East Rock of south-central Connecticut, with a high point of , is a long traprock ridge located on the north side of the city of New Haven. A prominent landscape feature and a popular outdoor recreation area with cliffs that rise over the city below, East Rock is part of the narrow, linear Metacomet Ridge that extends from Long Island Sound near New Haven, north through the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts to the Vermont border.
On the summit of East Rock, clearly visible for miles below, is the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. The monument honors the residents of New Haven who gave their lives in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Civil War.
East Rock is located entirely within the 425-acre (172 ha) East Rock Park, managed by the city of New Haven, which maintains a seasonal automobile road that climbs to the summit of the ridge, a network of trails, an environmental center, and a rose garden. A number of recreation facilities are located at the southwest base of the ridge; these are also managed by the city. The ridge is completely surrounded by the urban neighborhoods of New Haven and its metropolitan extension into south Hamden. East Rock lends its name to the nearby upscale East Rock neighborhood of New Haven, known for its Queen Anne and Victorian architecture. U.S. Route 5 borders the east side of East Rock while Interstate 91 crosses below Snake Rock to the south.
The Metacomet Ridge extends west from East Rock as series of smaller, unnoteworthy traprock outcrops to West Rock Ridge; it extends east over another series of traprock outcrops to Saltonstall Mountain and Peter's Rock. The west side of East Rock drains into the Mill River thence to New Haven Harbor and Long Island Sound; the east side into the Quinnipiac River, thence to New Haven Harbor and Long Island Sound. Both rivers abut the base of the mountain.
East Rock is also an important seasonal raptor migration path.
East Rock Park is open year round to hikers and walkers. The automobile road is open April 1 to November 1, 8 a.m. to sunset and November 1 to March 31, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., weather permitting. Activities permitted in the park include hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, picnicking, bicycling (on roads and city-designated mountain bike trails only), boating (on the Mill River), bird watching, and dog walking. Rock climbing, swimming, and alcoholic beverages are prohibited. A number of hiking trails traverse the ridge, most notably the Giant Steps Trail which ascends to the summit at a near-vertical pitch from the south. At the foot of the mountain are located football, baseball, and soccer fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, and playgrounds. The Trowbridge Environmental Center is open Thursdays and Fridays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and at least one Saturday a month for public programs; it offers displays and information about the geology and ecosystem of East Rock. The Pardee Rose Garden and Greenhouse features roses and other flowering plants from spring to fall, and is a popular place to shoot wedding pictures.
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