Case Mountain

68 Birch Mountain Rd, Manchester, CT

★★★★☆

Case Mountain

Manchester Town Park and Manchester Land Conservation Trust Property

640 acres in Manchester and Glastonbury, CT

Parking: Four options (most popular to least):

Trail Map           Trails: 11 miles        Rating: ★★★★☆


Case Mountain is a popular trail network just southeast of Main Street in Manchester that was created by the Case Family “in the spirit of the romantic landscape ideal of the late Victorian era”. Highlights include the waterfall just north of the Spring St parking lot and the Lookout Mtn. overlook along the white trail which is about a 20 minute walk from either of the main parking areas.

Hiking

White Blaze – Carriage Path – 3.0 miles

  • The most popular trail here is the white blazed Carriage Path that connects the two main parking areas at Spring St (by Case Falls) and the Case Pond Lot. 
  • Starting from Spring St. trail is lined with high stone walls and continues uphill to the summit of Lookout Mtn.  A somewhat steep climb is completed by everyone who visits. Although the area may be named for Case Mountain the main overlook at the summit is from Lookout Mountain.
  • The overlook is a large sloped clearing with views west past Manchester to Hartford.  Just beyond Hartford, on a clear day, you can see the Talcott ridge and Heublein Tower.  From here the Carriage Path continues its berth back down to Case Pond with views of the dam, Dennison Lodge, and mossy rock walls.  This section is very muddy year round.

Blue Blaze – Shenipsit Trail – 1.9 miles

  • The Shenipsit Trail in Case Mountain is a roughly two-mile section that runs through the heart of the trail network.  It is an interesting section through the standard mountain laurel and rock features.  It skirts the summits of all the mountains on the property and doesn’t really have any standout features.
  • Heading North: Hike and short road walk until Freja Park
  • Heading South: 2.3 mile hike from the Gay City/Shenipsit Connector

Blue/Yellow Blaze – Case Mountain Summit – 0.8 miles

  • The most interesting trail, in my opinion, is the yellow/blue trail starts in a mountain laurel grove just off the Shenipsit up to the forested summit of Case Mountain.  The summit is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it experience as you wind through thick rooted conifers and jumbles of rock.  Ledges and split boulders carry the eye and the short winding trail eventually leads back to the Shenipsit.

Gray/White Blaze – 0.5 miles

  • Getting into the southern trails of Case Mountain tends to be more confusing where they mix with unblazed mountain bike trails.  I’ve trail run from the Carriage Path onto the Gray/White past the chimney onto the Yellow/Red.  These trails tend to be less populated with hikers and more mountain bike territory and you can make creative loops heading back.

The rest of the trails like the Pink Loop, Yellow, and Red I’ve hiked parts of, but don’t have much of interest to say.

Longer hikes can be made by heading south into the Edmund Gorman Open Space and on to Buckingham Reservoir. You could also take the Shenipsit Trail either north or south

>Mountain Biking

Case Mountain is a popular mountain biking destination in eastern Connecticut.  You’re guaranteed to see bikes on the trails and there is a whole separate network of unblazed trails south of Case Mountain complete with obstacles and technical climbs which I’ve only partially explored.

A good portion of these are north of Line St. and west of the Yellow/Red Trail.the connections to the Edmund Gorman Open Space and Buckingham Reservoir.

Case Mountain is also just a short distance from Wyllys Falls.

History:

Established as a town park in pieces after the 1960s.  Most of the property was owned by the Case family. The Case Brothers operated a successful paper mill and water bottling plant.  They built mansions near their mills along Spring Street, put in the dam and ‘five barrel’ bridge over Birch Mountain Brook that created Case Falls, and carved the Carriage Path through the woods that is still in use today. 

Case Lodge

The lodge on the property is also known as the Maude Dennison Cabin, it was built by the Dennison Family as a summer retreat around 1917.  The Town of Manchester purchased the lodge and surrounding 2 acres in 2006. Around 2015 the town has installed fences and an alarm to prevent vandalism. The beautiful log cabin is at risk of being knocked down due to the $700,000 cost of necessary renovations.  A proposed plan would replace it with a concrete pad and fishing platform.  However, according to the President of the Manchester Land Trust, the land trust has been fighting to preserve it.

The cabin was a location in the 2014 movie ‘Animal‘ (rated a 43% on Rotten Tomatoes).


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Last updated November 25th, 2018

Posted in Blue-Blaze Trails and Town Parks

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