Connecticut is the third smallest state in the Union, and thus predictably has the third smallest number of counties: eight. Its county highpoints are regarded as, with the possible exception of Rhode Island, the easiest of any state; most require only an automobile and a short walk. Four are on public forest land, the others found on private properties of varying restrictions. Every highpoint can be found within a few miles of the county border, owing to the progressive uphill trend of mountains in the state both northward and westward. In fact, two are situated on the state boundary, arbitrary points on the slopes of higher mountains. However, despite the relative unimportance of the summits in question, a tour of the eight highpoints will provide a rather interesting overview of the state of Connecticut--in fact, even I, a former resident and frequent visitor to the state, saw parts of the state I otherwise never would have experienced!
The highpoints are listed below (elevations link to topographic maps):
|County||Highpoint Name||Elevation in Feet|
|Litchfield||(pt. on S slope of) Mt. Frissell||2380|
|Hartford||South Johnson Hill/"Hartland Hill"||1421|
|Fairfield||(pt. on E slope of) pt. 1326, S of Branch Hill||1290+|
|New Haven||2 pts. SW of Lindsley Hill||1050+, 1050+|
|Middlesex||Meshomasic BM, Bald Hill Range||916|
|New London||Gates Hill||660|
Access and Restrictions
Frissell's south slope is located on state park/state forest land. The approach roads may not be plowed in winter, and are subject to closings at some locations. On my last visit during December, the road was blocked off near the Jeep trail turnoff.
Also on state forest land, however some of the approach route forms the boundary for signed private property. Note that Hartland Pond to the south is private land.
Burley Hill is one of the two privately owned highpoints. Do not attempt without permission
. Both access routes are apparently owned by Mr. Wesley Bradway, and one of his children now manage the land, and live in the white house (the only one) on Sears Rd. Either call the elder Bradway at (860) 684-3295, contact the land managers, or show up and ask at the white house. I do not know if the occupants want their phone number publicly divulged, so I am witholding it from this page; if you want the number, PM me and I'll send it to you.
The highpoint on the state line is one of the two privately owned highpoints. Do not attempt without permission
. A cohp trip report refers to the property owners as the "Dannenbergs", and a search turned up a phone number for A Dannenberg at 64 Kirby Hill Rd., which seems to conflict with the address numbers I remember seeing on my visit (55 and 61). The number is (845) 855-5929; someone planning to visit should try this number out, and inform me if the owners prefer it is used or not. Go up the driveway, taking the R fork ("Cloudy Woods") to the house and ask permission, which by all accounts is generally granted. The trail to the boundary marker is a short distance back down the drive, next to a dirt mound. Take the R fork.
Snow Hill is on state forest land. The only apparent restriction is that the preserve closes at dusk.
--New Haven County
The northern point is next to a radio tower facility; the short road to the top is gated, but the posted sign does not explicitly prohibit trespassing. The boulder generally considered to be the high spot is a short bushwack from the road, and walking to the building on the summit is not necessary. The southern point is on a semi-vacant dirt lot, with homes in close proximity to the high ground. Probably best not to visit this one after dark, though you never actually cross private lawns.
Much of the route is on state forest lands. I would recommend parking S of the "trailhead" next to the radio tower, and walking to the ATV/snowmobile road. Though the entrance is blocked by a metal cable, there is nothing to suggest access is forbidden, and the homeowners on either side seem to be fine with highpointers.
--New London County
The high spot is most likely somewhere directly behind the cemetary, and between the two radio towers. Do not attempt to enter the gated areas around the summit buildings and towers. Though the exact high ground is virtually impossible to determine, it is almost certainly not within any of the gated areas.
Above all, remember that access to any and all of these locations is not a right, it's a privelige. Treat the public land with respect, and especially respect and be courteous to landowners, even if they deny access for whatever reason; it is this cooperative spirit that keeps many of our state and county highpoints legally attainable. If you attempt to "stealth" any of the privately owned highpoints, you do so at your own risk and without either my support, or that of this website and webmaster.
Acknowledgements, but more to come shortly!
Many thanks to the members of the county highpointing group and their website, cohp.org
; more detailed information can be found there in the meantime.
Topographic maps of routes to the summits will be posted shortly. Red will indicate the main route to the summit, orange alternate routes or approaches to multiple candidate spots, and purple, side trips of interest. Blue will be used to designate the primary driving approach route.
It is my recommendation that one attempting the highpoints do so in the spring or fall months, when snow is minimal or nonexistent, yet when foliage and undergrowth is not present. This allows for both easier sighting of higher ground and some (often very minimal) views.
Sorry, I won't have any pictures. Cut a poor college kid some slack!