Hartford County Highpoint Trip Report

"Hartland Hill" (1,398+ ft)

Date: January 18, 2004
Author: Dave Covill

This is a modest walk on a good forest road, followed by a very short bushwhack in scrub brush. It was very cold, about fifteen maybe, and blowing perhaps 10 mph. Hartland Hill, as I have dubbed it, is about a half mile from MA, and about a quarter mile east of the Litchfield CT County line. It is within a small, perhaps 1 square mile, area of Hartford County which protrudes west into Litchfield territory. Odd. Previous reports mentioned going in via West Hartland on West, Old Forge, and Dish Mill roads. I was unable to find a sign for West Road in what passed for the center of West Hartland, which may have consisted of several buildings, but was unsigned. I give an alternate route which worked just fine for me.

From the MA turnpike, Exit # 3 for Westfield, zero odometer and go south through Westfield on route 202 towards CT. At the outskirts of Granby in CT at mile 15, turn right (west) onto route 20, and pass through East Hartland and enter the Tunxis State Forest. Proceed to mile 32 in West Hartland. As I said above, Iím not sure exactly where West Hartland was. I went past it about a mile westward to prominent Mill Street, a right hand paved road heading north. Zero odometer. At 1.1 miles, as the road comes down to near a creek and curves to the right and uphill towards the northeast, turn left (west) onto a paved road which crosses a large bridge right there and proceeds uphill. There are signs for Hartland Pond. I forget the name of the road, but it had "Mill" in it, I think. Sorry. Pass by Hartland Pond, prominently signed to keep out as per a private club. At mile 2.3, you reach the intersection of this road and Dish Mill Road coming in from the right (east). This is where you meet back up with the route intended by authors Mike, Denis, Scott, and Dan. Continue straight ahead (north) to 2.5 miles, where you reach a heavy metal gate and a sign for the Tunxis Wildlife Management Area. Turn right into the small dirt parking area. There was maybe 6 inches of snow everywhere, and I was concerned about being able to extricate my rental Ford Windstar van from a downhill lie, in golfers parlance, so I was overjoyed to follow an orange county plow truck all the way from route 20 to here. The fellow even turned into the parking area to clear a spot for me. This leads me to believe that they plow this route all winter long, and thus barring a storm, it is good to know that it would be accessible all year round. Cool.

From the gate, follow the good dirt road north on foot perhaps 0.25 mile, to where it trends downhill, and there is a large left-hand turn available. Go left (west) here, heading towards the southern slope of Hartland Hill. This road proceeds due west slightly uphill for maybe 0.35 mile. At its apex, another smaller road turns right (north) and heads steeply up the south slope of the hill. Continue up this road for perhaps 0.35 mile, winding slightly, and as Mike notes, continue well past the first area which seems high, to a second area a good 20 feet higher and 0.1 mile further along. You will know you are here, as there is a large cleared field to the left (west) side. I initially set out to the right (eastward) from the high spot, and once into the dense brush and small trees, had to bear northeast another hundred feet plus. I suggest the reader proceed about 100 feet past the high spot in the road, and only then turn right and bushwhack perhaps 100 feet into the woods eastward. There is a small squat cairn, maybe 2 1/2 feet high, with a red can and glass jar within. I noted its placement by Richard Carey, and was signed by Jobe Wymore et al..., and many squirrel hunters had signed in as well. There is no view at all.

You can approach this from the southwest from Torrington CT by turning off of route 8 a few miles north of Winsted CT onto route 20, passing through Riverton at 1.7 miles, and reaching the now left-hand turn into Mill St at 4.7 miles. Total hike time was 22 minutes up, 15 minutes down, although I was really flying given the snow and my need to be at a 5PM wedding in Norwalk CT.