Red Dragon  LbNA # 3047 (ARCHIVED)

Placed DateDec 31 1969
CountyNew London
LocationEast Lyme, CT
Found By butterfly
Last Found Jul 14 2007
Hike Distance?

Red Dragon
Note: I'm sorry to report that the Red Dragon letterbox - which has been a very popular box for several years - appears to have gone missing.


There is a small cave at Rocky Neck. It is called Baker's Cave. An adult will have to stoop over to enter the cave, but once inside there is room to stand up (barely). That's about it.

Nevertheless, I thought it was interesting enough to be deserving of a letterbox.

Location: Rocky Neck State Park, East Lyme, CT.
Terrain: Easy (bring a flashlight for the cave).
Clues: Easy.
Time: A half hour from West Beach Bathhouse following clue for "main entrance" ...OR... two hours following clue for "secondary entrance" with a longer tour of the park.

DIRECTIONS: To reach Rocky Neck State Park, from I-95 take Exit 72, which is the Rocky Neck Connector. At the end is the junction with Route 156. To use the main entrance, turn left on Route 156, then look for the park entrance on your right. During off-season (after Labor Day, until Memorial Day) you can enter at the main entrance without paying a fee.

During summer (Memorial Day through Labor Day) you can avoid the fee by using a secondary entrance. At the end of the connector, turn right on Route 156. Park in an unmarked lot which is on your left at the top of the hill, across from a campground.

If entering through the main entrance, follow the road to the beach parking area, and park near the West Beach Bathhouse. There is a large trail map on the west side of the West Beach Bathhouse. If entering from the secondary entrance, there is a similar trail map at the start of the trail. (Neither of these maps shows the location of the cave - the only map to show the cave is the map behind the Pavilion.)

CLUES (main entrance): From the West Beach Bathhouse, follow the two-lane paved road (not the main entrance road) that leads north away from the parking areas. Walking in the right lane, pass the trailhead of the red trail on your right....

CLUES (secondary entrance): Enter on the blue trail. Pass a green trail junction on your right. When you come to a junction with the red trail (Bride Brook), take the red (165°), then keep right to follow the red (Pavilion) at 180°. Pass a junction where the blue trail joins in again (Shipyard), continuing with the red (Pavilion). The red trail joins with the blue again for a little way, then splits off again to the left. At the end of the red trail, it meets a two-lane paved road. Turn right onto the paved road....

The RED DRAGON Letterbox: Walk along the paved road with a low stone wall, trees, and mountain laurel on your right until you come to a break in the trees and low stone steps leading through a break in the wall. Enter and climb up the rocks straight ahead. The entrance to the cave is at the most obvious opening in the rock cliff in front of you. The Red Dragon Letterbox is to the right (north) of the cave entrance. Follow closely along the cliff, passing a low-hanging beech. Look in the crevice between three large boulders.

The RETURN: Return to the paved road, turning right onto it, and follow it to the trailhead of the blue trail on your right. (Just past it is the trailhead of the yellow trail, which is the overlook trail that eventually joins the blue again.) This is the most direct way back to the secondary entrance.

BUT.... To see more of the park, instead follow the right branch of the paved road towards the Pavilion. This roads brings you to the back of the magnificent Ellie Mitchell Pavilion. If the Pavilion is closed, peek in through the windows to see the unusual tree trunk pillars. These were taken, a few each, from all the state parks that existed at the time the Pavilion was built, between 1934 and 1937. Walk across the porch at the front of the Pavilion, and follow a path that winds down to cross in front of the Pavilion below the porch, bringing you to the beach. The first tunnel under the railroad tracks will bring you to the West Beach Bathhouse. Instead walk along the boardwalk, and then go through the second tunnel where a wooden walkway takes you over the brook that flows through the tunnel. Follow the sidewalk past the East Beach Bathhouse and through the first parking lot. Now turn right and follow the road across the parking lot to where there are two observation decks overlooking the marsh. To the left of the observation decks, at the northwest corner of the parking lot is the trailhead of a red trail (but not the same red trail that you came in on). Follow this trail to cross a wooden bridge over the marsh. At the intersection with the white trail, turn right onto the white. Follow the white trail to its end, then follow a paved roadway uphill paralleling Route 156 to your parking lot at the secondary entrance.

Note: The Drew Family's wonderful Resolution letterbox is also at this park.

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