Selden Neck State Park
Connecticut State Park
607 acres in Lyme, CT
Parking: Accessible by water only, see boat launch options below
I started my exploration of Selden Neck in October 2018. Taking off from the Hadlyme Ferry below Gillette’s Castle, I paddled the mile down to the northern point of the island at Hogback Camp. There is a wide beach here a couple picnic tables and a grill just off the beach set beside a rock ledge and marshy thicket. The trails start at the southern end of the beach. I followed what I thought were the trails leading to the Selden Swing, an actual swing with a nice river view. Not knowing any better, I bushwacked for a bit cross-island hoping to run into the white trail. There is a semi-obvious start to the White trail just to the left of the one that leads to the swing.
Once I found the white trail I followed it heading south jumping fallen trees and pushing through overgrown brush. There were a few sections that have gotten lost in the overgrowth, but others before me took similar paths around them. There was one particularly nasty section that I think was once the railroad that ran from the quarry that is filled with thorny raspberry and other pricker shrubs. I eventually made it halfway down the island to the Quarry Knob Camp Area (the DEEP camping map places it too far north I think). There is an official sign, at least two campsites, and an outhouse.
It was nearing sunset, so I located the red trail and made my way back up island to where the white trail actually meets the beach and passed a stone pillar memorial to the late Paul Roberston. I hope to get back soon to explore the quarries and farm roads further.
Accessible by boat only it serves as a primitive camping spot on the Connecticut River that can accommodate up to 46 campers. Several trails were cleared here in the 70s and have remained in ok condition over the years. To access the park, use one of these launch points:
Established as a state park in 1917. The main source on the history of the island is Dave Wordell’s “The Quarries of Selden Neck” a slideshow presentation dating back to the 1980s, that details murder, seeds from Egyptian tombs, and the ruins of the quarries. I made an inquiry to get a copy and should be able to get one soon. According to a recent archaeology textbook, a team excavated part of a site, “radiocarbon-dated to approximately 1,000 years ago, Selden Island was home to a Middle Woodland sedentary village.” A little bit of searching tells me that “Middle Woodland” is distinguished by non-local materials, in this case, “a sizeable percentage of nonlocal stone.”
Cordell, Linda; Lightfoot, Kent, eds. (2008). Archaeology in America: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 61.
Geological Survey Bulletin, Issue 484 U.S. Department of the Interior; Washington, D.C., 1949