If you want a trail to walk on, bring a machete and some hip waders. The blazes are marked through a flood plain, so the trail changes with the river; don't expect a bridge for each river crossing. Also, the plants grow faster than they get cut back.
Time To Complete
I gave up and turned back after 45 minutes, but I've read an account by an experienced hiker who walked the eight mile round-trip in 3.5 hours.
The park is open year-round but the ground gets so muddy and the vegetation grows so thick in summer it's all but impassable. Wait until the winter die-back.
The bottom four miles of the 24-mile-long Blue Blazed Trail from North Haven to Cheshire are found within this park. Better said, the bottom four miles of blue blazes are found here year-round, but the trail itself may go missing.
This park occupies a flood plain, which means the landscape is ever-changing. Between the meandering river and the fast-growing vegetation, there's little predicting what you'll find here any given visit.
What Makes It Great
This may be the wildest wilderness in the state park system. On my recent late-summer visit, my water bottle was consumed by a patch of poison ivy within my first five minutes in the park. I was grateful I was wearing long pants and long sleeves as I bushwhacked my way through the trail. After maybe fifteen minutes of struggling, I noticed a broken asphalt path running parallel to the Blue Trail, and I cut across the underbrush to get to it; that was no more difficult than walking on the trail itself.
After another fifteen minutes the asphalt trail gave way to gravel and an unobstructed view of the Parkway. And then that trail disappeared. A few trees were marked with red blazes, but I didn't see anything that looked trail-like near them. Certain by now I must have contracted Lyme Disease, I gave up and headed back to the parking area along the gravel/paved path.
On my return trip I noticed that the paved trail forked several times. I tried one or two of these forks, but each one quickly dissolved into madness.
Who is Going to Love It
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The parking area is a dead end street tucked behind the Route 15 North Haven southbound service plaza. Clean restrooms and food available!