Any and all skill levels will enjoy this 1.1-mile loop along the Mount Tom Mountain Range for its success in delivering some of the best views of Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York around.
What Makes It Great
Even on a cloudy day, the 360-degree view of Connecticut, Mount Everett in Massachusetts and the Catskills of New York is spectacular. On the clearest of days with a good pair of binoculars, parts of Long Island can be seen from this castle-top.
After you take in views from the tower, head back down to the swimming and picnic area for a dip in Mount Tom Pond. It’s a moderately sized beach with plenty of room for sandcastles and stretching out. In the summer, you’ll hear the chatter of the campers across the pond spending their summer at Camp Chinqueka. Convenient changing rooms and bathrooms are also available on site.
Who is Going to Love It
The whole family can make it up this mild hike with the proper water and snack provisions, but it’s also a lovely trip for the most experienced of travelers. Follow the Yellow Trail from the parking lot south of the main entrance up to the 34-foot tall observation tower. Though the way there is entirely uphill, it’s not necessarily too steep or challenging, but be sure to pay attention to the yellow blazes. There are a few moments of washout in the trail depending on the season, but there are obvious bypasses that quickly reconnect you to the main trail. After a short hike up, the castle, which was originally built in 1922, awaits you. Watch your head as you climb the wooden steps up three flights to the roof—the ceiling is low and over eager climbers may get a swift bump to the head. Please note that at the top of the peak, there are several, unmarked offshoots of the trail. Be careful to follow the yellow blaze back down and keep an eye on children once you summit.