Town Mountain and Hearthstone Castle

Mountain:  Town Mtn. (820')
Trails:  Orange Trail, Brushy Hill Road
Region:  CT - Southwest  
Tarrywile Park
Location:  Danbury, CT
Rating:  Easy/Moderate  
Features:  Castle
Distance:  3.7 miles  
Elevation Gain:  Approximately 500 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Typical: 2:05  
Outing Duration:  Typical: 2:45  
Season:  Variable
Author:  Sunshyn

Route Summary   

This loop hike runs across the eastern flanks of the 820-foot Town Mountain, passing less than a quarter mile from the summit. Most of the walk will be through woods although some fields will also be traversed.

  • From the parking lot behind the Tarrywile mansion, continue along the park's drive for about 0.1 mile until meeting up with Brushy Hill Road.
  • Turn right onto Brushy Hill Road and walk for a bit more than 0.1 mile until reaching the spot where Orange Trail crosses the road at location marker #10.
  • Turn left onto Orange Trail and follow it for about 0.3 mile where the trail will split. For now go straight/right; the return trip will be via the left-hand leg.
  • Continue on Orange Trail for about 0.6 mile upon which you will reach a junction with Purple Trail.
  • Keep going straight on Orange Trail for this hike (or turn left on Purple Trail; and then left again when it reconnects with Orange Trail if you wish to reduce the hike by a mile).
  • After about 1.2 miles, you will reach another junction with Purple Trail on the left. Stay straight on Orange Trail.
  • After about 0.9 mile you will return to the split in Orange Trail.
  • Veer right onto Orange Trail and follow it for about 0.3 mile to return to Brushy Hill Road.
  • Turn right onto the road and follow it for a little more than 0.1 mile back to the park's driveway.
  • Turn left and walk about 0.1 mile to return to the parking area.

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Click for a PDF-format trail map for Tarrywile Park (it will open in a new window).   

Map of hike at Tarrywile Park (map courtesy of Tarrywile Park and Connecticut Orienteering Club)

 




  Trail Guide   

Tarrywile Park is in the middle of the city of Danbury, Connecticut, although you'd hardly know it. It's very quiet and peaceful. The park is open from sunrise to sunset at no charge. They have some campsites available with a permit but I do not know if there is a fee for this. There are several different trails around this large park. I've not hiked many of the trails behind the restored Tarrywile mansion except for the short, easy trail circling the pond.

On my last hike in August, I hiked up past the un-restored Hearthstone Castle, on the Orange Trail. To get to this trail you need to cross Brushy Hill Road behind Tarrywile mansion and go up a hill a short distance to the castle. The castle is in serious disrepair and is surrounded by a huge chain link fence due to some vandals breaking in over the summer.

Hearthstone Castle (photo by Sunshyn)


The Orange Trail continues past the castle into an approximately 3.5-mile loop. There is a cut off (Purple Trail) that goes across the loop that can reduce the hike to about 2.5 miles.

At times the trail is even but most of it is reasonably strenuous. It's not that bad but is definitely a good work out. I have never gotten lost on a hiking trail before but I did once manage to get myself turned around when I took the Purple Trail. I never lost sight of the trail but at one end of the Purple Trail (where it meets back up with Orange Trail) it winds around down a hill so close together (like a switch back road) that you can definitely get turned around.

The trail goes through a rocky, hilly forest. It's pretty but not that much variety. As I mentioned before, it is a great workout. At some point I'll go back and check out the Yellow Trail that runs up behind the pond and takes you up to Mooty Peak Lookout.
 
 


CT - Southwest

  Driving Directions   

From I-84:
  • Take Exit 3 (Route 7 South / Danbury Airport exit).
  • Once on Route 7, take the second exit which is for Danbury Airport.
  • At the end of the ramp at a traffic light, turn left.
  • Hearthstone Castle (photo by Sunshyn)
  • At the next light, turn left onto Wooster Heights Road.
  • Follow Wooster Heights Road for 0.9 mile, then turn right onto Southern Boulevard.
  • Follow Southern Boulevard for 0.6 mile where it will make a sharp right turn.
  • Stay on Southern Boulevard for just 100 yards beyond the sharp turn, then turn right into the entrance for the park and mansion.
  • There is a parking lot right near the entrance, but for this hike, continue along the park's driveway until coming to a second lot, on the right, which is beyond the mansion.

Heading North on Route 7:
  • Take the exit for Danbury Airport.
  • At the light at the end of the ramp, turn right onto Wooster Heights Road.
  • Follow Wooster Heights Road for 0.8 mile, then turn right onto Southern Boulevard.
  • Follow Southern Boulevard for 0.6 mile where it will make a sharp right turn.
  • Stay on Southern Boulevard for just 100 yards beyond the sharp turn, then turn right into the entrance for the park and mansion.
  • There is a parking lot right near the entrance, but for this hike, continue along the park's driveway until coming to a second lot, on the right, which is beyond the mansion.

From the City Center of Danbury:
  • Take Main Street south towards Rogers Park and the War Memorial.
  • At the intersection of Main and South Streets, the War Memorial will be straight ahead.
  • Take a right turn at the light onto South Street.
  • Take the first left onto Mountainville Avenue.
  • Follow Mountainville Avenue for almost 0.3 mile then bear right onto Southern Boulevard.
  • Stay on Southern Boulevard for 0.4 mile, then turn left into the entrance for the park and mansion.
  • There is a parking lot right near the entrance, but for this hike, continue along the park's driveway until coming to a second lot, on the right, which is beyond the mansion.

About Tarrywile Park   

Tarrywile Park was purchased by the city of Danbury in 1985. Its 722 acres contain Tarrywile Mansion and Hearthstone Castle, both of which are listed on the National Register for Historic Preservation. The park offers picnic areas, gardens, orchards, fields, ponds, woods, campsites, and a rich network of footpaths covering rugged terrain. The trails may be used by hikers, snowshoers, cross-country skiers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders.

The 23-room Victorian Tarrywile Mansion is in beautiful condition. It serves as the park's headquarters and Danbury's community center and is available for weddings as well as a variety of community functions.

Hearthstone Castle has not fared as well as the mansion and is in need of repair, so much so that it is now surrounded with a forbidding chain link fence. The ivy-covered stone castle is intriguing in spite of its dilapidation and inaccessibility.

Tarrywile Park offers several brochures (available at the office in the mansion) allowing for self-guided tours of the mansion's history, the park's features and natural components, and the gardens, including a children's garden.

The park offers many special events such as guided hikes, children's reading hour, Winterfest, SummerFest, backpacking and camping demos, and cross-country skiing clinics.

The more accessible and manicured parts of the park are likely to be busy, but solitude can easily be found by forging deep into the trail network. In short, there is something for everyone at Tarrywile Park.

Park Regulations

  • Dogs must be leashed at all times.
  • Camping is by permit only.
  • Swimming is not allowed.
  • Motorized boats are not allowed.
  • Hunting is not allowed.

Contact

Tarrywile Park
70 Southern Boulevard
Danbury, Connecticut 06810

The office is located in the Tarrywile Mansion and is open 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday - Friday.

To schedule events at the mansion, contact:
Becky Petro
203.744.3130
 


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