april-198

Hubbard Park & Castle Craig

Castle Craig - Hubbard Park

Castle Craig Tower

What: Town Park, Castle Tower and Scenic View
Where: 199 Notch Road, Meriden, Connecticut (map)
Trail Map: Click here (PDF)
Admission: Free and open to the public
Best Time of Year: April through October

Hubbard Park, located in the Hanging Hills of Connecticut, is a wooded, mountainous park located just north of downtown urban Meriden, Connecticut. It comprises approximately 1,800 acres of carefully kept woodlands, streams, dramatic cliff faces, flower gardens, and the James Barry bandshell and picnic spots, as well as its showpiece, Mirror Lake.

Most of the land was given to the town by Walter Hubbard, president of the Bradley & Hubbard Manufacturing Company. In his donation, the land was given outright, with the stipulation that everything connected with the park was to remain free of charge for the people of Meriden, and that no concessions for profit were ever allowed within the park area.

Hubbard spent a great deal of time and energy creating the park. He personally spent between $400,000 and $500,000 to clear land, build roads, and construct Mirror Lake with the help of Frederick Law Olmsted, who is best known for designing New York’s Central Park.

Hubbard Park

He built a tower on East Peak, known as Castle Craig, to resemble the towers built by the Turks along the Danube River in the 12th century. The tower is constructed of traprock and is 32 feet in height and has a base 58 feet in circumference . A metal interior stairway was used to get up to the observation area on top, but is currently closed off to the public. It stands 976 feet above sea level and provides an expansive view of the greater Meriden, Connecticut area.

The park is nestled within the Hanging Hills, a dramatic traprock mountain ridge overlooking the city of Meriden and the Quinnipiac Rivery Valley 900 feet feet below. Two of the peaks are located within the park, South Mountain at 767 feet, and East Peak, at 976 feet. West Peak, at 1,024 feet, is located just outside the park boundary to the west. Considered particularly scenic are Merimere Reservoir (punctuated with Mine Island) and Mirror Lake, nestled between South Mountain and East Peak.  East Peak is often cited as the highest mountain within 25 miles of the coastline from Cadillac Mountain in Maine to Florida, however, nearby West Peak is higher.

Hubbard Park

The ridge was formed by volcanic activity 200 million years ago during the rifting apart of North America from Eurasia. Two major lava flows covered the red sandstone valley in Meriden. Each cooled and hardened into traprock (also known as basalt) and was gradually covered by sand and mud which eroded from the surrounding hills. Once the volcanic activity stopped, the whole region fractured and tilted to the west. Since then, hundreds of feet of the softer sandstone bedrock have eroded from the valley, leaving the dense, hard volcanic traprock ridge layers standing out far above the surrounding landscape.

Today, Hubbard Park is a popular outdoor recreation destination. The park is crossed by a number of hiking trails, most notably the 51-mile blue-blazed Metacomet Trail, which traverses East Peak and West peak the park. Trails are open to hiking, backcountry skiing; roads are open to bicycling and mountain biking. Swimming and rock climbing are prohibited.

The park also features a bandshell and flower gardens and is the site of a variety of local festivals and concerts, most notably the spring Daffodil Festival. According to local folklore, Hubbard Park is said to be haunted by the ghostly presence of the Black Dog of the Hanging Hills.

 

 

Castle Craig Tower What: Town Park, Castle Tower and Scenic View Where: 199 Notch Road, Meriden, Connecticut (map) Trail Map: Click here (PDF) Admission: Free and open to the public Best Time of Year: April through October Hubbard Park, located in the Hanging Hills of Connecticut, is a wooded, mountainous park located just north of downtown urban Meriden, Connecticut. It comprises approximately 1,800 acres of carefully kept woodlands, streams, dramatic cliff faces, flower gardens, and the James Barry bandshell and picnic spots, as well as its showpiece, Mirror Lake. Most of the land was given to the town by Walter Hubbard, president of the Bradley & Hubbard Manufacturing Company. In his donation, the land was given outright, with the stipulation that everything connected with the park was to remain free of charge for the people of Meriden, and that no concessions for profit were ever allowed within the park area. Hubbard spent a great deal of time and energy creating the park. He personally spent between $400,000 and $500,000 to clear land, build roads, and construct Mirror Lake with the help of Frederick Law Olmsted, who is best known for designing New York's Central Park. He built a tower on East Peak, known as Castle Craig, to resemble the towers built by the Turks along the Danube River in the 12th century. The tower is constructed of traprock and is 32 feet in height and has a base 58 feet in circumference . A metal interior stairway was used to get up to the observation area on top, but is currently closed off to the public. It stands 976 feet above sea level and provides an expansive view of the greater Meriden, Connecticut area. The park is nestled within the Hanging Hills, a dramatic traprock mountain ridge overlooking the city of Meriden and the Quinnipiac Rivery Valley 900 feet feet below. Two of the peaks are located within the park, South Mountain at 767 feet, and East Peak, at 976 feet. West Peak, at 1,024 feet, is located just outside the park boundary to the west. Considered particularly scenic are Merimere Reservoir (punctuated with Mine Island) and Mirror Lake, nestled between South Mountain and East Peak.  East Peak is often cited as the highest mountain within 25 miles of the coastline from Cadillac Mountain in Maine to Florida, however, nearby West Peak is higher. The ridge was formed by volcanic activity 200 million years ago during the rifting apart of North America from Eurasia. Two major lava flows covered the red sandstone valley in Meriden. Each cooled and hardened into traprock (also known as basalt) and was gradually covered by sand and mud which eroded from the surrounding hills. Once the volcanic activity stopped, the whole region fractured and tilted to the west. Since then, hundreds of feet of the softer sandstone bedrock have eroded from the valley, leaving the dense, hard volcanic traprock ridge layers standing out far above the surrounding landscape. Today, Hubbard Park…

The Breakdown

Scenery - 10
Ease of Hike - 7
Reward - 10

9

The hike up is very easy until the very end, where it can get a bit steep. If you're not up for it, take the drive!

User Rating: 2.21 ( 15 votes)
9

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8 Comments

  • This park is gorgeous. We just went to see the primetime leaf colors and I got so great pictures.I wish the road was open in the winter…the mountian side would be gorgeous in a snowfall.

  • I am now 84 yrs old and retired in Florida. Growing up, Hubard Park, the Halfway Building, the Tower, and not to forget the Resevoir, were all a part of me. I spent many days hiking up and around all that acreage, those times I will never forget, and wish I could do it all over again. Bringing up pictures on the internet is as close as I’ll ever come I’m afraid.
    FYI, A good part of my hiking was done with Jim Barry Jr, who’s dad was Supt. of Parks at that time. I also want to add that my uncle, Donald T Robison, preceeded J. Barry as Park Supt. He was killed in WWII and has a small stone monument at the exit road near the wading pool. As I write this I can feel the cool breezes and smell the wilderness that can only be found away from the city. Oh such Memories!! Richie

  • In 1953 my Father held me over the side of Castle Craig holding my ankles. That just might explain going into the Army Airborne!

    Beautiful place!

  • So many memories from Meriden. Hiking to the top of Black Pond Mountain and sitting there with our legs dangling over the cliff watching the rented row boats move around the lake said to have no bottom. Mt, Higby too. We “climbed” (A rather steep path) to the top there too instead of going to Beavers pond for a day of swimming eating and drinking treats from the little shack there. All this at about age 8 on up to out teens without parental supervision. Not one did we even think of destroying property or beating up people. Camping out in our back yard and walking down liberty street at 2 A.M. to the bakery to get fresh hot hard rolls. Sure miss all those days just before Vietnam when IMO it all changed for the worse. But they cannot take my memories Richard Robison, can they Sir?