East Rock Park

East Rock Park is a city park with hiking trails and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. The trails range from the Giant Steps – a narrow and cardio-inducing set of stairs to the top of the hill – to gentle paved roads perfect for jogging or walking a dog. 

Miles of tree-canopied trails and roads make this a popular place to get exercise and enjoy nature. It is also a great place to bring a picnic and relax. Check this out!


The 425-acre East Rock Park, which gives its name to the upscale neighborhood it overlooks in New Haven and South Hamden, encompasses a mountainous ridge, a series of hiking trails, an environmental center, and a rose garden. The park also contains a seasonal automobile road that climbs to the summit of East Rock and several recreation facilities.

The highest point of the ridge, Peter’s Rock, offers sweeping views of downtown New Haven and Long Island Sound. At the summit, the Soldiers & Sailors Monument commemorates those who gave their lives in wars spanning over a century.

The rocky terrain of the park presents ample opportunities for hikers, runners, and cyclists to enjoy the outdoors in solitude. Cars, however, are restricted from the internal roads, a compromise experiment implemented during the pandemic that aims to better serve both walkers and drivers.

Hiking Trails

New Haven residents and visitors flock to East Rock Park’s hiking trails, picnic areas, and vistas all year round. The park’s famous cliffs and eponymous monument are a striking landmark that defines the city.

On a clear day, hikers can see as far as 40 miles from the top of the South Summit. The blue-blazed Regicides Trail offers spectacular vistas.

Hikers who want to add a challenge can tackle the Giant Steps, a series of large rocks that lead up the steep face of East Rock. The steps are challenging and require good balance, but they provide a terrific full-body workout and offer spectacular views of the city below.

Parks and open spaces like East Rock are vital to our quality of life. They connect us to nature, lower air pollution, and foster a sense of civic pride. Visit another area in town here.

Bird Watching

With a wide variety of habitats, East Rock Park is home to many species of birds. Visitors can often see Osprey, Bald Eagles, and Peregrine Falcons nesting here. It’s also an important stopover for migratory songbirds. The rocky ridge and woodlands are popular places for bird watching, especially during the spring migration.

The college woods in the north of the park are a good place to look for Black-and-white Warblers, Magnolia Warblers, Indigo Buntings, and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. There are also areas of upland forest where you can find Black-throated Green Warblers.

Bring your binoculars to this park, and you’ll have a chance to observe a variety of bird species. There’s a bird species checklist available to help you get started. It is also a great place to look for hummingbirds, waterfowl, and marsh birds.

Picnic Areas

The park includes many picnic areas with grills and a large pavilion for rentals. There are also numerous walking trails, the Coogan Pavilion & Gazebo and a playground, several ponds, a skateboard area, and tennis courts.

New Haven is one of the few cities with such a high proportion of parks and open space. Thanks to philanthropy, many city residents and visitors enjoy access to scenic vistas and hiking trails for free or at low cost. These places also serve as a reminder of the natural environment that was here long before cities and their inhabitants arrived. They are an important part of a vibrant ‘urban forest’ that incorporates a bustling urban city feel with a natural, outdoor, eco-friendly lifestyle.


Located on the New Haven / Hamden border, East Rock Park is a city park surrounding and including the mountainous ridge of the same name. The eponymous rock is the focal point of this 427-acre park, but there are numerous hiking and running trails that lead to and from it, as well as several picnic areas at its base and summit.

The roads within the park are closed to cars and serve as a popular walking, hiking, and jogging route for locals throughout the year. The park was established with naturalistic landscaping and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Parking on the street in the neighborhood around East Rock is free, but rates apply at meters in nearby residential areas during peak hours. Check the New Haven street sweeping schedule and sign up for New Haven Alerts to avoid getting ticketed. Next article.


Driving directions from The Powerwashing Kings to East Rock Park

Driving directions from East Rock Park to Mount Southington Ski Area