Talcott Mountain State Park is home to numerous trails for all skill levels with views of the Farmington River Valley. The Yellow trail, which is the most popular path, is a short 1.25 miles up to the 165-foot-tall, historic Heublein Tower, but it offers a mild cardio push with a steady climb for the initial half-mile. Though Yellow is enjoyable for hikers of all skill sets, more experienced adventurers have access to parts of the 51-mile Metacomet Blue trail or The Scenic View Blue/Red Metacomet Alternate route which loops to a trailhead east of the main parking lot.
What Makes It Great
From the Heublein Tower which was built for Gilbert F. Hueblein in 1914 as a summer retreat, you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views that provide glimpses as far as New Hampshire’s Mount Monadnock about eighty miles away. To the South, Long Island Sound is a thin strip of blue along the horizon.
The tower museum is open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Weekend, Thursday through Sunday. Labor Day Weekend through October, it’s open seven days a week. Museum or no museum, the views and numerous picnicking spots make the trip up to the top worth your efforts. On a sunny day in spring, the green leaves of the birch trees at the summit will shimmer like sequins. Fun Fact: to the left of the tower, just before the picnic area, you’ll find a sign which indicates the intersection of three towns: Avon, Bloomfield, and Simsbury, Connecticut. A nice opportunity to be in three places at once.
If you’re feeling adventurous on the way back down, veer to the left down an unmarked-yet-obvious, thinner trail that runs parallel to the Yellow Trail—it creeps along the ridge, allowing for spectacular views and bird sightings along a more intimate path until it connects with the main drag about a half mile later.
Who is Going to Love It
Though there is a subtle-yet-steady incline at the hike’s outset, this is a family-friendly hike with ample bench seating on the way up and a few resting points with a view. (Also a plus: There are compostable toilets at the hike’s beginning and summit). About halfway up, stop for a water break overlooking Simsbury and parts of Avon, Connecticut. It’s the perfect spot for a snack before the path flattens out to a leisurely stroll and the final push to the nearly 1,000-foot high promontory. The hard part is over, take it all in.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The best time to hit the Yellow Trail is a weekday morning if you can swing it—the likelihood of running into crowds is minimal whereas, on a weekend, parking, which is found directly off of Summit Ridge Drive in Bloomfield, is less favorable. But as is true in most hiking scenarios, the early bird catches the proverbial worm. Open sunrise to sundown.