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Friends of Machimoodus & Sunrise State Parks embraces the rich history of this land and aims to further enhance the properties. This combined 443 acre jewel offers an oasis of tranquility and solitude, as well as endless possibilities for hikers, bikers, photographers, bird watchers, horse riders and all who enjoy the beauty of nature.
We work cooperatively with the park supervisor and our local representatives to identify opportunities to enhance the parks for all visitors. Officially formed in 2016, we have already coordinated a successful Eagle Scout project to install new trail markers on the Machimoodus side and helped to establish kayak and canoe access on the Salmon River on the Sunrise side. Long range goals include sponsored programs and activities, solar-composting outhouses and improvements to the gardens and picnic areas.
Machimoodus State Park
128 Leesville Road, Moodus CT
Machimoodus State Park is comprised of 300 acres of scenic open space adjacent to Sunrise State Park, making this an extraordinary destination for the outdoor enthusiast. One of the most noteworthy points of Machimoodus is the summit of Mount Tom. At 314 feet above sea level, it offers two beautiful vistas overlooking the cove where Salmon and Moodus rivers meet, with views of the Connecticut River. A network of three ponds nestled near the park entrance, surrounded by acres of fields and wildflower meadows, make this an ideal location not only for hikers, picnickers and dog walkers, but birds and butterflies as well. Four and a half miles of old farm roads and trails make this a favorite for equestrians, too. It is not unusual to catch a glimpse of a horse-drawn carriage.
Once known as Echo Farm, the property was the playground of industrialist Ray Schmitt before being purchased in 1998 by the State of Connecticut. The State’s 2009 acquisition of the Sunrise property immediately to the north provides a unique, contiguous recreational area with unlimited opportunities to enjoy nature.
Sunrise State Park
121 Leesville Road, Moodus CT
Opened in 1916 as Ted Hilton’s Hideaway, this 143 acre property along the Salmon River was home to the Frank Davis Resort and more recently Sunrise Resort, which closed in 2008. At their peak, these booming summer get-away hotspots could house up to 500 guests at a time and were known for their theme weeks, parties, live music and excellent family atmosphere. Over the years, countless Connecticut residents have either visited or worked at these resorts or the renowned eclair factory. Remnants of some of the buildings remain visible as the land is allowed to return to its natural state.
The State of Connecticut purchased the property in 2009, protecting over 4700 feet of frontage along the Salmon River. Kayak and canoe access to the river along the old paved resort road was opened in 2016. Trails run along the river and up through the forest, connecting to the network of trails at Machimoodus. The entire area is an important landscape for migrating waterfowl, seasonal song birds, butterflies and bald eagles. In 2016, there were even reported salmon sightings in the river, which once had been teeming with them.