Trail Length: 7.3 miles
Towns: New Haven, Hamden, Woodbridge
Allowed Uses: Hiking Only
Partners: Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (CT DEEP), West Rock Ridge Park Association
Located entirely within West Rock Ridge State Park, the Regicides Trail starts by a stone wall and pavilion at the South Overlook in New Haven, passes historic Judges Cave, and follows the ridgeline through Hamden, ending at the Quinnipiac Trail in Bethany. From 375 feet above sea level at the South Overlook, the traprock ridge rises to more than 600 feet where the two trails join on the west slope of York Mountain. The trail is named in honor of William Goffe and Edward Whalley, two of the Regicides of King Charles I of England. Seeking to avoid capture by agents of King Charles II, Goffe and Whalley hid at Judges Cave in 1661 and again in 1664.
The Regicides Trail is considered one of Connecticut’s most spectacular cliff walks. Along the western side of the ridge, hikers are rewarded with extended views of reservoirs and forests in Woodbridge and Bethany. On the eastern side, the trail has a dramatic perspective down the length of West Rock Ridge, including Farm Brook Reservoir and the forested slopes of the state park.
At the South Overlook, enjoy a panoramic view of south-central Connecticut including the Sleeping Giant, East Rock Park, New Haven Harbor, and the shimmering expanse of Long Island Sound. From some vantage points at South Overlook, the vistas from West Rock are said to encompass 200 square miles.
The Regicides Trail intersects the Quinnipiac Trail just north of Sanford Notch (Lower Bethany Gap). These trails can be combined for a variety of longer hike options that include Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden or Mount Sanford in Bethany. Numerous trails within West Rock connect to the Regicides Trail, making many hiking loops possible. See the state park map for more details.
The West Rock Ridge Park Association advocates for additions to the park, safeguards its preservation, and donates time every year to maintaining park trails.