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

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Regicides Trail


Regicides Trail Mileage

Mileage
Trail Junction
0.00
Stone wall and pavilion at South Overlook
0.45
Westville Feeder Trail
0.60
Judges Cave
0.65
Green Trail junction behind Judges Cave
1.15
Green Trail junction over West Rock Tunnel
1.35
Gravel road crossing by airplane beacon
1.55
Baldwin Drive third switchback
1.70
Gravel road crossing by large antenna
1.80
Orange Trail at Baldwin Drive
2.35
Yellow Trail into Woodbridge
2.50
Gold Trail
3.25
Purple-Orange Trail
3.55
North Summit Trail (Blue-Yellow), Purple Trail, paved overlook
4.25
Stone shack on Baldwin Drive
4.75
Yellow Trail
5.00
Baldwin Drive crossing, west to east
5.40
Baldwin Drive crossing, east to west
5.50
Lake Watrous overlook
5.75
Baldwin Drive crossing, west to east
6.00
Red Trail junction near Red Trail’s Farm Brook Reservoir overlook
6.40
Baldwin Drive crossing, east to west
6.55
Sanford Feeder Trail
6.80
Quinnipiac Trail
This is the start of the Regicides Trail at the South Overlook. Bikes are not permitted on most Blue-Blazed Trails managed by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, which includes the Regicides Trail. This tree has been removed since the picture was taken.
The Connecticut Forest and Park Association (CFPA) maintains about 825 miles of trails that are blazed with its signature light blue paint that is visible even at dusk.
There are three Blue-Blazed Trails at West Rock: the Regicides Trail and its connecting trails, the Westville Feeder and the Sanford Feeder. The Regicides Trail is blazed solid Blue. The Westville Feeder is blazed Blue-Yellow, while the Sanford Feeder is blazed Blue-Red.
The Westville Feeder Trail connects the Westville section of New Haven to the Regicides Trail, between the South Overlook and Judges Cave.
The Sanford Feeder connects Brooks Road in Bethany to Regicides Trail just past the northern end of the Baldwin Drive, and a quarter mile south of the Quinnipiac Trail, also a CFPA Blue Trail.

The Regicides, Westville and Sanford Feeders, and Quinnipiac Trails are among the trails featured in the Connecticut Walk Book, which is published by the CFPA.
The Quinnipiac Trail connects West Rock to the Naugatuck State Forest, Mount Sanford Block on the north and Sleeping Giant State Park on the east.The page on this website for the Westville and Sanford Feeder Trails is here: http://westrocktrails.blogspot.com/p/westville-feeder-and-sanford-feeder.html.
There are two through hiking options for the Regicides Trail, one of which involves using the Westville and Sanford Feeder Trail. A third option for completing the Regicides Trail in one day requires using the Red Trail to complete the loop. These descriptions are available at the bottom of the page on this website entitled "Suggested Hikes and Walks."

Regicides Trail
The Blue-Blazed Regicides Trail extends 6.8 miles northerly from the South Overlook of West Rock to its terminus at the Quinnipiac Trail on the west slope of York Mountain. Along the way, the Regicides Trail intersects with a series of different colored trails that climb the ridge. With these numerous trail options, hikers can easily customize the length of their hike. The Regicides Trail also crosses Baldwin Drive six times. This page provides trail details section by section.
The Regicides Trail generally consists of a series of moderate climbs and descents. The steepest climbs occur when the trail crosses the West Rock Tunnel, and approaching the junction with the Quinnipiac Trail.
The Regicides Trail
as highlighted from the state map.
The trail starts at the South Overlook by the stone wall near the pavilion. Parking is available at the overlook when the main gate is open on weekends, from Memorial Day weekend to the last weekend in October.
From the Westville section of New Haven, the Regicides Trail may be accessed via the 0.6 mile long Westville Feeder.
From Brooks Road in Bethany, the Regicides Trail may be accessed by the 0.6 mile long Sanford Feeder.
The most direct connection at the northern end of West Rock is to park on West Shepard Ave. near Rayzoe Terrace, and then walk up the hill on West Shepard Avenue, past the metal gate and continue onto Sanford Road, a gravel woods road that is closed to traffic. Within a distance of 100 yards, Sanford Road crosses the Regicides Trail. From this location, turning right the trail heads north and soon intersects the Quinnipiac Trail.


The Regicides Trail starts at the stone wall near this pavilion at the South Overlook.
The tree unfortunately has been removed since the picture was taken.

South Overlook to Judges Cave

The Regicides Trail starts at the opening of the stone wall by the pavilion. Across the parking lot, the Red Trail descends from the South Overlook and then heads north along the east side of the ridge, intersecting the Regicides Trail again near the overlook of Farm Brook Reservoir. The view from the wall by the Red Trail is impressive, with a panoramic sweep of south central Connecticut, including Sleeping Giant State Park, East Rock Park, New Haven and the harbor, Long Island Sound, Yale Bowl, and extending over to West Haven. 
Sleeping Giant State Park as seen from the South Overlook.

The beginning section of the Regicides Trail is flat and easy, along a level path with a fence on the west side protecting hikers from the sharp drop-off along the ridge. In one spot, there is an opening in the fence where hikers can briefly leave the trail for an overlook toward the west of New Haven and points beyond. On the right side, there is a stone wall for Regicide Drive, the paved road that connects the main entrance to the South Overlook and Judges Cave.
The Regicides Trail descends as it approaches the Blue-Yellow Blazed Westville Feeder Trail at mile 0.45, then has a sharp uphill until just before it merges with Regicide Drive at mile 0.60. This section of trail has rocky, but secure footing, thanks to the designers who built a retaining wall along sections of the trail.

This is a view of the Blue-Blazed Regicides Trail heading north toward Judges Cave from the junction of the Westville Feeder.

Continue north along Regicide Drive with a stone wall on your left. Judges Cave is on the right. Be sure to pay a visit to the cave before resuming your hike. Learn about the Regicides (after whom the trail and park road are named), otherwise known as the Judges (after whom the cave is named) on the webpage "On the Trail of the Regicides." Look for names and dates from the 1800s carved into the rocks near the front of the cave.



When visiting Judges Cave, be sure to look at these carved rocks
near the front of the cave. Of course, do not add to the carvings!
From Judges Cave, the Regicides Trail continues north
between the stone wall and this wooden fence.
Judges Cave to the Orange Trail (Konolds Pond Overlook)
Just north of Judges Cave, the Regicides Trail veers left and follows this constructed path where the Green Trail continues straight head.
Note the retaining wall on which the trail is constructed.

There are two trails at Judges Cave: the Regicides Trail (Blue) and the Green Trail. The Regicides Trail continues north of the cave next to the stone wall on what looks like an old cart path at mile 0.65. The Green Trail appears as wide woods road slightly closer to the cave. The Regicides Trail briefly merges with the Green Trail, but then turns left, continuing on the cart path which is rocky and uneven due to erosion. The Green Trail continues straight at the split and parallels the Regicides Trail separated by a distance of 100 to 200 feet.
Over the West Rock Tunnel, the Regicides Trail and the Green Trail briefly overlap as they descend sharply from the top of the ridge on rocky terrain. Where they level off at mile 1.15, the Green Trail turns right and descends steeply to Regicide Drive and the main entrance, ending at the Red Trail, just south of the entrance.
Meanwhile, the Regicides Trail begins the second steepest climb of its length, starting on a set of stone steps built by the volunteer trails crew in 2011-2013. The steps provide more secure footing than previously existed on the trail. On the right is the ventilation shaft to the West Rock Tunnel.

On the West Rock Tunnel, these stone steps constructed by the West Rock volunteer trails crew provides secure footing on a steep section of trail.

This ventilation shaft for the West Rock Tunnel (Heroes' Tunnel) is adjacent to the Blue Trail where it crosses the tunnel. This is one of the few steep sections along the trail.
The trail levels off abruptly and continues along a fairly level section of terrain before coming to gravel road at mile 1.35. On the right is an airplane beacon behind a rusty barbed wire fence. The gravel road leads to a large antenna. The U.S. Postal Service had airplane beacons like this installed in the 1920s to allow for safe cross-country airmail flights in the era before radar and flight controllers. Read about the beacon on this page: http://westrocktrails.blogspot.com/p/historic-airway-beacon-on-west-rock.html
Shortly after the Regicides Trail levels off after crossing the West Rock Tunnel, the trail passes near this fenced area with a 1920s-era airplane beacon in this view seen looking north. Cross the gravel road past the fenced area to continue on the trail.


 This view of the fenced area pictured above is looking south from the gravel road. 
If you are headed north and the fenced area is on your right, you cross this gravel road to continue north on the trail, soon reaching the first crossing of Baldwin Drive. The trail formerly followed the gravel road for a short distance, which also involved vaulting over a guardrail to continue on the trail. This relocation was completed in April 2014.
Shortly past the gravel road crossing, the trail crosses a grassy woods road that connects the ventilation shaft to the gravel road. Just beyond this point, the guardrail for the gravel road is on the left. After climbing a short hill, the Regicides Trail crosses Baldwin Drive at the third switchback of the road at mile 1.55.
Near the switchback crossing, the trail passes the largest antenna on the ridge at 261 feet tall, briefly crosses the end of the gravel access road to the antenna at mile 1.70, and soon merges with the Orange Trail. The Orange Trail links Baldwin Drive and the Regicides Trail with the southwestern end of Lake Wintergreen at the White Trail.


The Regicides Trail passes by this tall antenna, of which only the top portion is seen, shortly before intersecting the Orange Trail.
The Regicides Trail and the Orange Trail both cross Baldwin Drive at mile 1.80. Within 200 feet, the two trails approach the overlook of Konolds Pond and the Woodbridge side of the ridge. The Orange Trail ends at a point about 100 feet before the overlook, while the Regicides Trail turns sharply right and continues north.
The is the one risky outlook in the park because the ridge was quarried here, so the sides are steep and uneven. Be careful of your footing at the overlook because you could easily step out into thin air. Staying a respectful distance back from the rim, you can enjoy the impressive view.

Orange Trail (Konolds Pond Overlook) to Paved "Overlook"

These stone steps on the Regicides Trail, 0.2  miles north of the Orange Trail,
provide traction for hikers in a steep area with many loose rocks.
Continuing north of the Orange Trail and the Konolds Pond Overlook, the Regicides Trail has a short downhill, followed by a sharp uphill. The volunteer trails crew built a set of steps here in 2014 to provide traction in an area that is a scree slope with slippery rocks underfoot.
The trail has modest climbs and descents with rocky footing as it continues north. The Regicides Trail soon intersects on the left (west) at mile 2.35 with an unofficial Yellow Square Trail blazed that descends very steeply into Woodbridge, crossing private land with "No Trespassing" signs.
A bit north of this point, the Regicides Trail intersects with the Gold Trail (don't call it yellow!) at mile 2.50. The Gold Trail has an easy descent to Baldwin Drive, then a steep descent along a rock slab to a water tank before changing to a wide woods road with a moderate slope leading to the Lake Wintergreen parking lot.

When heading north on the Regicides Trail, at the junction with the Gold Trail, the Regicides Trail drops between two boulders, a feature that adds interest to the trail.

This is a view of the Regicides Trail north of its junction with the Gold Trail.


Looking north along the Regicides Trail (Blue) at the junction with the Purple Trail, you can see the rocky trap rock footing that characterizes portions of the Regicides Trail.

The Regicides Trail continues north along the ridge between Regional Water Authority (RWA) property on the left (west) and Baldwin Drive along the right (east). Footing is rocky and uneven as the trail continues its modest climbs and descents. Glimpses of Lake Dawson may be viewed to the west through the trees. Lake Dawson is one of two RWA reservoirs between Rt. 69 and the ridge. There is an off-trail overlook of the lake overlook shortly past the Gold Trail.
At mile 3.25, the Purple Trail appears on the right. The Purple Trail connects the Blue Trail to Baldwin Drive, the White Trail, the Red Trail, and Main Street in Hamden. North of the Purple Trail is a large boulder on the left where the trail passes near Baldwin Drive. Climb the boulder for a better view of Lake Dawson.

The best feature of the Regicides Trail is the view from the ridges. This overlook midway between the Gold and Purple Trails provides an excellent view of the southern end of Lake Dawson, a water company reservoir off Rt. 69 in Woodbridge.
At mile 3.55, the Regicides Trail intersects with the Blue-Yellow-blazed North Summit Trail, which descends steeply into Woodbridge, and connects to the Woodbridge blue trails behind the Thomas Darling House off Rt. 69. Woodbridge uses dark blue paint on its trails, which are not affiliated with the CFPA trails.
At the end of the North Summit Trail, the Regicides Trail climbs up to a paved "overlook" off Baldwin Drive. The Regicides Trail briefly overlaps the Purple Trail, which connects to the lower trails on the ridge: Purple-Orange, Red, White, and Purple-White. The trail continues directly across the overlook and descends back into the trees. The word "overlook" appears in parentheses because the trees have grown tall enough since the overlook was created in the 1930s, that there is not much of a view.
The paved area is chock full of broken glass, a remnant of the park's previous history when Baldwin Drive was open to traffic and became a party spot. I have picked up most of the intact bottles, but manage to find a few more when I am up there, and swept up the glass that I could, but much more remains.

About one-third of a mile north of the Purple Trail, the Regicides Trail (Blue) crosses a wide overlook (the woods by the overlook are overgrown, so there are no real views) off Baldwin Drive. When heading north, cross the access driveway to the overlook, pass through this short wooded area, then cross the second access driveway.

There is a lot of broken glass in this overlook area from when the road was open to the public, prior to West Rock becoming a state park in the 1970s. I swept up what I could while I worked for the state in summer 2008, but much more needs to be removed. Due to the rough surface of the pavement, it was extremely difficult to sweep with a broom. I did try to create a path around the overlook, so cyclists could minimize their contact with the glass.

At the second access driveway, head straight, then descend the slope to continue on the Regicides Trail (Blue). The trail is not obvious at this location, but look for the blaze on the wooden post to the left of the trail.
Paved "Overlook" to the Lake Watrous Overlook

Heading north from the paved "overlook", continue through an area that is regenerating from the demise of hemlocks on the ridge. Some of the dead hemlocks still point up to the skies, but the trunks continue to fall on a regular basis. They have been succeeded primarily by black birch trees, which can quickly grow over the trail, along with raspberry plants. Many mountain laurel can also be found in this area.

A set of powerlines crosses West Rock at roughly the midpoint of the park, parallel to the southern section of Mountain Road. This view toward Woodbridge is taken from the Regicides Trail. Another viewpoint for these powerlines is on the Red Trail, between the northern end of the White Trail, and Mountain Road. On the Regicides Trail, these powerlines are located about halfway between the Purple Trail and the Yellow Trail, but closer to the Yellow Trail.



The trail passes under a set of overhead powerlines that cross the park from west to east. The trails crew has installed some stepping stones to keep down the weeds in summer, but more steps are needed. A view of Glen Lake along Dillon Road in Woodbridge can be found here. At the northern end of the powerlines, look for devil's walking stick, a sharp spined plant.
The next landmark along the Regicides Trail is an old stone shack at mile 4.25. This shack formerly housed equipment related to an AT and T telegraph line that crossed the park. A utility pole with an anchoring cable is visible to the left (west) of the trail.

At mile 4.75, the Yellow Trail appears on the east (right). The Yellow Trail connects to Baldwin Drive and briefly follows Baldwin Drive north before descending to Mountain Road where it ends. Following the Yellow blazes along Mountain Road for 0.3 miles leads to the Red Trail.


The Regicides Trail passes behind a stone shack that was once used for equipment related to a telegraph line that formerly crossed West Rock. The trail was relocated to pass behind this building in September 2014. The access to Baldwin Drive is still open to those who prefer the traditional route, and also to allow a path to see the shack, 
but the blazes have been painted out along the road.

Be sure to venture out to Baldwin Drive for a front view of this stone shack. People always wonder about its purpose, since it looks like a guard shack or an entry gatehouse, a function that does not make sense given its location halfway up the road.
The Regicides Trail passes across a grassy area in the relocation
near a stone shack on Baldwin Drive.

There are occasional short rocky slopes to ascend on the Regicides. This one is located near the junction with the Yellow Trail.







The Regicides Trail is often rocky along its length, but occasionally passes over soft forest ground. In this section just south of the Yellow Trail and just north of the powerlines crossing, the Regicides passes under a "tunnel" of mountain laurel.

This is a view of the Regicides Trail at the junction with the Yellow Trail.
The Regicides Trail crosses to the east side of Baldwin Drive at mile 5.0, as the terrain on the west side is too steep for the trail. From this point, the Regicides Trail passes close to Baldwin Drive before dropping away. The footing can be a bit uncertain in this area, so proceed with caution. Enjoy views over to forested valley to the right.
At mile 5.4, the Regicides Trail crosses Baldwin Drive at an angle back to the west side. Look for drill holes on a rock underfoot.
Climb a short, steep hill to an impressive view of Lake Watrous, another water company reservoir, along with the surrounding water company-owned woods. With plenty of open-faced rock, this is an excellent place for a lunch break.

The Regicides Trail crosses Baldwin Drive about 1/4 mile north of the junction with the Yellow Trail. This picture shows the trail on the west side of Baldwin Drive. The next picture shows the trail on the right side of Baldwin Drive.


This is interesting view of the Regicides Trail as it crosses a boulder, passes through some blueberry, and then re-enters the woods on a gradual descent. This view may be seen on the east side of Baldwin Drive, midway between the junctions with the Yellow and Red Trails.
This view of Lake Watrous from an overlook on the Regicides Trail, north of the Yellow Trail, is the prettiest viewpoint along the trail.
This summer view of Lake Watrous also includes a view down West Rock Ridge on the left. The picture is taken from the overlook on the west side of Baldwin Drive, midway between the Yellow and Red Trails, but closer to the Red Trail.


Lake Watrous Overlook to the Sanford Feeder Trail 
Continue the steady climb past the Lake Watrous overlook and observe the low bush blueberry and huckleberry bushes that line the trail. At mile 5.75, the Regicides Trail again crosses Baldwin Drive west to east. The trail passes across several stone slabs with few trees to blaze, so look for blazes on the rocks underfoot in summer, and do your best to follow the trail in snowy conditions. Glimpses of Farm Brook Reservoir, a flood control pond, and the nearby hayfield are visible to the right (east).

At mile 6.00, the Regicides Trail takes a sharp turn to the left at the junction with the Red Trail. For an impressive view of the pond, hay field and the southern stretch of the ridge, follow the Red Trail to the overlook, which is about a 0.1 mile walk, well worth the diversion.
Returning to the Regicides Trail, the trail continues over fairly level countryside through dense woods and plenty of mountain laurel. At mile 6.40, the Regicides Trail completes its final Baldwin Drive crossing, this one east to west. Look for a few striped maples with their distinctive green and white striped bark near the road crossing.
The Regicides Trail has a tough descent adjacent to the northern end of Baldwin Drive. The trail descends a rocky face with uneven footing that is slippery in wet, icy and snowy conditions, so proceed with care.
After the descent, Baldwin Drive is directly adjacent before the road curves to the right and ends at West Shepard Avenue, an intersection blocked to vehicles by a large rock and dirt pile. The Regicides Trail climbs a rocky slope with plenty of cedar trees before descending to the Blue-Red Sanford Feeder Trail at mile 6.55. The trail junction is marked with stones to better define the Regicides Trail in a grassy area that can become overgrown in summer.
The Sanford Feeder Trail connects to Brooks Road in Bethany on the left (west). On the right (east), Sanford Road, an abandoned town road with a dirt surface, continues a short distance to West Shepard Avenue. Walking down the hill on West Shepard Avenue leads to a gate in 0.3 miles, beyond which parking is readily available.

Mountain laurel may be found in abundance throughout West Rock, 
displaying beautiful flowers in June, as seen here on the Blue Trail.

Sanford Feeder Trail to the Quinnipiac Trail

Continuing across the Sanford Feeder Trail, the Regicides Trail soon descends past two large boulders. The soil in this area is slippery clay, so the trails crew constructed a set of stone steps in 2014. As you descend the steps, you may be able to see the cul-de-sac on Rayzoe Terrace in Hamden through the trees.
After the steps, the trail immediately climbs steeply up the ridge, first in a straight section, and then through a series of switchbacks. Be sure to stay on the trail to prevent further erosion to this fragile ecosystem.
Just before the junction with the Blue-Blazed Quinnipiac Trail, the Regicides Trail passes a modest overlook toward the west. At mile 6.80, the Regicides Trail completes its journey on the west slope of York Mountain, the height of which is 680 feet above sea level.

The Regicides Trail crosses the Sanford Feeder Trail, descends through a valley, and climbs up a steep area toward the Quinnipiac Trail. In a relocation completed in July 2014, the trail now follows the contours of the hill, providing better footing and easier climbing and descending.

As a result of the relocation of the Regicides Trail approaching the Quinnipiac Trail, the Regicides has a new overlook, which is toward the west.
The Quinnipiac Trail

From the Regicides, the Quinnipiac Trail continues on the left, heading northwest, towards Brooks Road in Bethany. There are two viewpoints to the south from the Quinnipiac Trail, one of which has an excellent view of West Rock Ridge, before the sharp descent to Brooks Road.
After Brooks Road, the Quinnipiac Trail climbs steeply up Mad Mares Hill, and then follows Downs Road before climbing over Mount Sanford in the Naugatuck State Forest, Mount Sanford Block. North of the forest, the Quinnipiac Trail passes by Roaring Brook Falls in Cheshire before ending in the woods on Cornwall Avenue, Cheshire, and on the road at Route 68.
From the Regicides, the Quinnipiac Trail also continues right, heading east toward Sleeping Giant State Park. The hike is not as pleasant as it sounds due to the fact that the Quinnipiac Trail has to several sections of roads, including busy West Woods Road.
Within Sleeping Giant State Park, the Quinnipiac Trail has a steep rock scramble up the Giant's Chin en route to the historic stone tower on the giant's left hip. The trail continues across Sleeping Giant, ending at Old Hartford Turnpike. In 2014, the CFPA abandoned 4 miles of the Quinnipiac Trail through Quinnipiac River State Park, due to the difficulty of maintaining a trail through this swampy area.

4 comments:

  1. Nice! Thanks for posting these great photos along with directions for these trails!

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  2. That would be fantastic if the Sanford feeder connnected with the Quinnipiac Trail. Let me know how things are going with that.

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  3. Does anyone have the mileage from the southern lookout to the Regisides Trail intersection with the North Summit Trail (red)? TY!!

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    Replies
    1. I added a table of mileages to this website in March 2015.

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