Wadsworth Falls State ParkMiddlefield/Middletown, CT
Enjoy hiking or biking 4.5 miles of varied trails or explore the park’s namesake falls. For a longer stay, head to the park’s designated swimming and picnic area, fish the cold waters of the Coginchaug River, and relax beneath great hemlocks and noble oak where nature provides her own air conditioning.
Wadsworth Falls was designated as a park in 1942. Please note that swimming and picnicking are prohibited at the Big Falls — it is an area intended for short visits to view the scenic falls.
721 Wadsworth Street
Middlefield/Middletown, CT 06457
(8:00 a.m. – Sunset)
Main (860) 345-8521
The youngest rocks in Connecticut lie in the central part of the state. Wadsworth Falls State Park is made up of those young rocks, only about 200 million years old. About 250 million years ago all of Earth's land made up one huge continent called Pangea. It began to break up about that time, with large pieces of continental crust moving in various directions. What is now North America broke away from present-day Europe and Africa. As this occurred, tension fractures formed in the land, such as happen if you try to stretch cookie dough or modeling clay. Two such fractures formed in central Connecticut, allowing a long narrow valley to drop below the level of the surrounding land.
Sediments from the surrounding highlands washed into the basin. Deep fractures formed in some places and lava flowed up to the surface from the upper mantle. Three such lava flows filled the valley and covered the surrounding uplands. In between the flows, sediments continued to flow into the still dropping valley. We now have a pile of sedimentary rock (made from the sediments), lava flow, sedimentary rock, lava flow, sedimentary rock, lava flow, sedimentary rock. Finally, the eastern side of the valley dropped faster than the western side, so now the rocks all dip toward the east. Over the intervening 200 million years, the higher uplands have eroded down so they are now much lower than they were and the basalts have all been eroded off of them. Basalts are now found only in the valley, where their lower elevation protected them from erosion.
Rock Types Found on Main Trail:
Igneous (Basalt), Sedimentary (Arkose)
Hampden Basalt (Jurassic): dark gray, orange- to brown weathering basalt; Portland Arkose (Jurassic): reddish-brown arkose (sandstone)
Interesting Geologic Features:
Differential weathering, Cross-bedding, Columnar basalt, Basalt vesicles, Two basalt flows
FREE – In-State Registered Vehicles
$10 – Out-of-State Vehicles (Weekdays)
$15 – Out-of-State Vehicles (Weekends/Holidays)
$112 – Out-of-State Vehicles (Season Pass)
Yes, on leash (except beach)