Waveny Park was established in 1967 when the estate belonging to Lewis Lapham, one of the founders of Texaco, was sold to the town of New Canaan for $1.5 million. The centerpiece of this 300-acre property is the fantastic 100+ year old tudor-style mansion now known as Waveny House (built 1912). The mansion can be rented for private events, and exterior images were used for All My Children's Cortlandt Manor and The Stepford Wives movie in 2004. I had always heard that it was also featured in the original 1960s TV show Batman as the "statley Wayne Manor", but upon researching I learned that is not true.
The 300-acres which surround the mansion were designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., the son of the architect who designed New York's Central Park. After being purchased by the town, the grounds of the park have been developed for a variety of additional uses, and include several sports facilities, community, arts, and aquatic centers, and the nicest dog park I've ever seen!
About 3.5 miles of trails have been built that are very popular for trail running, jogging, and dog walking (leash required). The stats on this page reflect the outer loop (marked with red trail markers), but there are several possible loops that you can choose as well as the open lawn areas. Check out the "official route" for this hike which illustrates all the established trails in the park.
The wooded areas are generally flat and run primarily along South Avenue (Rte. 124) on the east side of the park and the Merritt Parkway to the south. As a result, the sound of traffic is common. The trails are marked well, and the tread is smooth and generally wide enough for 3-4 people to walk side-by-side. When tree roots penetrate the surface, they are often painted bright orange for visibility and safety. The lawn areas leading up to Waveny House climb gently, and while there are no established trails in the lawn there are no restrictions to where you may walk or run.
The wooded areas are shaded in summer, but leafless in winter. Autumn features a stunning show of typical New England color and might be the best time to enjoy these trails.
Free parking is available in the center of the park near Waveny House as well as at NCHS (not recommended on school days). A variety of spots on the roads around the perimeter of the park offer room for a car or two and short spur trails that connect to the outer loop.
The park is open from sunrise to sunset year round.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.