On top of the highest point in America within 25 miles from the east coast sits a castle. I was amped for the hike when I saw it from the highway in the distance, standing tall atop 976’ East Peak – I couldn’t wait to climb up to Castle Craig [999 W Main St Meriden, CT 06451]. The trail to the castle is located within Hubbard Park – a great place for watching ducks in the pond and picnicking before or after your hike.
There are multiple ways to get up to that castle. First of all, I won’t beguile you. If you’re not a hiker you can drive to the top and park to take in the views. However, if you want to get some great exercise – here are ways to access the trail:
+Walk up the paved Reservoir Ave until you see a trail that veers to the left into the woods. There is an island in the reservoir, if you pass that you have gone too far. No trailhead or signage – just follow the white (more meandering slowly) or blue markers (more steep) up to the summit. Plenty of people will assure that you are going the right way.
+From the Mirror Lake entrance there is an actual trailhead and a little parking area. Since Hubbard Park is divided by the highway, there is actually a pedestrian overpass which brings you deeper into the woods. Consider taking this way down to create a loop.
+A third way, which I wouldn’t particularly recommend though I saw many people doing it – is to walk up the paved Reservoir Ave road shared with the cars to get to the top. You have to constantly be aware of vehicles and it disrupts drivers as well on account of the narrow road. The appeal in this method is that the path is paved and direct, therefore easier for some to navigate.
Whichever way you go, the hike is gorgeous in the fall and very popular, the trails are well maintained. There are a few view points along the way, you can even spy the castle at one point.
When you get to the top the crown jewel is the tower standing at 32’, dedicated in 1900.
The views from the top are spectacular.
They stretch throughout Connecticut, to Massachusetts, and the Long Island Sound.
You can spot another fantastic Connecticut hike and understand why it is so aptly named, Sleeping Giant, sleeping on its side.
Good to know:
+Parking is free and ample, whether on the side roads or in Hubbard Park parking lots