Sky’s The Limit # 2: Lovers Leap State Park

If you want to check on the hikes that I completed so far as part of this challenge, go here.

Prologue: A hiking challenge is going on this year by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEEP) in the state of Connecticut where I live, “Sky’s The Limit”. We have to finish a hike in the chosen 20 Park and Forest locations before December 3rd this year Each location has some specific points of interest that the departments asks us to take pictures of and document them. Most of the Parks and Forests are located in an hours of driving distance, except a few. I decided to take this challenge and hopefully will be able to complete all of them. Here we go!

Next up is Lovers Leap State Park. This is # 2 on the list provided by DEEP. I am not following the order they have listed. I am just going to any hike I can whenever I can from that list. 🙂

Lovers Leap State Park in the town of New Milford is a 160 acre park steeped in lore, legend and beauty. It is divided into three sections, each showing a different piece of park history. It is a walk-in park with various hiking trails, beautiful locations for bird watching, some fishing, scenic points and historic ruins. As part of the hike we went through one complete section of the park, and a partial portion of another section.

Last year for Fall color photoshoot, me and my friend had been to Lovers Leap State Park; and we loved it very much. Have been meaning to go back during another season to do a similar photoshoot. Due to this hiking challenge, we got to visit the park again making it part of Summer photoshoot.

We began with the historic 1895 Berlin Iron Bridge (restored), one of the four of it’s design still remaining in Connecticut, across Housatonic River.

Just like the Love Lock Bridge or Pont des Arts in Paris, the Lovers Leap Iron Bridge also is a place where lovers attach padlocks to the bridge, so called as love locks. Just like with Pont Des Arts, the Friends of Lovers Leap State Park, Inc. remove these locks from time to time. We noticed that the locks that we saw last year were different from the ones we saw on this hike.

And we went on to the Blue Trail, which was oddly labeled as Brown Trail on the map, aka Waramaug Loop. An easy hike that goes to the tip of the state park before looping back by the banks of Lake Lillinonah into which Housatonic River flows.

We came across these ruins of Indian Spring House on this trail.

We took the Lovers Leap Park Road Trail after finishing the Waramaug Loop, heading towards Tea House Trail. A scenic vista point at one of the bends of this trail overlooks the Lake Lillinonah. Historically it is said that Pootatuck Indian Chief Waramaug’s daughter, Princess Lillinonah, and her lover plunged to their deaths. Sad story for such a beautiful view of the lake and the mountains far.

From here the Hurd Estate Trails are not far off consisting of four different trails – Tea House Trail; Castle Loop Trail; Falls Mountain Trail; and Hurd Trail. We did only two of the four, as we couldn’t find clear trail markers for the remaining two for us to continue.

The Tea House Trail takes us to the historic ruins of a tea house owned by Catherine Judson Hurd. At least we think these are the ruins, as we couldn’t see anything else closer to that location on the map that resembles the ruins.

Further up if we followed, we might have gone on to Falls Mountain Trail. We went a little further, as we were hearing sound of a waterfall. But as we went further in the trail markers disappeared and we didn’t want to risk ourselves getting lost. So we looped back to Castle Loop Trail.

We knew there were some kind of ruins there, but didn’t expect to see this magnificent and tall chimney. The chimney along with a bit of foundation was all that was left of Catherine Judson Hurd’s Castle.

Across from the Castle ruins there are ruins of a turret.

One more significant location on the trail I want to mention is this White Trail that you come across while walking from the paved parking lot to the Iron Bridge. If you get a chance, don’t miss following this trail for a beautiful view of the iron bridge in its entirety on Housatonic River.

The walk to the Iron Bridge also provides several interpretive signs along the way showing the history and highlights of Lovers Leap State Park.

Finally, a few pictures of my friend who accompanied me on this hike, and helped me complete it as part of the challenge.

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