If you walk to the top of Lookout Mountain in Manchester CT, you will find it both exhilarating and a breath-taking panorama of the Hartford valley will unfold before you.
Lookout Mountain can be found at Case Mountain Park off Spring street in Manchester. The air can be clear and the clouds are beautiful, but the view is like no other. Of the three mountains at Case Mountain Park, only Lookout Mountain has the view.
Birch Mountain and Case Mountain however are surrounded by diverse wildlife and open space areas of Manchester and Bolton. This is much more interesting than an average walk in the park, definitely an exhilarating climb up the paved and gravel fire road from the main parking area on Spring St, takes about 25 minutes aka white trail or try the easy going the old carriage road which wraps itself around the mountains, it is not marked at the beginning through the middle of the forest but still reaches the top gradually. You can choose to walk the old trail or hook a right onto the white trail. When you reach the yellow trail make a right, and the Hartford skyline will unfold in all it grandeur for you.
There are trails that are unmarked and marked. From Spring street the white trail leads up the mountain road to the top and then goes around the backside of the mountain, along steep cliffs with overlooks just above the Snepit trail and then disappears at the pond where there are three waterfalls. The Pink trail wraps itself along the front edge of Lookout Mountain and then crosses the white trail (road), gradually ending up at the top; then winds itself through the forest to reconnect back at the top of Lookout Mountain. The Pink is not a great trail at dusk or dawn as it can be treacherous in some areas. The white trail that wraps itself along the back of this mountain can be exciting in daytime, but is not recommended at night as it traverses a great big section of the cliff face which has a 200 foot drop below to Blue- Blazed Snepsit Trail below. Remember to take a right when you come to a short trail on the top of the mountain that is marked with yellow marker which leads directly to Lookout Mountain.
It seems all trails cross each other accept the blue blazed Shenipsit Trail which crosses Box Mountain through the back of Case Mountain Park all the way from Gay City Park in Hebron. Although its runs 4 to 5 miles through open space in Bolton from Gay City park it is a long hike and rarely sees travelers. Better for a long bike route and cross country runners.
The park was created by the Chase Family in early 1900’s and is now taken care of by the Town of Manchester. This is in the Highland Park area and used to be it’s own little town. At the top and bottom are trail maps. None of these trails are very long but give yourself at least two hours especially before sunset. You can always walk the wide white trail down the fire road but loose gravel makes it treacherous at night, and in the winter the ice will make it slippery.
Always make it a point to visit the Lookout Mountain, because it is worth every step up this wonderful mountain park. To go the back way up the white trail (carriage trail) you should climb the staircase near the waterfall to the bridge, then hook a right. Follow the stone walls along the small cliff overlooking the waterfalls (hook a left) and you will see the well traveled pathways. This is an old carriage path and portions are designated with white markers. Take the unmarked carriage trail up the mountains middle or follow the white trail along the waterfalls, ponds and old Case Mountain cabins that set on the pond below you.
Walk the three peaks from point to point stop there are many benches strategically placed for a quick rest. This park is well taken care of and is very clean with few problems. Meet friendly people who travel these trails all the time. Watch you step when out on the mountain trails, as the cliffs will appear quite quickly, and do keep your dog on a leash, as you would not want them to bound down a hill and then off a cliff!
Bring your best friend, family or better half with you. Yes you should as this place can handle the crowds on any given day, and is one of the most popular hiking spots in Manchester. Park at the base of the mountain on Spring Street for the best access! Please use this downloadable trail guide provided by the Town Of Manchesterto get acclimated before you head out. You can use the Google map for general directions to get here.
View Lookout Mountain & Chase Mountainin a larger map