Since childhood, my love of the outdoors has always been a part of me. And as an adult, I hope to share that passion with my own children.
So, I offered this challenge to my family, to join me in exploring the hidden treasures and more popular gems Connecticut and the surrounding region have to offer. From hiking to biking to kayaking, I hope my window into the outside world inspires you to explore as well.
MT. TOM STATE PARK
“I want to see where the princess lives.”
It’s a secret wish that one young hiker told her mother recently on their visit to Mt. Tom in Litchfield. It’s the type of story that fellow hikers often share with one another while on the trail. And as a mom myself, I can relate.
This state park has all the elements of a fairy tale – a beautiful sparkling pond, a meandering trail through the deep woods, and a stone tower atop a small mountain.
Established in 1915, Mt. Tom is one of the oldest parks in the state system. It touches three towns: Litchfield, Washington, and Morris where the tower looms more than 1300 feet above sea level.
During the summer season, visitors pay an entrance fee to the park. But, with a beach open to swimmers and kayakers, you can make a day of it.
My kids and I had a different plan in mind. Our mission was to get to the top of the mountain for that one-of-a-kind bird’s eye view.
The trail to get there is a rocky one, but fun to tackle. It also climbs quickly, rising some 500 feet by the time you get to the top.
There are few spots near the summit where you can see the promise of a captivating view. But, be careful not to wander too far. There are no rails in place and the drop is a big one.
Forging ahead, we rounded a corner and glimpsed the stone fortress through swaying trees. Set against a backdrop of blue sky, it is an impressive sight. But, not as impressive as the view from above.
We only had to climb three flights of wooden steps before reaching the open-air platform (just keep an eye out for the low stone ceiling on the last few steps).
Once we got our bearings, we took the time to drink it all in. A light breeze cooled us off as we gazed upon the rolling hills and the shimmer of Mount Tom Pond far below. The stillness of the place was just as mesmerizing keeping us quite content for a few minutes longer.
Alas, there are no princesses living here - but I sure felt like one. And, with a view like this, how could I not?
Directions: Take I-84 W toward Waterbury/Danbury. Take Exit 20 to merge onto CT-8 N toward Torrington. Take Exit 38 toward US-6 W/CT-109/CT-254/Thomaston. Turn left onto Waterbury Rd. Continue onto CT-254 N. Turn left onto CT-118 W/East St. Slight left onto East St. Turn right onto South St. Turn left onto East St. Continue onto US-202 W/West St. Turn left into the park.
Trail Distance: 1.25 miles
Trail Difficulty: Easy