Mill River Trail

Created for the City of New Haven Planning Office, the Mill River Trail is a park to unite the city.
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This master plan brings to fruition a long-standing public desire to create a linear park from East Rock to the harbor, following the Mill River through diverse areas of the city, from parkland to private residences to the underbelly of highway bridges — a park to unite all of New Haven.

The Mill River runs directly through the center of New Haven, connecting East Rock to the Harbor on Long Island Sound. Created for the City of New Haven Planning office, the Mill River Trail Framework envisions a linear park that provides a corridor for circulation, recreation, education programs, and wildlife habitat. The Trail repositions the Mill River as an asset that reconnects the city to its natural resources, reunites residents with each other and with the history of the city’s founding, and knits perforations in the city’s fabric caused by previous development efforts.

A consistent and recognizable trail helps orient visitors and helps to champion care and respect of the site. The success of the trail depends on its local appeal, requiring engagement with adjacent communities and neighbors from the start as it traverses both public and private landholdings. The more people who use the trail, the safer it will be, with clear sightlines and lighting that help people feel safe and enhance the character of the site. The design, programming, and enhancement of the trail increase the value of civic landscapes for the entire city and help augment investment in parks and surrounding properties. In addition, these measures raise the profile and appeal of New Haven as it joins other American cities that enjoy robust linear park systems adding to the beauty, health and investment of urban centers.

The trail will be an amenity for all members of the community, from Fair Haven to East Rock and Wooster Square. Due to limited resources, however, philanthropy and public private partnership will be responsible for most of the park’s construction. Thus, the master plan sets the City’s vision for what will be built by others over what may be many years.


New Haven, Connecticut




100 acres (linear park)