Connecticut Hiking, Nature February 21, 2019
Get Lost In The Connecticut Mountains On This Former Carriage Trail
Let’s be clear, we are not recommending that you get lost on a mountain. We are, however, urging you to consider losing yourself for a few hours in one of the most beautiful natural areas that Connecticut has to offer. Jones Mountain Preserve is a woodland paradise where you expect to encounter hobbits and fairies hiding out around every bend of the historic carriage road that runs from the base to the top of the mountain. If you’re ready to lose yourself in this kind of natural oasis, then read on to learn more…
Located in New Hartford, Jones Mountain Preserve is a 158-acre closed-canopy mountainside forest. From the mossy rocks to babbling brook and old stone ruins to fragrant wildflowers, you might think you've stepped into a land much like Middle Earth when you take your journey here.
Begin your hike by crossing a simple footbridge and enter into the magical woodland space. You'll hear not much more than your own footsteps on fallen leaves and the songs of nearby birds.
An old carriage road is one of the three trails that runs through the preserve. It sticks to the perimeter of the property and offers an easy 2.5-mile walk through the forest.
The carriage trail crosses a moss covered stone bridge where you practically expect to find some kind of mythical creature hiding underneath.
As you continue up the mountainside, the trail is bordered by tall trees and beautiful stands of Mountain Laurel that bloom white and pink during the summer.
A short downward out and back side trail leads to a mossy stone wall surrounding a large boulder. While this monument to the Jones family blends into its natural surroundings, it also seems slightly out of place.
As you near the top of the mountain, you'll find a small break in the treeline simply called the overlook. Here you can see some of New Hartford below.
At the mountaintop, discover the remnants of a stone chimney. This is what remains of the foam dome (a hobbit-like structure) built by a Jones family member. The dome was constructed as an architecture project but was lost due to fire during the past few years.
Continue along the Vista Road to journey along the backside of the preserve to another stone bridge before reaching the base of the mountain. Or take the shorter Brook Trail that leads through a Mountain Laurel forest and hemlock stand.
Back at the base of Jones Mountain are the ruins of a mill that once operated here. The stonework is rusticly beautiful in contrast to the natural woodland all around.
Directly across from the ruins, discover a small pool with a wood bench. For those not ready to depart this fairytale mountain, this is the perfect spot to linger.
While not as well-known as many of Connecticut's other natural preserves, Jones Mountain is one not to be missed. You'll love losing yourself on the mountainside carriage road. So you don't get
really lost, click here to download the preserve map below.
The trailhead is located on Steele Rd., 0.8 miles from the intersection of
Steele Rd., Central Ave., and Rt. 219 in
downtown New Hartford. There is a small parking area at the preserve.
Are you ready to get lost in this natural oasis? Who would you bring with you? Connecticut is full of amazing natural areas and another one of our favorites is this