Hiking in CT – Lover’s Leap State Park

Lover’s Leap is a Connecticut State park located in New Milford along the Housatonic River and straddles the Housatonic Gorge. The history of this park is dark and full of mystery! The signature attraction is the red wrought-iron bridge built in 1895 and one of four iron lenticular truss bridges remaining in Connecticut. It rises 100′ above the rocky gorge below. Don’t look down if you are afraid of heights!

Lovers Leap
This historic bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places

The legend of this park dates back hundreds of years to Native American Princess Lillinonah, the daughter of Chief Waramaug of the Pootatuck Indians. The Chief died in 1735. There are a variety of scenarios of what happened but one says that she fell in love with an Englishman who she married but while he was gone on business she supposedly jumped from the rocks at the top of the mountain when he didn’t return in the time frame expected.  When he returned and learned of her fate he also jumped into the river to be with his love. There are many variations on this story so who knows! Some say she canoed to her death into the ‘Great Falls’ ( now 14′ below the surface of the Housatonic since the construction of the Shepaug Dam) and when he returned he saw her in the rapids and leaped to his death in an attempt to save her.

bridge
Lovers Leap Wrought Iron Bridge

The park has several hiking trails with beautiful views of the Housatonic River and overlooks Lake Lillinonah and a now submerged Goodyear Island named for an early fur trader who traded with the Indian community in this area.

Lake Lillinonah
The LEAP over Lake Lillinonah

Part of this park once was the estate of Catherine Judson Hurd who bequeathed the land to the state for use as a public park. The native Americans occupied this site for over 8,000 years. It’s location was strategic for both observation and signaling.

River
Housatonic River Gorge

Map

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