Hiking to Heublein Tower in Talcott Mountain State Park: Simsbury, CT
Talcott Mountain State Park, and especially the hike to Heublein Tower is an extremely popular Connecticut hike. People come all over to see the tower both for its history and its incredible views. Plus, the amenities, including bathrooms, historical video, and picnicking areas make Talcott Mountain State Park and incredible place to visit.
Heublein Tower was built by Gilbert Heublein, who created both A1 Steak Sauce and Smirnoff Vodka. For a period in the 1900s, the tower was also owned by The Hartford Times and mainly used for social gatherings.
As Heublein Tower is such a popular place it can be very crowded. So, there’s the main way of getting to Heublein Tower and the less crowded way from Reservoir #6. I took the less crowded, albeit longer way, and highly recommend this alternative route for anyone looking to avoid the crowds while hiking (no real way to avoid them once you get to the tower).
Keep reading to get the full guide to hiking to Heublein Tower in Talcott Mountain State Park from Reservoir #6.
Location: Greene County, NY
Distance: 6.6 miles out and back
Time: 3-5 hours
Cell-Phone Service: Great, I had no issues with service!
Features: Heublein Tower Scenic Overlooks
Hours: 8am to sunset
Cost: Free from this location, at main location is $10-$15 for non residents (free for residents)
Parking: Some parking at first lot, more parking further around the reservoir
Bathrooms: 1 portable toilet
Dog Friendly: On-leash only
Location, Bathrooms, and Parking for Reservoir #6 to Talcott Mountain
The hike at Reservoir #6 has plenty of parking and amenities for the public to use. However, not all of those are located immediately next to the trail head. For parking next to the trailhead, there is only a small lot directly before the gate entrance into the park.
As soon as you turn in and pass the Reservoir #6 sign, you’ll be able to park before the gate. If you drive past the gate, there is additional parking – but you will have to go around the Reservoir to get to it. This first lot is the closest to the trail entrance.
As for bathrooms, there is one portable toilet located in between this parking area and the trail entrance. The facilities at Reservoir #6 are fairly well kept, so although I did not need to use these facilities my guess is that it’s fairly clean for a portable toilet.
If you decide to use another parking area, there are toilet facilities (portable toilets) at those lots as well.
Reservoir #6 to Talcott Mountain through Metacomet Trail
Once you park, there is a clear trail entrance for a trail around the reservoir. You’ll follow this for about 1.5 miles before taking a left turn on the Metacomet trail (marked blue in the map).
This trail will take you directly to Heublein Tower.
What to Expect Hiking to Heublein Tower at Talcott Mountain State Park
After parking, you’ll walk up the road and take the trail on the left, just past the yellow gate and trail head signs. This has you walking alongside the left part of the Reservoir, where you’ll spend the first and last 1.5 miles of your hike.
After the flat trail near the Reservoir, you’ll take a left turn onto the Metacomet trail. There are a lot of offshoots here – but most of them loop back to the same trail and head in the same direction.
This part of the trail is much more narrow, slightly overgrown, and rocky. However, it leads you straight up to Heublein Tower. You’ll spend about another 1.5ish miles on this part of the trail to head up to the tower.
Beginning the trail at Reservoir #6 – Flat and Wide
When starting to hike, you’ll spend the first 1.5 miles walking around the Reservoir. Since this is an out-and-back trail, make note of that. At least for me, walking a fairly straight, wide path is very enjoyable when first starting the hike – but feels incredibly long when ending the hike.
This part of the trail is mainly gravel or dirt (or a mix of both). It’s very well maintained.
With that said, this part of the trail is absolutely beautiful. It runs directly alongside the reservoir and while walking you get some incredible views of the trees overlooking the water.
Since it’s such an easy section, and open to anyone – you’ll share this part of the trail with people just looking to enjoy the Reservoir. Mainly walkers, or dogs on leashes fill this section of the trail.
Metacomet Trail to Heublein Tower at Talcott Mountain State Park
At the top of the Reservoir, you’ll come across a few different offshoots. The first is completely overgrown, but still shows on AllTrails as an accessible trail. The second has the sign seen below directing you to the Metacomet. And the third directs you to a wider trail that eventually comes back onto the Metacomet.
I took the second trail, leading to the Metacomet. It’s a windy, narrow, rocky trail for about 1.5 miles to Heublein Tower. On the way back though, I went to the other, third, offshoot from the Reservoir. It was much wider, and although it leads to the Metacomet eventually I found it a bit easier to navigate.
Either offshoot is hike-able by beginners, but choose whichever option you feel is best for you.
As you approach the tower you’ll come to a paved road. You can take this paved road up to the tower, or if you prefer, you can stay in the woods for the remaining 0.3 miles past this point. I fully recommend staying on the wooded trail. The reason for this is because right before you approach the tower, there is an incredible lookout point you wont want to miss.
This view (unlike the tower) doesn’t limit the number of people viewing at once – so that means you can stay as long as you like without feeling the pressure of leaving so others can enjoy. You wont be as high as you will be in the tower – but it’s still an incredible view.
To stay on this path, you’ll pass by the brown trail sign and follow the trail that runs parallel to the paved road.
Heublein Tower in Talcott Mountain State Park
You’ll approach the tower from a slightly different area than from those who took the more crowded standard route to the tower. Because of that you’ll pass by more of the picnic areas, and the historical video first. But, the tower is so large you wont have any trouble finding it.
There are multiple restroom areas – one of which is inside the tower, but entered from the back entrance. The other is a couple of compostable toilets sitting off to the side of the tower. I initially went to use the inside toilets – but there were limits to the number of people and it honestly kind of smelled, so I headed back to the compostable ones and preferred that. Not nearly as smelly.
When you’re ready to enter the tower – take a look around from the entrance first. You can get some incredible views that foreshadow the stunning looks of what’s to come.
During COVID times, they limit access to the tower to a certain number of people. So, there may be a short line to access the tower. Masks are also required to enter as of October 2021.
When you enter the tower there is an “up” staircase and a “down” staircase. Each of these pathways will take you to different historically preserve rooms that have information and artifacts from the tower when it was used as a residence. I really enjoyed this part of the tour and due to the limits on people, I had them mostly to myself.
It takes quite a few staircases to get you to the top. Once you get there you’re in a large, wooded room with windows covering the walls leading out in all four directions. There is also a bench to sit on if you feel so inclined.
Northern and Western Views | Heublein Tower
When you get to the top, there are four directions you can look – North, South, East, and West. Heublein Tower has printouts detailing which direction you’re looking at and what you can view from that area.
From the North you can see Mountain Tom, Springfield Mass., and Bradley International Airport.
From the West you can see Mohawk Mountain, Bear Mountain (CT), Hedgehog Mountain, and Sugarloaf Mountain.
As you are looking through windows there are some reflections of the other windows on the other side of the tower. I did my best to edit these out – but in reality, if you’re going to be visiting – just know that these aren’t unimpeded views. You are looking through a window after all!
Southern and Eastern Views at Heublein Tower
The other two viewpoints are just as stunning as the first two. The Southern viewpoints and the Eastern view points also allow you to see for miles and capture some pretty cool sites!
From the South you can see WTIC Radio tower, Cedar Mountain Quarry, and Sleeping Giant State Park.
From the East you can see Hartford, South Windsor, and MDC Reservoir #6 (where you came from – but you do have to glance far to the right to see it- I didn’t manage to get it in the picture).
Ending the Hiking Trail from Heublein Tower to Reservoir #6
Once you’ve spent your time at Heublein Tower – and I do recommend you spend your time. Take in the scenery, bring a picnic lunch, and enjoy the good views and history. But, once you’ve decided it’s time to head back just head back the way you came.
Thats the great part about hiking and out-and-back trail – you know where you’re headed because you just hiked it!
This may be me – but I hate ending hiking trails with just a flat 1.5 miles. It seems to me that it never ends and is hard to keep up the motivation when my feet hurt and I’m ready to be back to the car. So, the last 1.5 miles back at the Reservoir was entirely like that for me. You may not be that type of hiker – and if so great! If you are though, just mentally prepare yourself – as that last flat 1.5 miles feels like it’s 5.0 miles.
Other Tips to Remember
Talcott Mountain State Park is a crowded park – so if you’re looking to avoid that be sure to take this path, as you’ll avoid most of the crowds until you get to the tower.
But, with it being a crowded park – follow proper trail etiquette and be kind to those around you who may not be the most experienced hikers.
With that said, this is a fairly beginner-friendly trail – both at the Reservoir, and also on the Metacomet leading to Heublein Tower. So, enjoy yourself, take in the beauty around you, try to learn something historical at the Tower and have a great time!
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