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Monday, September 27, 2021

Wadsworth Falls State Park - Middletown, Connecticut

Wadsworth Falls State Park
Wadsworth Falls State Park

Mondays are for unpacking from the last weekend's adventure, and yes, for planning the next one. We got back from Lake George, New York last night and I am sitting here on a Monday morning thinking about where we should head this coming weekend. Today's adventure is something you can plan for the weekend, or if you are local to Connecticut, it's just the right about of adventure to spice up the weekday. It's a popular spot so heading out during the week may actually be best. This was my first time out to Wadsworth Falls State Park and we already have plans to come back.

Wadsworth Falls State Park
Starting our hike at Wadsworth Falls State Park

Wadsworth Falls State Park
Little Falls (Whitney in the Osprey Poco Plus)

f i r s t   i m p r e s s i o n s 

We were impressed by just how beautiful this park is. The waterfalls are impressive, with two different sets "Little Falls" and "Big Falls". After a decent amount of rain, the falls were full and the lush greenery surrounding the trails was dreamy. We have to return in a few weeks when the leaves change here in Connecticut, and again in the spring to see how all the rain changes the scenery. 

Besides the falls, you have a network of scenic hiking trails, the picturesque Coginchaug River, a swimming pond, fishing areas (stocked), and several picnic areas. It's a lovely spot to visit throughout the years and a stop to see both of the waterfalls is a must. 

Big Falls can be viewed from a parking area (a short walk down to the falls, off of Cherry Hill Road) while Little Falls requires a bit of hiking (3/4 to a mile-ish depending on where you park). We did a 4-mile out and back hike, starting from the main parking area off of Route 157 along the orange trail, a right on the blue trail to see Little Falls, and then continuing on the orange trail which leads you to Cherry Hill Road where you can see Big Falls. We brought the dogs and the baby and this was a fantastic family-friendly adventure.

Wadsworth Falls State Park
Split between the Orange and Blue trails

Wadsworth Falls State Park
Coginchaug River

a d m i s s i o n

Free for anyone with a Connecticut license plate. There is a weekend/holiday parking fee for non-residents from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The park is open from sunrise to sunset and the gates are open 8 a.m. to sunset. The park can be accessed from Route 157 (main area) and Cherry Hill Road (Big Falls Viewing Area).  

Wadsworth Falls State Park
Hiking through the park

h i s t o r y 

Wadsworth Falls was designated as a park in 1942. Colonel Clarence S. Wadsworth developed the property that the park occupies in the early years of the 20th century as part of his estate. He established the Rockfall Corporation to administer his properties and following his death, the corporation gave 267 acres to the people of Connecticut for preservation as Wadsworth Falls State Park.

a c t i v i t i e s  

Hiking & Mountain Biking beautiful trails with interesting features including the two 
waterfalls and the river - trail map here
Fishing Pond Fishing/Stream Fishing
Swimming (permitted in designated swimming area only)
Picnicking (permitted at designated picnic area only)
Horseback Riding: We saw a lot of horse manure on the trails and some sites reference horseback riding being allowed - a little unclear

Big Falls - Wadsworth Falls
Big Falls - Wadsworth Falls 

Little Falls - Wadsworth Falls
Little Falls - Wadsworth Falls 

w a t e r f a l l s 

Big Falls on the Coginchaug Riverdrops the 52-foot breadth of the Coginchaug River 30 feet over a shelf of Hampden basalt * There is a lot of signage warning you to stay out of the water in this area. 

Little Falls on Wadsworth Brook descends approximately 40 feet over an outcrop of sandstone known as Portland arkose 

Dog-Friendly Wadsworth Falls State Park
Dog-Friendly Wadsworth Falls State Park

k i d s  /  d o g s 

Pets on a leash are permitted. Health regulations require that pets be kept off the beach and out of the water in the swimming pond. There are dog waste stations in the park. The trails are kid-friendly (and kid-in-pack friendly). We use the Osprey Poco Plus and I can't say enough good things about it - it is worth the hefty price tag. 

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