|The western cliffs of West Rock Ridge rise steeply from Woodbridge.|
Parking and Vehicle Access
These directions use Route 15 as the primary way to reach the local roads needed to access West Rock. Directions from I-91 and I-95 can get complicated as it involves driving numerous turns through New Haven's streets. From the north along I-91, cross over to Rt. 15 to reach West Rock. Directions to specific parking areas are indicated below.
Driving Directions from I-95:
From the coast, take I-95 North to Exit 44 to Kimberly Avenue and drive north to Route 10 North (Ella Grasso Boulevard) or I-95 South to Exit 45 to directly access Route 10 North (Ella Grasso Boulevard).
Follow Route 10 for 2.6 miles. At Whalley Avenue, turn left, then immediately right on Blake Street and go 0.7 miles.
To access Lake Wintergreen, the main entrance, and Tierney Road, turn right on Springside Avenue, then left on Wintergreen Avenue. The main entrance and Tierney Road are before the Rt. 15 overpass.
|When driving from Wintergreen Avenue toward Lake Wintergreen,|
this hand lettered sign reminds people to turn onto Main Street.
To reach Lake Wintergreen, follow Wintergreen Avenue under Rt. 15, around the sharp bend, and up the hill to Main Street, just past Wintergreen Magnet School. Turn left on Main Street (Look for a small wooden "Lake Wintergreen" sign on the telephone pole). At the bottom of the hill, head straight into the parking lot. (Do this carefully because this is a blind curve and cars coming from the other direction can easily surprise you.)
To access the parking lot behind the Early Childhood Center, stay on Blake Street (when coming from Ella Grasso Boulevard and Whalley Avenue) and turn right into the parking lot by the smokestack, just after crossing the West River bridge. Drive straight to the back of the parking lot, and park by the footbridge.
Driving Directions from Route 15:
- Lake Wintergreen, 40 Main St., Hamden: A central access location for most park users is the gravel parking lot near Lake Wintergreen at 40 Main St., Hamden.
- Directions: From Rt. 15, take Exit 60, and turn right to head south on Rt. 10 (Dixwell Avenue) for 0.3 miles. At the next traffic light past the parkway, turn right on Benham Street and take this to the end (2 miles). Then turn left on Main Street and head south for 0.9 miles. At the turn in the road, turn right into the parking area. This parking lot holds about 40 cars, but may fill up on a good weather weekend. If full, parking is available nearby on Valerie Court, off Main Street near Wintergreen Avenue, or just south of Main Street at Wintergreen Magnet School, 670 Wintergreen Ave., Hamden. Valerie Court is a 0.1-mile walk, while the school is a 0.3-mile walk to Lake Wintergreen.
Motorists taking Exit 60 off the Wilbur Cross Parkway are directed to head south along Route 10 (Dixwell Avenue) to access West Rock Ridge State Park.
|Approaching the traffic light at Benham Street,|
this sign on Route 10 (Dixwell Avenue) advises people to turn right.
- Westville Center, 495 Blake St., New Haven: A popular weekend meeting place, which is located outside the park boundaries, is the parking lot of the Early Childhood Learning Center, 495 Blake St., New Haven, at the corner of Valley Street.
- Directions: From Rt. 15, Exit 59, head south on Rt. 69 to the merge with Rt. 63 South and continue to Blake Street (1.1 miles). Turn left on Blake Street, then left again at the first traffic light onto Valley Street, then right into the parking lot. The center is open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays throughout the year, but parking generally is available even during these times. To access the Westville Feeder from this parking area, walk over the pedestrian bridge that crosses the West River. After the bridge, turn left and follow the dirt path alongside the field, following the Blue-Yellow blazes. The Westville Feeder ends at the Blue-Blazed Regicides Trail. At the junction, turn left to head north to Judges Cave, or turn right to head south toward the South Overlook. From the South Overlook, descend on the Red Trail. At the base of the descent, the Red Trail turns left. Continue straight another 100 feet, then turn right onto an unmarked trail to return to the ballfield and parking area.
|This photo shows only a small portion of the parking area at Blake and Valley Streets, behind the Early Childhood Learning Center. These spots are directly in front of the pedestrian bridge where the Westville Feeder Trail starts.|
- Tierney Road, Hamden, as an alternative to the West Rock Nature Center: Park along the road on this quiet cul-de-sac.
- Directions: From Rt. 15, Exit 59, head south on Rt. 69 to the merge with Rt. 63 South and continue to Blake Street, about 1.1 miles. Turn left on Blake Street for 0.3 miles, and then left onto Springside Ave. for 0.8 miles. At the stop sign, turn left onto Wintergreen Ave and go 0.2 miles. Tierney Road is on the right, just past the main entrance. New Haven blocked off most of the lower parking lot to the West Rock Nature Center (previously a popular parking lot for West Rock) to combat illegal dumping. New Haven also owns the parking lot adjacent to the main entrance that is permanently blocked off by a chain. At times people break this chain and use the lot for dumping, while responsible users park in the lot. In Nov. 2017, I found broken window glass in this parking lot, hence the recommendation to park elsewhere.
- Hill Street/Farm Brook Reservoir, 610 Hill St., Hamden: There is an unmarked gravel lot for five cars at 610 Hill Street, Hamden, 0.15 miles south of West Shepard St. This lot is the closest access for people fishing at Farm Brook Reservoir, a flood control pond near Hill Street. The Red-White Trail starts here and leads up the ridge to the Red Trail, which then connects to the Regicides Trail.
- Directions: From Rt. 15 Exit 60, turn right and head south on Rt. 10 to the first light. Right on Benham St. for 1 mile. Right on Paradise Ave. at the light, then quick right to stay on Paradise Ave. for 1.5 miles. Left on Hill St. at stop sign and go 1.2 miles to parking lot. If the parking lot is full, the best place to park is on the opposite side of the road facing up the hill.
|The Hill Street parking area provides direct access to the Red-White Trail, leading to the Red Trail, and Farm Brook Reservoir. The state replaced the fence at the Hill Street parking lot in August 2015.|
- 645 Mountain Road, Hamden: There is a unmarked gravel lot for four cars on Mountain Road, across from 648 Mountain Road. This lot may be used to access the Yellow Trail, which is 0.30 miles west on Mountain Road, or the Red Trail, which is 0.10 miles east on Mountain Road. Directions: From Rt. 15, take Exit 60, and turn right to head south on Rt. 10. At the next traffic light past the parkway, turn right on Benham Street and take this to the end. Then turn right on Main Street and head north for 1.4 miles. As you continue straight (with Chauncey Road on the right), the street name changes to Mountain Road. Go another 0.4 miles around two curves, and the parking lot is on your left.
This small unmarked parking lot at 645 Mountain Rd.
provides access to the Red Trail and the Yellow Trail.
- 574 West Shepard Avenue (by Rayzoe Terrace), Hamden: Street parking is available on West Shepard Avenue, just west of Hill Street, by the gate near Rayzoe Terrace. This address is for an undeveloped property and may not be recognized by GPS. An alternative address is 550 West Shepard Ave., which is the house across the street.
- Directions: From Rt. 15 Exit 60, turn right and head south on Rt. 10 to the first light. Right on Benham St. for 1 mile. Right on Paradise Ave. at the light, then quick right to stay on Paradise Ave. for 1.5 miles. Left on Hill St. at stop sign and go 1.5 miles to West Shepard Ave. Left on West Shepard Ave., and park near the gate. Walk up the road past the gate and you will access Baldwin Drive past a large pile of rocks and dirt. If you continue straight, the abandoned Sanford Road will soon connect with the Sanford Feeder and crosses the Regicides Trail.
- West Rock Main Entrance, 1134 Wintergreen Ave., New Haven: The main entrance, which leads up to Judges Cave and the South Overlook, may be accessed off Rt. 15 North to Exit 59, the exit south of the West Rock Tunnel.
- Directions: From Rt. 15, Exit 59, head south on Rt. 69 to the merge with Rt. 63 South and continue to Blake Street, driving about 1.1 miles. Turn left on Blake Street and go 0.3 miles, then left again on Springside Avenue at the light and go 0.8 miles. Turn left on Wintergreen Avenue at the stop sign and go 0.2 miles. The park entrance is on the left, across from the house at 1135 Wintergreen Avenue, New Haven, shortly before the overpass for Rt. 15. There is parking for 55 cars in the paved parking lot at the South Overlook. The gate is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Memorial Day to the end of October. In the fall, the gate may close by 5 p.m.
- From Rt. 15 South, take Exit 60, and then turn right to head south on Rt. 10 (Dixwell Avenue) for 0.3 miles. At the next traffic light past the parkway, turn right on Benham Street and take this to the end (2 miles). Then turn left on Main Street and head south for 1.1 miles, continuing around the curve past the parking lot for Lake Wintergreen and up a short hill to Wintergreen Avenue. Turn right at the stop sign on Wintergreen Avenue and go 1.2 miles: head down the hill and around the two sharp curves, passing under the Rt. 15 overpass. The main entrance is on the right 0.1 miles past the overpass.
|The main entrance at 1134 Wintergreen Ave., New Haven, is open to cars weekends from Memorial Day weekend to the end of October. Gates open at 8 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. Non-motorized access is available sunrise to sunset year-round.|
The state has "No Parking" signs posted outside the gate at the main entrance. I strongly caution against parking by the signboard inside the main entrance. I have seen broken car window glass on the pavement six times in this area from 2007 to 2018. Tierney Road, Hamden (see above) is likely a safer location as there are houses on the street, so at least there may be people around to keep an eye on your car. Judges Cave is an isolated enough area (where I found broken window glass in 2014) that I would not feel comfortable leaving my car there for more than a short time.
- Thomas Darling House/Woodbridge Trails, 1907 Litchfield Tpke., Woodbridge: Indirect access to West Rock is available from Woodbridge by parking at the Thomas Darling House, 1907 Litchfield Tpke. (Rt. 69), Woodbridge.
- Directions: From the Wilbur Cross Pkway, (Rt. 15), take Exit 59, then head north on Rt. 69 for 2 miles. Park on the right just past the house. Walk across the field into the woods and follow the blue trail into the woods, through an open field, across a wide bridge spanning the West River, then turn left on the blue trail to access the red-blazed North Summit Trail into West Rock. The Woodbridge blue trail should not be confused with the Blue-Blazed Regicides Trail.
- Sanford Feeder Trailhead, 176 Brooks Road, Bethany: The Sanford Feeder has a trailhead at 176 Brooks Rd. in Bethany.
- Directions: From Rt. 15, Exit 59, take Rt. 69 North for 3.3 miles. Turn right on Downs Road for 1.1 miles, then right onto Brooks Rd. for 1.1 miles. The trailhead is on the right. There is maybe three parking spaces near the gate. From I-84, take Exit 23 to Rt. 69 South for 11 miles. Turn left onto Hatfield Road to the end, then left onto Downs Road, then the next right onto Carmel Road, and the next right onto Brooks Road. Drive 0.5 miles and the trailhead is on the left. Walk up the Sanford Feeder to access the northern end of the Regicides Trail.