Gay City State Park – Hebron, CT
Gay City State Park is an excellent trail running route. The red trail ends up being about 6miles long but it allows a lot of bail out trails. My favorite is in the summer running about 3 miles in and cutting down one of the white trails to jump in the lake and jumping back on the trail and finishing up my last 3 miles on the red trail. At the end of my run I would walk back down the road to the swimming lake and hang out for a bit to cool down.
This park gets extremely crowded in the summer and they charge to park in season. If you go late enough though, I believe they stop charging around 5pm. Also, pups aren’t allowed to go swimming in the designated swim spot or the sand area in season. Not the most dog-friendly park in season as it does get crowded.
The isolated hollow on the Blackledge River was first settled by religious leader Elijah Andrus and his followers in 1796. A succession of ill-fated mills marked the town’s history. The first mill built around 1800 and the last burning down in 1879. Village history has also been burdened with tales of community tensions caused by the free use of alcohol during twice weekly religious services and of grisly murders gone unpunished.
Following construction of a sawmill and wool mill, the village became known as Factory Hollow and grew to about 25 families, many of whom bore the surname Gay. The wool mill’s commercial success ended with the War of 1812; the mill burned down in 1830. A paper mill revived the village’s fortunes but it too fell victim to fire, leading to the village’s ultimate demise. The property was sold to the state by one of the town’s last descendants in 1943, at which time the name Gay City was given. A year later the land became a state park as Connecticut’s 54th state park, with 680 acres, in 1946. Source