Haystack Mountain in Norfolk CT stands out from other hikes with its with its tower situated on its peak, at a 1683 ft elevation. When you climb the tower, if you are anything like me, you will have to drag yourself up the steep rounded steps for, I believe, two stories and then complete the climb on some standard metal stairs, but you will soon see the climb was worth it. You get a 360 degrees panoramic veiw that will take your breath away, once you catch it.
The park is open to drive into seasonally, with a several areas to pull in, park and even picnic. We braved this a few weeks ago during a cold spell and had to park along the gate and start the hike from outside of the park. There is room for about 4-6 cars legally parked, but the cars parked along to big “Do Not Block Gate” sign seemed undisturbed when we got back to our legally parked car. We are from NYC. We don’t take any chances with parking.
We seemed to miss the entry to the trail on the way up, presumably because the snow was pretty thick where you were supposed to branch off and we hiked along the main road. Also, we did not have this map printed. The views were nice along the 1.27 miles of the road, but I would not recommend hiking the windy road in the seasons it is open to traffic. At the top where the road ends, you will find and entrance that brings you to the Haystack Tower loop trail. We did not go all the way around since it would only loop us back to where we are, rather than the car, but the trail we hiked was very rocky with a few steep points made more interesting by the black ice. Even in the bitter cold, even my children were happy with the hike. I plan to go back in the fall to see the foliage and hike the full loop.
Like always, after our hike, we were ready to eat. We found a local spot that had tasty food and a small town charm, Wood Creek Bar and Grill. I ordered the cowboy burger medium. It was delicious, but was more like well done. We ate inside as it was literally freezing out, but the outdoor seating looked relaxing. It would be the perfect setting for a lazy afternoon brunch. The inside had a small bar with some tables, and a back room, a little larger with several tables. There were several shelves with books scattered around. We chose the table with the Edgar Allen Poe Anthology. I would visit them again.
Let me know what you think of Haystack mountain especially if you hike the yellow tags trail. I’d like to know what that is like since it is in the opposite direction. Let me know if you stopped to eat.
As always, Happy Hiking!