Chapman Falls, located within Devil's Hopyard State Park in East Haddam, Connecticut, is one of the state's most picturesque waterfalls and a perfect destination for photographers and anyone who'd like to find a scenic gem at the end of a short, easy hike in the great outdoors.
Entrance to the park is free, and from the parking lot just inside the park entrance, it's a short, easy hike to the falls, which cascades 60 feet over water-polished rocks.
While it's a matter of debate how Devil's Hopyard State Park obtained its rather unusual name, the most colorful story directly involves Chapman Falls. According to stories that likely originated with early Connecticut settlers, the "potholes" at the base of the falls were created by the devil when he accidentally dipped his tail in the water. Outraged, the devil hopped all about, leaving indentations with his fiery hooves. We know today, of course, that the potholes actually have a geological explanation. They were formed in places where trapped rocks spun with the current, wearing depressions in the rock.
In addition to visiting Chapman Falls, other activities allowed inside the 940-acre Devil's Hopyard State Park include bicycling, hiking, birding, picnicking and stream fishing. Overnight campsites are available only from mid-April through September 30. Call 860-526-2336 or toll free, 877-668-2267, for camping information and reservations. Swimming in the falls is not permitted, but as you might suspect, there are always a few folks who ignore the "no swimming" signs.
To reach Devil's Hopyard State Park from Hartford, follow Route 91 South to exit 22 for Route 9 South. Take exit 7 and drive east on Route 82 to the center of East Haddam, where you'll pick up Mount Parnassus Road, which becomes Millington Road, then Haywardville Road. Turn right onto Hopyard Road to Devil's Hopyard State Park. The route to the park from East Haddam is well marked with signs.