focus on which trails to use. Read the trail pages on this website to describe what you can expect to see along these trails.

Some hikers may wish to complete a thru-hike of the Regicides Trail in one day. This requires placing a car at either end of the hike, or hiking back along the trail and/or Baldwin Drive and Regicide Drive. Those hikes are listed in the section at the bottom of this page "Regicides Trail Thru-Hikes: Three Options".

Of course, there is no road at the Regicides Trail junction with the Quinnipiac Trail, but there are parking options nearby, either the Brooks Road, Bethany trailhead of the Sanford Feeder Trail, or parking by the gate on West Shepard Ave., Hamden.

For the southern end of the Regicides Trail, people can park at the South Overlook (Memorial Day weekend to the end of October) or year-round behind the Early Childhood Learning Center, 495 Blake St., New Haven.

For driving directions to these trailheads, see the Driving Directions and Parking page on this website.
As they become available, I will include a link for each hike to a website with a GPX track that you can download, and a related map that you can print of the specific hike.


Two blue blazes mark a left turn on the Regicides Trail.


Easy Beginner Hikes


An easy beginner hike is to follow the Red and White Trails around Lake Wintergreen for a total distance of 1.5 miles. The trail surface is gravel with even footing and is flat to moderately rolling.

Near the spillway, hikers have the option of taking the Red-White Dot Trail, which stays near the lake, and provides a small rock scramble. When conditions are icy, stay on the Red Trail for more secure footing.

To extend this beginner hike, follow the White Trail north to the Purple Trail and returning on the Red Trail. The section variation of this hike involves staying the White Trail to the end and returning along the Red Trail, which is totally flat.



Red Trail and White Circuit

(around Lake Wintergreen, then north to the Purple Trail)


Mileage
Direction
Trail Name
0.00
Left
Red-Trail South from the
Lake Wintergreen parking lot
0.35
Straight
Red-White Trail at trail split:
Red Trail goes left
(In icy conditions, stay on Red Trail)
0.75
Right
White Trail at south end of Lake Wintergreen
1.50
Straight
White Trail: Gold Trail on left ***
2.10
Right
Purple Trail
2.35
Right
Red Trail (after crossing
Wintergreen Brook on culvert)
2.95
Left
Red Trail by Lake Wintergreen
3.00
End
Lake Wintergreen parking lot



*** For a shorter loop, simply turn right and return to the parking lot.





Red Trail and White Circuit (around Lake Wintergreen, then north to the end of the White Trail)


Mileage
Direction
Trail Name
0.00
Left
Red-Trail South from the
Lake Wintergreen parking lot
0.35
Straight
Red-White Trail at trail split:
Red Trail goes left
(In icy conditions, stay on Red Trail)
0.75
Right
White Trail
at south end of Lake Wintergreen
1.50
Straight
White Trail: Gold Trail on left
2.10
Left/Right
White Trail
as it briefly overlaps the Purple Trail
3.05
Right
Red Trail at end of the White Trail
4.35
Left
Red Trail by Lake Wintergreen
4.40
Left
Lake Wintergreen parking lot



This view south from the overlook of Lake Dawson on the Regicides Trail reveals a sea of trees on Woodbridge open space and Regional Water Authority watershed property.

Moderate Hikes


Lake Wintergreen to the Konolds Pond Overlook:

Gold Trail return

This is an easy walk along Lake Wintergreen, followed by a moderate climb up the ridge on the Orange Trail, rewarding you with a scenic overlook at Konolds Pond. Follow the Regicides Trail along the ridge and descend to Lake Wintergreen along the Gold Trail. For a longer version, stay on the Regicides Trail to the Purple Trail.

Mileage
Direction
Trail Name
0.00
Straight
Descend the Red Trail from the
Lake Wintergreen parking lot
0.05
Left
White Trail on far side of Lake Wintergreen:
Gold Trail is straight ahead
0.75
Right
Orange Trail
near south end of Lake Wintergreen
1.00
Straight
Orange Trail and Regicides Trail (Blue) at Baldwin Drive (paved)
1.05
Right
Regicides Trail at the end of the Orange Trail
near overlook of Konolds Pond
(Follow unmarked trail for 100 feet to enjoy the view, being mindful of the cliff, before returning to the trail and continuing north.)
1.75
Right
Gold Trail
1.80
Straight
Gold Trail (at Baldwin Drive)
1.95
Right
Gold Trail (at the water tank):
Gold Trail becomes a wide, woods road
2.35
End
Lake Wintergreen parking lot

Lake Wintergreen froze solid in Feb. 2015, allowing people to walk and ski across it.

Lake Wintergreen to the Konolds Pond Overlook:
Purple Trail return
This is an easy walk along Lake Wintergreen, followed by a moderate climb up the ridge on the Orange Trail, rewarding you with a scenic overlook at Konolds Pond. Follow the Regicides Trail along the ridge and descend the ridge on the Purple Trail, returning to the start along the White Trail.

Mileage
Direction
Trail Name
0.00
Straight
Descend the Red Trail from the
Lake Wintergreen parking lot
0.05
Left
White Trail on the far side of Lake Wintergreen:
Gold Trail is straight ahead
0.75
Right
Orange Trail
near south end of Lake Wintergreen
1.00
Straight
Orange Trail and Regicides Trail (Blue) at Baldwin Drive (paved)
1.05
Right
Regicides Trail at the end of the Orange Trail
near overlook of Konolds Pond
(Follow unmarked trail for 100 feet to enjoy the view, being mindful of the cliff, before returning to the trail and continuing north.)
2.50
Right
Purple Trail
2.55
Right
Baldwin Drive (paved):
Purple Trail follows road for 100 yards
2.60
Left
Purple Trail off Baldwin Drive (begin descent)
2.70
Left

Unmarked trail leading to a scenic overlook in about 100 yards. After visiting the viewpoint, return to the Purple Trail and continue the descent.
2.72
U-Turn
Unmarked trail at scenic overlook
2.75
Left
Purple Trail
2.95
Left
Purple Trail at Purple-White Trail
3.05
Right
White Trail
3.65
Left
Gravel road by Gold Trail
3.75
End
Lake Wintergreen parking lot

Red and Green to Judges Cave;
Return on the Regicides, Orange and White Trails
This offers the most direct connection from Lake Wintergreen to Judges Cave, and gives view from both sides of the lake, plus the overlook of Konolds Pond. The walk is moderate on the Red and White Trails. There is a steady climb on the Green Trail to Judges Cave. There is a steep climb on the Regicides Trail over the West Rock Tunnel.

Mileage
Direction
Trail Name
0.00
Left
Red Trail south from the Lake Wintergreen parking lot
0.75
Straight
Red-White Trail at trail split:
Red Trail goes left
(In icy conditions, stay on Red Trail)
0.90
Straight
Red Trail at south end of Lake Wintergreen
1.10
Straight
Red Trail as it follows Baldwin Drive (paved): take the lower fork of the curve as it descends
1.15
Left
Red Trail at main entrance road (paved)
1.25
Right
Red Trail to re-enter woods
1.35
Right
Green Trail and cross Regicide Drive (paved road)
1.55
Bear left
Green Trail at Blue Trail Junction over tunnel
2.00
Left
Paved road (Regicide Drive)
at Judges Cave to visit cave
2.05
U-Turn
Paved road at Judges Cave
2.10
Right
Regicides Trail (Blue)
from Judges Cave
2.15
Left
Regicides Trail (Blue) beyond cave:
Green Trail bears right
2.55
Straight
Regicides Trail (Blue) over tunnel and climb steps: Green Trail bears right
3.70
Right
Orange Trail near overlook of Konolds Pond
(Follow unmarked trail for 100 feet to enjoy the view, being mindful of the cliff, before returning to the trail and continuing north.)
3.75
Straight
Orange Trail at Baldwin Drive (paved)
4.00
Left
White Trail by Lake Wintergreen
4.70
Right
Gravel road at north end of Lake Wintergreen
4.75
End
Lake Wintergreen parking lot

A toad hops along the Regicides Trail in June 2014. Toads are commonly seen in the woods at West Rock and seem relatively unafraid of hikers.


Longer Hikes

Red Trail to the South Overlook;
Return via the Regicides Trail to Judges Cave
Hike to the South Overlook on the Red Trail and return on the Regicides Trail (Blue), hiking past Judges Cave. This loop provides a walk along both sides of Lake Wintergreen. The terrain is mostly moderate, except the steep climb to the South Overlook on the Red Trail and the steep descent and climb over the West Rock Tunnel on the Regicides Trail.

Mileage
Direction
Trail Name
0.00
Left
Red Trail South from the Lake Wintergreen parking lot
0.75
Straight
Red-White Trail at trail split:
Red Trail goes left
(In icy conditions, stay on Red Trail)
0.90
Straight
Red Trail at south end of Lake Wintergreen
1.10
Straight
Red Trail as it follows Baldwin Drive (paved): take the lower fork of the curve as it descends
1.15
Left
Red Trail at main entrance road (paved)
1.25
Right
Red Trail to re-enter woods
2.55
Right
Red Trail for steep climb to South Overlook
2.60
Straight
Parking lot at the South Overlook
2.65
Left
Regicides Trail (Blue) at the opening of the stone wall by the pavilion
4.45
Right
Orange Trail
(First, follow the unmarked trail for 100 feet to enjoy the view, being mindful of the cliff, before returning to the trail.)
4.50
Straight
Orange Trail, crossing Baldwin Drive (paved)
4.80
Left
White Trail
Near south end of Lake Wintergreen
5.50
Right
Gravel road to return to the parking lot
5.80
End
Lake Wintergreen parking lot

Purple Trail to the Regicides Trail;
Return on the Red, Red-White and Red Trails
This hikes provides an extended walk along the Regicides Trail in the park’s quiet middle and northern sections with excellent views to the west of Lake Watrous and water company property in Woodbridge, and Farm Brook Reservoir and Laurel View Country Club in Hamden to the east. The climb up the ridge on the Purple Trail is moderate. The Regicides Trail has moderate climbs and descents. The Red and White Trails offer a flat, easy return south of Mountain Road.

Mileage
Direction
Trail Name
0.00
Straight
Descend the Red Trail from the
Lake Wintergreen parking lot
0.05
Straight
Gravel road where the Red Trail turns right
0.10
Right
White Trail on the far side of Lake Wintergreen:
Gold Trail is straight ahead
0.50
Left
Purple-White Trail
0.65
Straight
Purple Trail (as it continues up the ridge)
0.85
Right
Just beyond the switchback, there is an unmarked trail off the Purple Trail leading to a scenic overlook in about 100 yards. After visiting the viewpoint, return to the Purple Trail and continue the climb.
1.00
Right
Purple Trail as it follows Baldwin Drive
1.05
Left
Purple Trail as it leaves Baldwin Drive
1.10
Right
Regicides Trail
3.85
Right
Red Trail (and soon come to overlook of Farm Brook Reservoir)
4.10
Right
Red-White Trail before the open field
4.45
Right
Red Trail (gravel road portion)
4.85
Right
Red Trail follows Mountain Road (paved)
4.88
Left
Red Trail (narrow section) off Mountain Road
6.00
Straight
Red Trail (wide, straight section):
Cross Mountain Road
6.20
Right
White Trail
(shortly after second Mountain Road crossing)
7.15
Left/Right
White Trail at overlap with Purple Trail
7.65
Left
Gravel road to return to the parking lot
7.70
End
Lake Wintergreen parking lot

The open field and Farm Brook Reservoir provide a pastoral view from the Red Trail overlook at the north end of West Rock.

Hikes from Hill Street 
Hill Street to Regicides Trail via Red-White, Red, and Regicides Trails; return via Yellow Trail, Red, and Red-White
This hike offers a tour of the park’s most northern section. There are excellent views from the ridge on the Red Trail toward Laurel View Country Club, and toward the east from the Regicides Trail of Lake Watrous and water company property. Other than this climb, the hike is flat to rolling with an easy return via the Red and Red-White Trails.

Mileage
Direction
Trail Name
0.00
Straight
Red-White Trail by Hill St. parking lot
0.15
Straight
Red-White Trail across open field
0.30
Right
Red Trail and ascend ridge
0.55
Left
Regicides Trail (Blue)
1.80
Left
Yellow Trail ***
2.20
Left
Mountain Road (paved) with Yellow blazes
Walk along left shoulder facing traffic.
2.55
Left
Red Trail (gravel road) by green gate
2.95
Left
Red-White Trail
3.25
Straight
Red-White Trail at Red Trail crossing
3.35
Straight
Red-White Trail at open field
3.50
End
Parking area by 610 Hill St.

*** To make this hike 6.5 miles, stay on the Regicides (Blue) at the Yellow Trail and continue to the Purple Trail.
Turn left on the Purple (mile 3.30), then left on the Red Trail (mile 4.00) and follow the Red Trail to Mountain Road, picking up the above cues on the Red Trail at the Green Gate (mile 6.00).

Winter brings dramatic ice flows to the rock formations
on the Red Trail above Farm Brook Reservoir.

Hill Street to York Mountain via Red-White, Red, and Regicides Trails;
return via Quinnipiac Trail, Brooks Road, Sanford Feeder, West Shepard Ave. and Hill St.
This hike offers a tour of the park’s most northern section and beyond. There are excellent views from the ridge on the Red Trail toward Laurel View Country Club, and toward the south from the Quinnipiac Trail. The climb on the Red Trail to the Regicides Trail is steady, but manageable. The on the Regicides Trail to the Quinnipiac Trail is steep and rocky and is not recommended in icy conditions. The Sanford Feeder Trail is a steady climb from Brooks Road up to West Shepard Ave.

Mileage
Direction
Trail Name
0.00
Straight
Red-White Trail by Hill St. parking lot
0.15
Straight
Red-White Trail across open field
0.30
Right
Red Trail and ascend ridge
0.55
Right
Regicides Trail (Blue)
1.10
Straight
Regicides Trail at Sanford Feeder Trail (Blue-Red)
1.35
Left
Quinnipiac Trail (Blue) at Regicides Trail end
near York Mountain (High Rock)
2.45
Left
Brooks Road (paved):
Walk along left shoulder facing traffic.
3.15
Left
Sanford Feeder Trail (Blue-Red)
3.70
Straight
Sanford Road (gravel) where Sanford Feeder Trail ends at Regicides Trail junction
3.75
Straight
West Shepard Ave. (paved):
Baldwin Drive northern entrance at right
3.95
Straight
West Shepard Ave. (paved) at gate
4.15
Right
Hill Street (paved):
Walk along left shoulder facing traffic.
4.30
Right
Parking area by 610 Hill St.

West Rock  Ridge and Lake Watrous are visible from this overlook on the Quinnipiac Trail, west of its junction with the Regicides Trail.


Hikes from Westville
These hikes from Westville feature two different destinations: the South Overlook or Judges Cave.
To reach both destinations, you have to walk the Regicides Trail in both directions between Judges Cave and the South Overlook, or walk on the paved road in one direction.

Westville to South Overlook:
Westville Feeder, Regicides, Red, Teal, Teal-White

Mileage
Direction
Trail Name
0.00
Straight
Cross West River on footbridge
0.02
Left
Westville-Feeder Trail (Blue-Yellow)
0.65
Right
Regicides Trail (Blue) at end of Westville Feeder
1.10
Straight
Red Trail behind stone wall at South Overlook
1.40
Straight
Unmarked connector trail at base of steep climb; Red Trail goes left
1.42
Right
Teal Trail
1.60
Left
Teal-White Trail and descend into ballfield
1.80
Left
Cross West River on footbridge
1.82
End
Parking lot behind
the Early Childhood Learning Center

Judges Cave is a popular destination at West Rock.
Westville to Judges Cave:
Westville Feeder, Regicides, Green, Red, Teal, and Teal-White

Mileage
Direction
Trail Name
0.00
Straight
Cross West River on footbridge
0.02
Left
Westville-Feeder Trail (Blue-Yellow)
0.65
Straight
Regicides Trail (Blue) at end of Westville Feeder
0.80
Straight
Regicides Trail (Blue) onto road by Judges Cave
0.90
Straight
Green Trail by Judges Cave
0.95
Straight
Green Trail behind Judges Cave:
Regicides Trail (Blue) goes left here
1.45
Right
Green Trail over West Rock Tunnel:
Regicides Trail (Blue) goes straight here
1.80
Right
Red Trail at end of Green Trail
2.20
Left
Teal Trail / Red Diamond-White Trail
3.00
Left
Teal-White Trail and descend into ballfield:
Teal Trail continues straight here
3.20
Left
Cross West River on footbridge
3.22
End
Parking lot behind
the Early Childhood Learning Center

The plaque at Judges Cave provides a bit of history.

Regicides Trail Thru-Hikes: Three Options

Thru-Hiking the Regicides Trail (South Overlook option)
This hike is almost entirely on the Regicides Trail, plus a brief road walk within the park to reach your car on West Shepard Ave.
Park one car at the South Overlook and the other car by the gate on West Shepard Ave., Hamden As you hike the Blue-Blazed Regicides Trail, you will cross numerous other trails at West Rock, plus cross Baldwin Drive six times. Most of those crossings are not indicated here, but two are noted to provide some mileage checks along the way. The Regicides Trail has moderate climbs and descents. There are two steep sections: crossing the West Rock Tunnel and the final ascent to the Quinnipiac Trail near York Mountain. This climb is not recommended in icy conditions due to the steep terrain.

Mileage
Direction
Trail Name
0.00
Straight
Regicides Trail (Blue)
by the stone wall near the pavilion
1.80
Right
Regicides Trail at end of Orange Trail
4.75
Straight
Regicides Trail at Yellow Trail
6.55
Straight
Regicides Trail at the Sanford Feeder Trail
6.80
U-Turn
Regicides Trail at the Quinnipiac Trail (Blue)
7.05
Left
Sanford Road (gravel):
Sanford Feeder Trail (Blue-Red) on right
7.10
Straight
West Shepard Ave. (paved):
Baldwin Drive on right
7.30
End
Gate by West Shepard Ave.

Stone steps installed by the West Rock volunteer trails crew provides secure footing when climbing a steep section of the Regicides Trail over the West Rock Tunnel.

Thru-Hiking the Regicides Trail (Westville option)
This option allows you to hike all three Blue-Blazed Trails at West Rock in one day.
Park one car behind the Early Childhood Learning Center, 495 Blake St., New Haven, and the other at the trailhead for the Sanford Feeder, 176 Brooks Road, Bethany. As you hike the Regicides Trail, you will cross numerous other trails at West Rock, plus cross Baldwin Drive six times. Most of those crossings are not indicated here, but two are noted to provide some mileage checks along the way There are two steep sections: crossing the West Rock Tunnel and the final ascent to the Quinnipiac Trail near York Mountain. This climb is not recommended in icy conditions due to the steep terrain.

Mileage
Direction
Trail Name
0.00
Straight
Cross the footbridge over the West River
0.02
Left
Westville Feeder Trail (Blue-Yellow)
0.65
Right
Regicides Trail (Blue)
at the end of Westville Feeder Trail
1.10
U-Turn
Regicides Trail (Blue)
at the stone wall near the pavilion
2.90
Right
Regicides Trail at end of Orange Trail
5.85
Straight
Regicides Trail at Yellow Trail
7.90
U-Turn
Regicides Trail at the Quinnipiac Trail (Blue)
8.15
Right
Sanford Feeder Trail (Blue-Red)
8.75
End
Brooks Road Trailhead,
Sanford Feeder Trail



The view from the South Overlook is truly spectacular and well worth the effort. This shows only a small portion of what you can see, with Sleeping Giant to the east (not pictured) and the full view of New Haven Harbor to the south (also not pictured).

Regicides Trail-Red Trail Circuit (from Lake Wintergreen)
This option allows you to hike the entire Blue-Blazed Regicides Trail while leaving your car at Lake Wintergreen. Use the Red Trail and the Red-White Trail to complete the circuit. There are two steep sections: crossing the West Rock Tunnel and the final ascent to the Quinnipiac Trail near York Mountain. This climb is not recommended in icy conditions due to the steep terrain. The return along the Red Trail is flat and easy.

Mileage
Direction
Trail Name
0.00
Left
Red Trail South
from the Lake Wintergreen parking lot
0.75
Left
Red Trail at south end of Lake Wintergreen
0.90
Straight
Red Trail as it follows Baldwin Drive (paved): take the lower fork of the curve as it descends
1.10
Left
Red Trail at main entrance road (paved)
1.15
Right
Red Trail to re-enter woods
2.25
Right
Red Trail for steep climb to South Overlook
2.55
Straight
Parking lot at the South Overlook
2.60
Left
Regicides Trail (Blue)
at the opening of the stone wall by the pavilion
9.40
U-Turn
Regicides Trail at the Quinnipiac Trail (Blue)
10.20
Left
Red Trail (and soon come to overlook
of Farm Brook Reservoir)
10.45
Left
Red Trail above open field (just past Red-White)
10.80
Straight
Red Trail (gravel road portion)
11.20
Right
Red Trail follows Mountain Road (paved)
11.23
Left
Red Trail (narrow section) off Mountain Road
12.25
Straight
Red Trail (wide, straight section):
Cross Mountain Road (paved)
13.80
Left
Red Trail by Lake Wintergreen
13.85
End
Lake Wintergreen parking lot
Orange fungus provides a colorful contrast to a brown and grey log.

1 comment:

  1. That's some beautiful chicken of the woods in that last shot... tasty stuff!

    ReplyDelete