West Rock Ridge Loop
ElevationAscent: 785' 239 m
Descent: -772' -235 m
High: 593' 181 m
Low: 137' 42 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 33% (18°)
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“An extended outing at West Rock Ridge State Park to see some of the highlights of the area.”— Kristen Arendt
The run starts on the Regicides Trail (Blue Trail). This is one of the most challenging trails in the park as it follows the ridgeline north. From the trailhead, the trail is rolling, but climbs steadily along the ridge, gaining about 200 ft. in elevation over the course of the next 3.5 miles. Judges Cave, a small cave, can be found about a half mile into the Regicides Trail near the junction with the Green Trail. Take a short side trip on the Green Trail to explore the cave, a fun detour.
From the Regicides Trail (Blue Trail), turn east onto the Purple Trail, an mile-long connector that descends quickly to the Red Trail. Turn south along the Red Trail and enjoy a pleasant run along a mostly wide and flat trail. The trail passes along the east shore of Wintergreen Lake, a scenic lake that you may want to visit separately for a canoe or kayak outing. There are still a few small hills to contend with along the Red Trail, but nothing too steep or long—that is until the end!
At just over 7.5 miles, you'll come to the southern end of the Red Trail and the most difficult climb of the loop, a steep ascent back to the trailhead. This climb winds up the edge of the bluff, gaining over 100 ft. in a little over half a mile. You'll end back at the parking area at the South Overlook where you should take some time to enjoy the views. From here you can see Sleeping Giant State Park, East Rock Park, downtown New Haven, Long Island Sound, and Long Island.
Pack a snack or lunch to enjoy at the covered picnic pavilion at the trailhead post-run.
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Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes, History & Background
Land Manager: CT DEEP - West Rock Ridge State Park