Devil’s Hopyard State Park is a Connecticut State Park located in East Haddam, Connecticut. This park gets its unique name from two things. First, in the 1800’s a malthouse was present on the farm of a gentleman named George Griffin. It was abandoned, but the farmer still grew hops in an open field on the farm. The second origin of the name comes as an explanation to mysterious natural potholes that pop up around the falls. Some say the devil plays a supernatural role in the creation of these potholes (cue spooky music). According to Puritan folklore the devil was walking along the falls when his tail got wet. This frustrated him so much that he stomped away leaving these potholes with his hooves. Of course, the truth behind these potholes is that over time rocks gets stuck in the falls and the rushing of the water causes the smaller rocks to erode larger rocks over time.
Devil’s Hopyard offers several opportunities for visitors to enjoy the beauty that surrounds them. Hiking, bird watching, fishing, and camping are just a few options available to you. Upon entering the park you can head through a timelessly beautiful covered bridge that perfectly captures the beauty and quaintness of New England.
The campground offers 21 camping sites in a wooded setting and is available from mid-April through the end of September. The camping available is quite primitive with water only accessible by pumping. But don’t let this discourage you. The views and experience are second to none! Other amenities include pedestal cooking grills, picnic shelters, picnic tables, and composting toilets. It might not be glamorous, but it certainly is worth the sacrifice.
The most popular attraction at Devil’s Hopyard is Chapman Falls. This waterfall falls 60 feet and cascades over a series of steps in a Scotland schist formation. Accessing the falls is a quick 5 minute hike, making it the perfect sight for hikers of all skills levels to take in. You’re even welcome to bring your dog as long as it is on a leash. The video below will give you an idea of what the falls look like when they’re in full force. During dry conditions they might slow to a trickle, however, that’s no reason to avoid the park as it is still a great place for a picnic.
Devil’s Hopyard is also a popular destination for budding geologists. Igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks can be found along the main trail, while a range of examples of glacial plucking can be found on the Orange Trail. These unique overhangs were once used by Native Americans for protection from the elements.
If you’re looking for a lovely weekend adventure in Connecticut, check out Devil’s Hopyard Park. You’ll love the serenity and beauty that surrounds you and will likely make it a point to come back year after year to enjoy the view, folklore, and local culture.
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