Hike Hedgehog Trail Up West Mountain, Simsbury CT (2 routes)

Hike the Hedgehog Trail in West Simsbury, Connecticut, taking you up and over three different lookouts along West Mountain. Featuring a reservoir, streams, and waterfall, too, this is a must-do hike in Connecticut!

At just 18 minutes from me, West Mountain is one I like to hike several times throughout the year! As one AllTrails review put it – “Excellent rugged trail with top 5 best lookouts in CT” (Christian Torrillo, 10/31/23).

Set up on the hill west of Simsbury Farms Recreation Area, the West Mountain Ridge is a special piece of land within the Simsbury Land Trust. It’s a beautiful and peaceful place to hike!

“This land is unique in that it consists of the east slope, ridge top, west slope, a portion of the clearly defined geological fault line and 10 acres of slope on the much older Western Highland.

The Simsbury Land Trust and Town properties have preserved the integrity of 500 acres of continuous traprock ridge from Mclean Game Refuge to the Tulmeadow Farm Triangle.” simsburylandtrust.org

The Hedgehog Trail (AKA West Mountain Trail) runs from Westledge Road, at the base of The Master’s School, up and over the east ridge of West Mountain. And on this ridge, you get to experience not just one, but three different and beautiful lookouts!

In this post, I share 2 different routes up West Mountain along the Hedgehog Trail, a short and a long version. (The shorter option isn’t on AllTrails — I made the map for you to have!)

🥾Hike the Hedgehog Trail & West Mountain – 2 Routes

1. Full Hedgehog Trail Loop

  • Miles: 4.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 912 feet
  • Level: Moderate
  • Time: 2.5-3+ hours
  • Parking: Click here to navigate to 41.87901, -73.86604 (parking lot off of Westledge Rd/Rt 309)
  • Dog-friendly: Yes! With lots of streams and brooks for water
  • Special Features: 3 different views along West Mountain, brooks, bridges, and Cathles Waterfall just a short detour off the trail (details below)

This hike has everything you would want out of a multi-hour day hike.

🚙 The Hedgehog Trail parking lot, which holds about 10+ cars, can be easy to miss. Traveling west on Westledge Rd (Route 309) the lot will be on your right immediately after Pasture Lane and before Woodchuck Hill Rd. (Whether you are traveling east or west along Westledge Road, the lot is between Pasture and Woodchuck.)

I like how the parking lot is a bit hidden here because once you pull in you are encased in the forest of the Simsbury Land Trust. 🌲🌲

Hedgehog Trail Hiking Guide

🥾0-0.4 miles: From the parking lot you’ll start on the red trail, greeted with stacked stone steps as you descend into a magical forest setting. You’ll shortly cross your first wooden bridge taking you up and over Hop Brook. (The dogs’ first chance to get some water!)

wooden bridge along the hedgehog trail in west simsbury

After crossing this bridge, stay to the left along an old logging road. You’ll come to a kiosk and begin the loop portion of the hike. AllTrails has you taking the loop counterclockwise and I like to do the same, getting the elevation over with.

🥾0.4-1.7 miles: At the loop entrance (0.4 miles in) take a right to stay on the red trail. You will shortly cross a driveway that leads to The Master’s School so leash dogs up and keep kids close until you do.

After crossing the driveway/street, you’ll have about 1.2 miles of ups and downs (about 300 ft elevation gain) until you come to the first lookout on top of West Mountain.

🥾1.7-2.4 miles: After taking in this first set of views you descend a somewhat steep section of rocks (watch your step!). At the bottom, you’ll see another wooden bridge (this hike is full of them!). 🧚🏼

At this point, if you’d like to check out Cathles Falls 💦 you will go right on the white-blazed trail for about 0.1 miles walking along Bissell Brook. The waterfall will be on your left! Turn around after checking it out to get back to the red trail.

Crossing over that wooden bridge you will ascend one more time up the red trail to the next TWO views along West Mountain.

You are now at the top of the second ridge of West Mountain.

And don’t be fooled here! Make sure you get to see both views. After taking in the first view continue for just another tenth of a mile to get to the second view (third overall on this hike).

🥾2.4-4.8 miles: After taking in both views, head back down the red trail to that wooden bridge at the base of the climb. Turn right onto the white trail which will lead you to yet another wooden bridge where you will turn left to cross and pick up the blue trail!

From here you will take the blue to finish the other side of the loop and then link up with the same trail you started on (the red) to head back to your car.

I love ending with this side of the loop along the blue as it’s mainly flat and makes for a nice long walk out after all that elevation on the red side. 🙂

2. Hedgehog Shortcut to Cathles Waterfall and West Mountain Lookouts

  • Miles: 1.94 miles (could be made shorter, read below)
  • Elevation Gain: 640 ft
  • Level: Moderate (a couple steep sections!)
  • Time: 1-2 hours
  • Parking: Click here to navigate to 41.90046, -72.85686, parking is at the end of N Saddle Ridge Drive
  • Dog-friendly: Yes! Lots of water, too
  • Special Features: Cathles Falls Waterfall and the lookouts on West Mountain

🏃🏻‍♀️Welcome to the ‘short-on-time’ condensed version of the Hedgehog Trail. I made this route myself on AllTrails for those days when I want to see the waterfall, get a quick workout, and see views.

Hedgehog Trail Shortcut Hiking Guide

0-0.2 miles: Navigate to park here and pull your car close to the side of the road at the end of the cul-de-sac. You will see the Cathles Trail sign letting you know you’re in the right spot even though this is within a neighborhood.

You’ll hike in along the white trail which will quickly take you up to Cathles Falls. Expect a bit of incline here to get to the falls.

After taking in the waterfall view continue up on the white trail which will shortly (in 0.1 miles) lead you to the junction of the Hedgehog Trail.

0.2 miles on: At the valley of West Mountain’s two ridges here, you can either go left on the red to head up to a beautiful lookout or head right to head up to 2 beautiful lookouts.

With the AllTrails route linked above, I made the trail take you up to both views in case you want to do that. This means you will go right up the red to the two lookouts, come back down to the valley, and then go up red on the other side of West Mountain Ridge to the other lookout.

Otherwise, just pick one side of West Mountain and back down to your car the same way you came up the white trail!

The best time to hike the Hedgehog Trail and West Mountain

I’ve hiked here on weekends, and weekdays before work, 5 am sunrises, and with microspikes in the snow. I love walking around in here any time of year!

Because of the waterfall, bridges, and multiple views, it’s hard to be disappointed here even if it isn’t a bright sunny day.

I’ve enjoyed several sunrise hikes here since all 3 lookouts along West Mountain face east!

So if you’re a morning person, I’d say get here in the morning at or just after sunrise and enjoy the light coming in.

And most importantly – where to eat after 🥐☕️😊🌯

I love to eat and it’s a big part of the whole hiking experience for me! Either hike here will work up an appetite, (particularly the 4.8-mile loop :)), so when back to your car FOOD will be the next thing on your mind!

And luckily, there are tons of good cafes and restaurants nearby in Simsbury and Avon. Let me show you! Take a look at the list below.

👏🥾I hope you enjoyed this post and that you have a new top hike in Connecticut to try!

And for more Connecticut hikes, click here for all of my Connecticut posts!

Or check out this post of 8 secret (and lesser-known hikes) in CT!

8 Secret and Scenic Hikes in Connecticut

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  1. Try Popover’s in Simsbury as well! Amazing brunch options and outdoor seating. Maple Tree Cafe and Plan B also have outdoor seating. By the summer (‘24) Simsbury will also have an ice cream and Greek Street food restaurant. Thanks for the trail ideas!

    1. I love those suggestions! Thanks so much, Danielle :)) I have been to Popovers, didn’t realize they had outdoor seating. Simsbury has so many cafes, haven’t tried Maple Tree yet! And excited for new spots to open this summer!!

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