127 acres in New Milford, CT
Parking: Medium lot at 178 Shortwoods Road, New Milford, CT
Lover’s Leap State Park has a number of trails split into three sections. There are the Old Factory Trails, the Waramaug Loop, and the Hurd Estate Trails. Each has their own sights including a castle and overlooks of Lake Lilinonah. The historic iron bridge is frequently the main attraction.
Heading off into the woods from the main parking area is the satisfying short loop. Following the high ridge above Housatonic River as it heads through thick pines until reaching the Indian Spring House. The house is in rough shape with a collapsing roof, missing floor, and soggy conditions. It is right on the edge and with the spring run under and through it if it doesn’t completely collapse it will likely one day tumble into the river. From the spring house, a short uphill section reaches the overlook above Lake Lillinonah. This is a peaceful spot with a sheer drop. The rest of the loop carries through the forest hills coming close to private property along Indian Ridge Rd.
Hurd Estate Trails
The Lovers Leap Trail is a wide former gravel road heading uphill from the iron bridge to the main overlook. The overlook is a ribbed stone ridge that descends down to Lake Lillinonah. Views west of the lake and the land to the south are impressive even in the fog of a rainy day. From here the best option is to head up into the woods into what was known as the Falls Mountain Estate owned by Catherine Hurd. The castle is the remains of the “Hurd Castle” built in 1889 and destroyed by fire in 1988. All the remains is a crumbling chimney and a few foundation bricks. Trails continue steeply uphill to a high overlook though I can’t comment on the views as they were completely obscured by fog. The trails here have been ravaged by fallen trees and seem to deviate from the known blazed ones to form a rough loop between the Hurd Trail and the Falls Mountain Trail. The area felt wild and remote but required more careful footing in several sections. I soon came upon the more substantial ruins of the Yellow Cat Tea House. They are thickly overgrown with vines. A number of options head back to the iron bridge.
Old Factory Trails
Stone steps near the iron bridge head down under the Stillriver Drive bridge. Beyond the bridge are the ruins of the massive Silex factory. Trails here criss-cross through stone and brick ruins in the lowlands along the river.
Established as a state park in 1971. The leap of Lover’s Leap is a rock formation overlooking Lake Lilinonah where, “tradition has it, that the Pootatuck Indian Chief Waramaug’s daughter, Princess Lillinonah, and her lover plunged to their deaths.”
Peter Marteka – View From Lovers Leap State Park Like A Painting