Mountain in Norfolk, CT
has a magnificent stone fire tower
that provides some of the finest
views in all of Connecticut. If
you love to hike for the views,
then you'll have to get up there
if you haven't been already.
Haystack is a state park that sees
quite a bit of traffic from
out-of-towners and locals, alike.
Summer weekends and peak fall
foliage week are the most popular
days but it's not hard at all to
find a day where you'll have the
place to yourself more or less.
The park system maintains a paved
road from the park entrance to
nearly the top of Haystack.
However, the road seems to be
closed often and I suspect that
it's to keep car traffic down and
encourage folks to walk or ride a
bike rather than pollute the scene
with fossil fuels. Even when the
road is closed, the hike up to the
top isn't bad at all and people of
all ages who are in decent walking
shape will have no problem.
However, I don't want to make it
seem like it's an easy hike if
you're someone who hasn't hiked in
a long time or aren't in the best
of shape. At the end of the paved
road, the trail dips into the
forest and there is a short but
very steep hike up to the tower.
The tower has a circular stair
system that winds up the 35 foot
stone tower. If you're in great
shape this hike is easy and if
you're not in great shape it's
still very doable if you take your
time and rest along the way. The
paved road walk is serene and
quiet with tall hardwoods, a
picturesque pond, and couple of
decent overviews to break up the
trek to the tower.
Once you reach the end of the
paved road you'll notice a dirt
trail heading into the woods.
Those of you who are very tired at
this point or not used to climbing
up?...you have a decision to make.
It's still a good little climb to
the tower. Depending upon your
conditioning, your hike could take
between 15 and 30 minutes to get
to the tower. Though a short
distance away, it's a much steeper
climb than the paved road section.
This might be a good place to have
a rest, eat, and fuel up for part
two of the hike. But I would
suggest heading back to the car if
you or someone in your group is
very tired and concerned about
continuing on. For those
continuing on, the dirt trail to
the tower is clearly marked and
well maintained so you won't have
any problem following it. It's a
little rocky in some parts so just
watch your step in these sections.
The dirt trail to the tower
initially goes straight for a good
bit and gives the impression that
you may have gone the wrong way or
lost the tower trail but soon
you'll see that it doubles back to
the left and begins to head
straight up. Just keep following
the trail and eventually the tower
looms large and marks the end of
your hike. I promise that the
views will be worth the hike!
the center of Norfolk, CT take
Route 272 north and very short
distance after getting on 272 is
the entrance to Haystack on the
left side of the road. Drive
slowly as you could pass right by
easily. Call ahead if you hope to
drive to the top as they close the
road often: Official
version of the Haystack
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