This tiny "mountain" rises 650ft high in Mclean Game Refuge in Northern Connecticut and is easily reached by a short hiking trail. The trail is by no means strenuous but steep rises begin near the base of the mountain.
Here are a few words about the refuge from the "West Hartford Book,"
The land of the McLean Game Refuge was shaped by the glaciers of the ice ages. Rounded highlands of ancient crystalline rock and jutting trap rock ridges, sandy flats and kettle ponds, where mountains of ice melted, define the geological footprint of the Refuge. Draining two tributaries of the Farmington River, Bissell Brook and Salmon Brook, the land offers a variety of terrain. As the authors of a Yale School of Forestry study in 1981 put it, "The wildlife and watershed value of the Game Refuge may have been obvious to Senator McLean, although it was probably pure chance that
he assembled such a remarkably diverse landscape. . .”
Since the establishment of Senator McLean’s Game Refuge in 1932, the Trustees, in cooperation with both private and governmental organizations, have increased the size of the Game Refuge to over 4,200 acres.
From Interstate 91 in Connecticut take exit 40 (Rt. 20) and follow Rt. 20 West all the way to Granby Center. Stay on Rt. 20 and head through the center until you come to the 4 way intersection with Bushyhill Dr. on your right and Barndoor Hills Dr. on your left. Make the left onto Barndoor Hills and drive 1 1/2 miles to the entrance to the Game Refuge on the western side. Drive down the short road between two corn fields and park by the bridge over the brook.
If you take a left on to Rt 10/202 S from Granby Center the East entrance of the refuge is just 1 mile up on your right.
Walk over the bridge on the western side of the refuge until you see an old cabin. The trailhead is just behind the cabin.
The Game Refuge has no fees but closes at sunset.
In recent years, Black Bears have been a problem near daytime recreation areas within the refuge. Keep an eye out for the bears.
Wildlife is abundant in the refuge and its most definitely noticable compared to other forests and state parks in Connecticut. Expect to get a glimpse of something
There are many miles of trails within the Refuge but camping is not allowed.
The Summit Trail - On the west side of the refuge pick up the Summit Trailhead just behind the old log cabin about 200 yards across a large field from Salmon Brook.
The Trailhead behind the Old Cabin
Immediately the trail takes a sharp right turn south and begins to slightly climb. It's a clearly marked trail - Getting lost here is nearly impossible, however, to get to the summit look for a three-way trail junction rougly 3/4 of a mile from the trailhead. At the junction make a sharp right (this trail is unmarked) and continue another .30 miles west to the base of McLean Summit. Soon you will be at another trail junction but there is a sign clearing pointing the direction you need to go to the summit. If you take the left at this junction you will soon find yourself at Trout Pond, so continue on westward. Here you will notice how much more steep the terrain is and the Pine forest will give way to towering Oak trees.
Follow the trail until you reach the Southern facing ridge and keep an eye out for an unmarked trail off to your right that leads directly to the summit.
This is the steepest part of the hike as you rise 100 feet up the trap rock ridge in .10 miles. Once at the "Summit" the views aren't spectacular as you will find yourself in the top branches of tall Oaks growing along the ridge but it is a great place to take a break and catch the breeze. I'd imaging that star gazing from this point would be great as there are no trees blocking your view straight up! It's too bad the refuge closes at sundown.
External LinksWest Hartford Book - McLean Game Refuge