A long wooded ridge dominates the sunset-side of the Connecticut River Valley in the vicinity of Hartford. Crested atop the northerly portion of the Talcott Mountain Range lies a sizable portion of the public domain, Penwood State Park. With this gift in 1944 to the citizens of Connecticut of nearly 800 acres, Curtis H. Veeder wished only that his beloved hilltop, "be kept in a natural state so that those who love nature may enjoy this property as I have enjoyed it." Veeder was an industrialist, inventor and outdoorsman. Early maps of Penwood evidence Veeder's engineering skill and demand for precise accuracy. Surveying, often after dark, he used a complex theodolite instrument and a flashlight to establish a true meridian line from the exact position of a star. Ardent hikers, Veeder and his wife, Louise, built many trails from which to more intimately observe the wildlife, woodland phenomena and scenic vistas surrounding the mountain. Appropriately, a section of Connecticut's Blue Blazed Trail system, the Metacomet, now traverses much of Penwood. In April, as the snow recedes, colorful wildflowers carpet gravelly pockets of soil. The trillium is common as are dutchman's breeches, hepatica, bloodroot, and trailing arbutus. Occasionally the hiker may glimpse the flight of a pileated woodpecker, turkey vulture or bald eagle. Honoring the donor's request, ground-fires, horses and camping are excluded from the activities at Penwood.
This was an awesome hike, done as a loop from the Rt 185 parking lot area. Headed north on the Yellow blazed trail continuing north on the Orange blazed trail to Wintonbury Rd. U-Turn and return south on the Blue blazed Metacomet Trail. Awesome views to the west as you run up and down this ridge line, especially from the Pinnacle, on the Metacomet. I gained a great appreciation and understanding for what Traprock is, and hence the term "Traprock Ridge" all makes sense to me now. A strong recommend. 1033' vertical gain, 6.4 miles RT, approx 3 hrs 15 mins. with a few stops for lunch and photo ops.
Great easy to moderate trail, we did the blue and orange trails. Only downside is the trees are poorly marked at some areas making it difficult to stay on path. We hiked for a total of 4 hours and I would definitely do it again and recommend it to hikers at all levels. The view is much better than Talcott too!! 5 stars.