Home » 3 Best Hikes & Trails at Haystack Mountain, Connecticut

3 Best Hikes & Trails at Haystack Mountain, Connecticut

Located in Norfolk, Connecticut, Haystack Mountain offers amazing 360-degree views atop its 34-foot stone tower. Let’s explore 3 different hikes up Haystack Mountain where views of New York, Massachusetts, and even Vermont, await you!

The main attraction of Haystack Mountain State Park is, obviously, the medieval tower at the top. 🏰

The view from Haystack Mountain Tower is one of my favorite views in Connecticut and definitely my favorite of all 8 tower hikes in CT.

Why 3 different hikes?! Since this is one I return to every year and (almost) in every season, I love having the option to choose from three different routes to the tower.

For repeat and local hikers like me, it keeps things interesting and provides a variety each time I go!

If looking to get to the tower in the shortest amount of time for sunrise or sunset I go with the Haystack Tower Yellow Loop. While it’s not the shortest of the three, it allows you to access the tower in the shortest amount of time when the gate and entrance to the park are closed.

Let’s see which hike up Haystack Mountain is the best choice for you! ⬇️🏰

✨Quick stats of all 3 hikes up to the tower:

Haystack Tower Yellow

  • ✅ in woods the whole time
  • 🥾 1.8 miles
  • 📈 505 ft elevation gain
  • Moderate
  • Time: ~1 hour
  • Great for when the entrance gate is closed (after snow or for sunrise or sunset)

Haystack Loop

  • ✅ longest walk
  • 🥾 2.28 miles
  • 📈 459 ft elevation gain
  • Moderate
  • Time: ~1.5 hours
  • Great for when the entrance gate is closed (after snow or for sunrise or sunset)

HAYSTACK MOUNTAIN OVERVIEW

OVERALL RATING: (5 OF 5 STARS) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

🏰 MAIN ATTRACTIONS: Stunning views of the Riga Plateau, the Berkshires in Massachusetts, the Catskills in New York, and the lush Green Mountains of Vermont

While the views here are full circle with undulating hills, mountains, and marvelously manicured farmland – it makes for a stunning view to watch the sunset.

The park itself is incredibly charming, complete with a gorgeous pond, towering evergreens, picnic tables, and ancillary walking paths, and is a great base camp to spend some time before making your ascent to the tower.

📖 HISTORY: Built in 1929, the tower and Haystack Mountain State Park were donated by Ellen Battell Stoeckel, a Norfolk resident, who donated the tower in memory of her husband.

Haystack Mountain Tower is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a local example of medieval Tudor Revival architecture.

The tower welcomes you to peer out of its several open stone-framed windows, taking in the awe-inspiring scenery.

🚙DIRECTIONS: GPS coordinates: 41.99724, -73.2031

Just off Route 44 on North Street (Rt 272) right outside downtown Norfolk, you’ll find the Haystack Mountain State Park entrance.

If you’re doing the 1.8-mile Haystack Tower Yellow Loop or the longer 2.28-mile Haystack Loop you’ll navigate to the GPS coordinates above and park right outside the gate. A breathtaking climb of either 1.8 or 2.3 miles will get you to the tower and transport you to fifteenth-century England.

TERRAIN: The park is well maintained with a clearly marked, treacherous-free trail system. None of the trails here are technical so a beginner hiker or intermediate will find it a nice stroll through the woods.

HAYSTACK MOUNTAIN HIKE ROUTE DETAILS:

(All three routes take you to the tower! 🏰)

1. Haystack Mountain (shortest route) 0.8 miles

While this is the shortest and most direct route, the road you drive up leading to the trailhead is subject to seasonal closure. When it snows, the gate to this road is usually closed. If the gate is closed choose one of the other two routes below!

After you park here, walk the last little bit along the road until you see the trail entrance. From here you’ll walk a nice, flat 0.2 miles until the trail curves to the left bringing you uphill for the next 0.2 miles and 200+ feet of elevation gain.

Walk the set of steps up the tower (you can do it!), take in the views, and return to your car the way you came.

2. Haystack Tower Yellow Loop 1.8 miles

From the parking area at the main gate, you’ll find the entrance to the yellow blazed trail. The trail entrance and yellow blaze will be on your right hand side heading north (facing the gate).

trails at haystack mountain

Enter the path and walk along the path until you meet a juncture at around 0.2 miles. Take a right here and follow counterclockwise, gaining about 350 in 0.5 miles.

At 0.7 miles you’ll emerge from the woods, facing south, and be met by the beautifully constructed stone tower. Once you’ve had your fill of astounding 360 views, you’ll follow the trail south (remaining a counterclockwise tack) back to your car.

3. Haystack Loop (longest route) 2.28 miles

If you’re looking to slow down and soak up what the park has to offer, I would recommend this more round-about route.

It takes you by Haystack Park Pond which, surrounded by evergreens, makes you feel like you are in Maine or northern New England! 🌲🌲

haystack mountain state park in fall

This route incorporates a large portion of the paved roadway (lightly trafficked), so an easier albeit longer ascent than option two. 

I love this path in the winter when the road is closed and you can enjoy a peaceful walk surrounded by the tall evergreens lining Haystack Mountain Road.

From the parking area continue straight on the road ahead of you for about 1.3 miles until you reach the upper reaches parking area. From here, keep your eyes peeled to the left, or northern side of the parking lot for an opening in the trees, and the trail leading up to the tower. You’ll gain about 200 feet once setting forth on the wilderness path. 

I hope you enjoyed this post of three different trails to choose from up Haystack Mountain!

Looking for more tower hikes with views in Connecticut?!

⬇️ Check out this post here of 8 different tower hikes in CT! ⬇️

8 Secret and Scenic Hikes in Connecticut
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