CT: New Haven County- Meriden-Giuffrida Park

The first time I went to this park it was on a whim.

Oftentimes I’m headed to one place and then seek to fit one more adventure in since I feel I have previously overlooked all Connecticut has to offer.

This was how I encountered Giuffrida park. I have since learned it’s a top choice for many as it has a short hike option with big rewards!

While there are several trails offered, I had read about Chauncey Peak and the overlook so that was my goal. I liked the idea of this hike as it is a 2.7 mile loop (as opposed to an out and back on the same route).

Chauncey Peak

From the lot facing the kiosk, I chose to go to the right to start the ascent up to the peak. You could choose to go left first which is starting on the easier part of the route and then the ascent. I liked the idea of getting the harder part of the hike done first. In other words I went counter clockwise around the lake in the map below. The ascent is along the right side of the lake.

Trail Map

I noticed there was a walking stick ready and waiting at the start of the trail and accepted that gift kindly as it definitely made the hike easier.

Be Present Gift of the Day

As you reach the top there is a stone working quarry on the right. At first I thought it was the overlook. Certainly impressive on its own but not what I had in my minds eye. I later learned the quarry owns Chauncey peak and has supported its continuing to be a public hiking option. I would suggest going before this has any risk of changing.

York Hill Trap Rock Quarry

I continued along the hike and ultimately reached the peak. The overlook displayed crescent lake below and the forest and mountains above it.

The rest of this blog and pictures is more of a story of this visit with my friend so I will share first a bit about the park itself.

Giuffrida Park was acquired by the town in 1965 and named for a local well known and loved physician, Dr. Francis Giuffrida. Chauncey peak rises to 688 feet and is a traprock mountain that’s part of the Metacomet ridge. Complete trails in this park distance approx. 24 miles.

I had returned to this park with my friend and recognizing it was close to sunset we paused at the peak.


Please recognize there is no barrier. Please stay clear of the edges and avoid selfies. Selfie accidents on hikes are on the rise.

As we started our descent we were mesmerized by the sunset and the views. One more picture . . . a few more steps . . . Another picture . . . a few more steps . . . and the sun continues to fall.

At this point we had to start going down as we didn’t have a flashlight. As we made our way further down the mountain we would get deeper into the woods and in turn it got much darker very quickly since minimal light could get through the trees.

And then it started. . . We heard the howling of coyotes.

At first we heard just one and then the others followed as if they were singing in a chorus. We suddenly had a jump in our step and started to joke with nervous laughter. I felt the need to put the video on in acceleration mode to record our decent partially as I need to keep myself busy and distracted.

Fortunately choosing the steep part of the hike first at least gave us the ability to eventually get to the flat part of the trail around the lake. Please know that we were walking fast not jogging or running which is what you should do if you fear animals around. Below pictures were from a different day so you can see the ease of the trail on the return going counter clockwise.

We finally got down safely with moments when we truly were frightened by the howling. We encountered a park ranger at the base who confirmed our fears of bears, coyotes and snakes. His recommendation to us is to carry a flashlight and a noise maker should we choose to hike at sunset again as well as keeping hold of the stick to distract an animal if needed.

Back at the base!

This is an awesome and fulfilling hike in CT. Don’t let the coyotes story discourage you just learn from it and ensure to carry appropriate gear and know the rules of hiking.

Trailhead parking: Physician Francis Giuffrida Park- 800 Westfield Road, Meriden, CT 06450

Sign up to receive new postings on outdoor adventures, tips and moments of inspiration!

Published by Belinda Sheets

This is a non-promotional blog. I am not a photographer nor am I selling anything through this blog. Professionally I am a Business Transformation Specialist focused on gaining efficiencies and reducing costs for major corporations. Recent life experiences made me better appreciate the present and all that can be seen by increasing my focus and attention on my surroundings. I always enjoyed going out and exercising and I would look but I did not see as my attention was on resolving some problem. Captured through pictures and sharing insights about various locations, I hope others can enjoy my research and insights and allow themselves to pause a few moments and truly appreciate and learn new things. When you follow me that is my only gift. To know I have touched you enough to want to follow the blog. Respectfully (Stay Safe), Belinda Sheets Business Transformation professional with interests in photography, hiking, bicycling and kayaking and learning how to be present.

One thought on “CT: New Haven County- Meriden-Giuffrida Park

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: