Distance: 2.3 miles
Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Map: Haystack Mountain State Park
Parking: Directions During the winter, the park road is closed with a gate. The gate has signs - no parking, and don't block the gate. I parked on the park road, as much to the side of the gate as I could. By the time we left, there were 2 more cars parked there, one blocking the gate. So, room for 2-3 cars only, in the winter. The park road is off of Route 272 in Norfolk, CT. There are signs for Haystack Mountain before you reach the road.
Post hike dinner: Jewel of Himalaya
Directions: If you park right at the beginning of the park road, look for the sign for the Haystack Tower Loop Trail, to the right of the paved road. It is a yellow blazed trail. Where the yellow trail splits (yellow goes both straight and to the right), stay straight. Where the yellow trail splits again (yellow goes both left and straight), stay straight. Arrive at the tower. You can walk up the tower any time of year. It is a nice sturdy stone tower (I'm not fond of climbing metal/wood fire towers). There are mountain views from the top of the tower. There is an interesting sign next to the fire tower about someone who wanted to prove that the Encyclopedia at the time was incorrect in stating that there were no peaks in CT above 1,000 feet.
There is a loop that goes around the tower. We had to go around the loop once before we found the yellow trail continuation. Make sure not to take the yellow trail the way you came up, and you'll be good. Descending on the yellow trail felt strange. It felt like we were spiraling, but never crossed the trail we did going up. We kept spiraling clockwise, following the yellow blazes. Eventually we stopped spiraling, and could see route 272 to our left. The trail approaches but doesn't cross Route 272. Continue along the yellow trail until you hit a T intersection with the same yellow trail. Turn left and continue to the starting point.
Notes: This hike is moderately easy. There is elevation gain, but nothing very difficult. We did hit a lot of snow descending the north side of the mountain.
Year to date miles: 24.9
|Parking in front of the gate|
|Sign at the beginning of the trail (to the right of the gate)|
|Haystack Mountain tower|
|Trek & Moxie, summit photo|
|Views from the tower|
|Fire tower ceiling|
|Lots of snow on the way down. The dogs enjoyed it, but we were post holing, almost up to my knees in spots.|