Devil’s Hopyard State Park is one of the more popular hiking destinations in the southeast region of Connecticut due to the beauty of the park, its variety of trails, and the overall accessibility for hikers of all experiences and capabilities.
Devil’s Hopyard State Park is located in East Haddam, CT. It is one of the more popular hiking destinations in the southeast region of Connecticut due to the beauty of the park, its variety of trails, and the overall accessibility for hikers of all experiences and capabilities.
What Makes It Great
Devil’s Hopyard is my personal favorite hiking location in all of Connecticut, and certainly in the south-eastern region, for numerous reasons. The forest itself is simply stunning at all times of the year, with large waterfalls at the main entrance that feed downstream along several picnic and barbeque areas. There are small, easily crossed streams that cut across the trails on both sides of the park and flow down into the main river, which follows closely along the length of Hopyard Rd.
There is also a wonderful vista at the end of one section of the park. Devil’s Hopyard offers six separate blazed trails of varied difficulties across a wide stretch of forest in East Haddam, CT. All of the trails loop, allowing for minimal backtracking to return to base level. They are well-cleared, and although steep at times are relatively clear of loose rocks and debris—with the exception of an occasional fallen tree.
The Orange route is the largest individual trail, and offers a challenging and enjoyable hike throughout the main section of the forest, eventually leading up to a secluded vista of a beautiful section of forest in Coventry. If an easier and shorter hike is desired, with the vista being the main reason for your visit, Foxtown Road leads to a small (unofficial) parking area that cuts to a back entrance to the vista. The Blue loop also offers a shorter and easier alternative to the Orange trail. Of the trails on the opposite side of the park (across the entrance road), I would recommend the Red trail over the Green and Yellow trails. In my experience, the Green trail is extremely rocky, steep, and not well blazed; while the Yellow is somewhat confusing at times and not as well marked as the other trails.
Who is Going to Love It
The great thing about Devil’s Hopyard is that every time you visit you can be sure to find a different path to take around the looping and intersecting trails, allowing for a fresh and new experience. This also means that your visit can truly last as long as desired, with some trails taking as little as a half-hour to complete, and others requiring up to two hours or more, depending on the speed and experience of the hiker. Transitions from one trail to another to increase the length of your hike are readily available, and a full day of hiking is possible if one wants to experience the different routes and scenic views that the park offers.
Experienced hikers should have no problem on any of the trails, and beginners can enjoy the gradual shifts between flat and inclined trails. This is an excellent location for family outings, as the park can be enjoyed regardless of physical ability. For new visitors, I would advise utilizing a trail map if your ultimate destination is the vista, as the trails themselves can be confusing at times.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From CT Route 9: take Exit 7, then a left at the end of the exit ramp onto CT Route 82 east/154 north. Take a right at the first traffic light following CT Route 82 east and follow the signs.
From Interstate 395: take Exit 80 west. Take a right onto CT Route 82 west. Take a right onto Hopyard Road and follow signs.
From I-91S: take Exit 22 for Route 9 South, Exit 7. Take a left at the end of the exit ramp onto CT Route 82 east/154 north. Take a right at the first traffic light following CT Route 82 east and follow the signs.
The park is open year-round, but officially closes at night unless you are camping ($14/night CT residents, $24/night non-CT residents). There are no fees/permits required if you are hiking during the day.