There are many gorgeous places to hike and explore in Connecticut and every year I try to visit at least one. Last summer my boyfriend and I hiked Talcott Mountain State Park, home to Heublein Tower. This beautiful park was bred from an interesting past.
In 1914, Gilbert Heublein owned what is now known as Talcott Mountain and built Heublein Tower at its highest peak. This tower was a gift to his fiancé whom he had promised he’d build her a castle upon the mountain. During this time World War I was raging on and the United States government became suspicious of Heublein tower. Due to the Tower being so secluded and at the top of a mountain, rumors spread that Hublein was being used to assist German ships off the coast; providing them with top secret information about the locations of U.S ships. Of course, no such thing was occurring. To prove this to the US government and set them at ease, Heublein offered to give his land and the tower to the government; however, they declined the offer. After being owned (1948-1950) by the radio station, The Hartford Times, the land was turned into Talcott Mountain State Park. The park is now open to the public for hiking and Heublein Tower still remains in excellent condition, albeit it’s been renovated and rebuilt many times. It sits as a museum and work of art open to hikers who can make it to the top.
While hiking at Talcott Mountain State Park one becomes surrounded by the wonders of Mother Nature. Trees tower above you as you ascend the steep, dirt pathways and wind whispers through your hair as you stand at the edge of the many cliffs alongside. The views are breathtaking and it seems like you can see forever. In the distance you can hear dogs barking, cars on the roads below, and gunshots coming from the nearby state police gun range. Amongst the noises of below, you can hear birds chirping, dragon flies buzzing, and occasionally an owl (depending on the time of day). While hiking up the mountain you may come across some curious wildlife such as birds, rabbits, and if you’re lucky, a fox. While hiking we had the amazing experience of seeing an owl. He was a Barred Owl with grey, black, and white feathers. As we walked along the paths back down to our car the owl seemed to lead us; flying a few hundred feet ahead, perching, then flying ahead once more when we got close. It was an experience I will never forget!
The best part of Talcott Mountain State Park is the atmosphere. It’s calm, welcoming, and peaceful. A great place to hike, meditate, and explore. The tower is also an amazing site. It rises 165 feet above your head and one must ascend 110 steps to reach the top observation room. At its base is a house containing numerous rooms you can explore. Once you climb to the top of the tower to the observation room you can look out windows and see a 360° view of the world around you. From the tower you can see Farmington Valley, West Hartford, and the Hartford Skyline. It’s breathtaking! If you like to hike and experience nature, Talcott Mountain State Park is the place for you!
For more information and directions please visit the link(s) below.