Bishops Woods Bird Sanctuary

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About

Summary

47 forested acres, including the highest point in New Haven County east of the Quinnipiac River.

Written by

Meredith Zolty

Distance

1.2 miles

Approximate distance of round trip.

Destination Distance From Downtown

3.1 miles

Difficulty

3 of 5 diamonds

The approach from Bishops Woods School is very steep, and many trees are obstructed by fallen trees.

Time To Complete

0 hours

Trails are unmarked, but a half hour of wandering leaves you feeling like you've seen the park.

Seasonality

All Seasons

Dog Friendly

Yes

This park doesn't seem to have any rules.

Fees Permits

No

Topographical Map

Bishop Woods Topo Map

Review

Intro

There are no obvious signs here; if you hadn't seen it on a map first you would have no clue Bishops Woods was a public park. Dr. Louis Bennett Bishop willed these 40+ acres to the City of New Haven for use as a bird sanctuary, but the primary users of the land seem to be illegal ATV racers. Neighbors frequently complain that ATVs have marred the landscape and frightened the birds away. 

What Makes It Great

This park comes with hipster bragging rights: it's easily the least-known park in New Haven. And the trails aren't kept tidy like at the more popular parks, so you'll have stories to tell about all the fallen trees you had to climb over and how you had to figure out how to avoid the poison ivy growing in the middle of your path.

I was filled with a great sense of apprehension walking through Bishops Woods. Even in the middle of the day and within sight of houses, the park feels isolated, and it doesn't take much imagination to convince yourself that one of those abandoned sleeping bags contains a body (aside: people have left a lot of junk behind, from camping gear to broken ATVs and old tires). I got myself so worked up here that a tiny garter snake made me scream.

Birds that have been spotted here include wood thrush, tufted titmouse, great crested flycatcher, catbird, cardinal, oriole, warbler, woodpecker, and more. 

Who is Going to Love It

Do you like horror movies? The kind where some kids are camping where they shouldn't be and Chucky Chainsaw Fingers jumps out from behind a tree and utters his pre-murder catchphrase? This would be the perfect place to film such a movie.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

There are two areas of public access: via what looks like a private driveway on Foxon Hill Road near Harmac Drive in North Haven; or by walking up the steep hill behind Bishop Woods School on Quinnipiac Avenue in New Haven. The hill behind the school is more difficult but more satisfying.

There are no posted regulations.

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Location

Bishop Woods Bird Sanctuary

1503 Quinnipiac Avenue
New Haven, CT, 06513
41.32732, -72.86996

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