New London County High Point Trip Report

Gates Hill (660+ ft)

Date: June 30, 2002
Author: Dan Case

Take CT 32 from the Tolland/Windham HP areas to get to Willimantic. This involves a 20-mile drive through some of the pastoral scenery that gives New England its name.

Once there, it joins up with CT 66 at an intersection with a Citgo station and convenience store. Turn left. A mile or so further into town, at an intersection with a Dunkin' Donuts, 32 turns off sharply to the right, as Bridge Street, and crosses over the railroad tracks. Follow it uphill to a slightly odd angle that brings you into a four-way intersection with a beautifully restored Victorian house where CT 289, Mountain Road, leaves uphill to the south (straight ahead, actually) and shortly enters the Town of Lebanon.

You may have thought, based on the description in other reports, that the hill with antenna that dominates Willimantic's southern skyline is Gates Hill, and that thus there must be some problem with the directions. There isn't. I should add, though, that it is a good four miles or so to Bender Road, and that the antenna/cemetery complex that marks the summit is not at the end of the road, but rather something you can drive right past if you're not careful. The sign on the building gives its address as 236 Gates Hill Road or something like that, as well as its latitude/longitude coordinates for those wishing to enter it into their target data bases.

It's very easy to park in front of the gate and walk about a hundred feet to the high ground on the dirt road between the two towers, making this pretty much Connecticut's easiest CoHP. One can also hit the northeast corner of the cemetery stone wall on the way back, which is higher although clearly artificial.