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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Machimoodus State Park - Moodus, CT

I am pretty blown away by the amount of beautiful places and spaces in our small state and Machimoodus was of certainly one of them. It's in Moodus, a relatively quiet village in the town of East Haddam. Don't expect to find a busy downtown or a high traffic park. Instead, you can find quiet back roads with a colorful coffee shop, and a park with a relatively empty parking lot. I heard of this park as a great place for trail riding with the intention of hiking it on foot to scope it out for future four legged use. Adam was home and tagged along for a full family adventure to another state park - two dogs, two kids, and the two of us. 

Machimoodus State Park
Our little hikers at Machimoodus State Park

Our little hikers at Machimoodus State Park

The park includes 300 acres of uplands, woodlands, meadows, river and cove waterfronts, hiking trails, bird watching and scenic vistas. It is relatively quiet and absolutely beautiful with serene paths and beautiful views. There are picnic areas by the vista, benches by another overlook, and a wide dirt or gravel trail (an old farm road) that makes the hike horse-friendly. Before it was acquired by the state, the property known as Echo Farm was owned by industrialist Raymond Schmitt.

Scenic vista at Machimoodus State Park
Overlook at Machimoodus State Park

What's in a name? The Pequot, Mohegan and Narragansetts tribes were originally inhabited the area heard echoes in the area and referred to this location as "the place of bad noises" or Machimoodus. In 1981, geologists determined the noise was actually "micro earthquakes" and a local cave echoed the tremors. 

Machimoodus State Park
Trails at Machimoodus State Park

Machimoodus State Park also borders smaller Sunrise State Park (home to former Sunrise Resort). Sunrise Resort was Ted Hilton's Vacation Hide-A-Way in 1916 before becoming the Frank Davis Resort, and finally Sunrise Resort. One website called the former resort area the "Catskills of Connecticut" and while I call that a big stretch, you will have to head to the parks and find out for yourself. Now, the area has been reclaimed by nature and you can enjoy these two waterfront parks.

Machimoodus State Park
Entrance/Old Farm Road at Machimoodus State Park

Activities: Bird Watching,  Horseback Riding, Fishing, Picnicking, Hiking - the first part of the park is handicapped accessible into the ponds.

Dogs: Yes, on leash

Kids: Great hike for kids as there isn't a ton of elevation and it's relatively short

Facilities: Pit toilets, picnic tables

Parking area at Machimoodus State Park

Hiking: Follow the main loop clockwise around the park from the upper area to the vista, down to the lower area, and back to the ponds. The loop is about 2.3 miles and gains 200 feet of elevation. Map

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