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Mt. Tom State Park in Litchfield, CT is a very short hike, but it's been included it for two reasons.  First, the view from atop Mount Tom is one of the best in the state.  There is a 34 foot stone tower on top of Mount Tom which yields a 360 degree view of the surrounding area and distant landmarks.  Massachusetts, New York, and a large part of Connecticut are seen from here.  On an extremely clear day, Long Island and the outskirts of New York City are in view with a good pair of binoculars. ..100 miles away (but this is extremely rare).  The wooden steps are a little steep in the tower and you need to watch your head has you come out the top.  Also, for those of you who are afraid of heights, go slowly as you emerge from the top of the tower.  There are no railings to hold onto and the outside walls are short.  A person can easily be scared if they walk right up to the edge and look over.  Don't let this stop you however.  (I, too, am nervous around sheer drop-offs but I just stood back from the edge and I fully enjoyed a grand view.)  This is a great spot!  The second reason for visiting this short hike is because of Mount Tom Pond.  The pond is spring fed so the waters are clear, clean, and crisp.  Great for cooling off after a short but hearty hike.  There's picnic tables for lunch or a cookout.  Mt Tom is a nice place if you don't want to exert yourself too much and just take in some of nature's highlights.  But it's not an area that offers extensive hiking trails. During the summer months there is a small admissions fee to get into the park. But sometimes if you tell them you're just interested in hiking up the tower and don't plan to picnic or swim in the park they'll let the fee slide...sometimes.

Also, even though the hike to the tower is not long, it's steep and if you're not in decent walking shape please take it slow. And when you get to the top it's worth mentioning that a few side trails go off to the right through some thick brush. These lead to an overlook but it's a sheer dropoff here and potentially dangerous if you're not paying attention If you're with children don't let them venture into this area alone...and keep them back from the ridge when you get there.

After visiting Mt. Tom State Park take a ride north on Route 202 and head up towards Bantam and Litchfield. At the main traffic light in Bantam, take a right towards Bantam Lake and just keep baring to the left as you'll go around the shores of Bantam Lake and into Litchfield center eventually. Or just head straight up to the center of Litchfield for a glimpse of a classic New England town. There's a nice mixture of colonial history and modern world here. Shops, markets, restaurants, museums, art galleries, and historical buildings are all within walking distance.

Directions: Mount Tom State Park is located on Rt 202 a few miles south of Bantam center.  If you're coming from the south via New Milford/Danbury area, Mt Tom is a 1/2 mile north of the Rt 341 and 202 junction. Mt. Tom: (860) 868-2592   official website: http://dep.state.ct.us/stateparks/parks/mounttom.htm

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