150 acres in Stafford, CT
Parking: Small lot near 1-15 Hyde Park Rd Stafford Springs, CT
Trail Map Trails: 2 miles Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Hyde Park is broken into two sections: the Riverside with tennis courts, ballfields, and a playscape. And the Ridge section which has the hiking trail and overlook. On my hike in late 2021 there was a guided ‘Fox Hike’ for Stafford elementary students put up by a local art teacher. There were several hand painted foxes with informational signs on trail blazes, history, and local flora and fauna.
The Ridge section’s parking is across from the abandoned school and next to the current Stafford Family Services. It has a roughly 2 mile loop trail blazed in blue.
From the parking area the trail ascends and approach trail pretty steeply up Tolland Hill. While steep it is certainly well traveled enough to be accessible for most. It crosses a newly built bridge (2020) and soon connects to what must have been the driveway of the Woodlawn estate. Now heavily eroded it continues uphill to reach the main loop.
You’re 0.4 miles into your hike now and meet the loop section of the hike. Continuing left at the fork is a quicker route to the overlook but I took the right fork to hike more of the trail first. The loop follows the old stonewalls of the property and while the trail levels out through the loop the summit of Tolland Hill is off on private property.
The backside of the loop turns to the ridge and follows it back. There is a short side trail to a vernal pool, not much to see but impressive so close to the steep ridge line. Just after is an overlook of the Willimantic River Valley. The view is east making it good for sun or moonrise. From here its a short turn to complete the loop and return to the parking area on the approach trail.
There is a walking path along the river and two sets of man-made falls from an old mill pond next to the road (named the Rhode Island Mill Ponds which become the Willimantic River).
There are tennis courts, ball fields, and a playscape. The town also hold events in the park.
Hyde Park was formerly Julius Converse’s ‘Woodlawn’ estate.
Peter Marteka – Visit Stafford Springs’ Invigorating Woodlawn Trail (2011)
CTMQ – SCC: Woodlawn Trail (2017)
Archived Willimantic River Alliance – Ridge section and River section
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Last updated November 15th, 2021
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