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Description

Dennis Hill State Park

Connecticut State Park

240 acres in Norfolk, CT

Parking: Seasonal parking 2-3 cars off Rt. 272 (more parking available in-season when the gates are open)

Trail Map       Trails: 2.3 miles     Rating: ★★★☆☆


I first visited Dennis Hill after a late fall snowstorm while doing the 2019 Sky’s the Limit Hiking challenge.  The main gate was closed I parked at the tiny pull-off before the gate with room for 2-3 cars.  The main is usually open April – November. There is a paved road from the entrance gate all the way up to the hilltop pavilion with parking and picnic areas along the way.

I left the road as soon I could hopping onto the Yellow Gazebo Loop Trail.  The initial half mile appears to be an old driveway or road now gated working around the eastern edge of Dennis Hill.  The trail was pretty wet with some standing water but I’m not sure if it is seasonal or just a fluke the seasonal weather.  At the fork I headed right working gradually uphill to the old gazebo perched above a narrow valley.  The views from the gazebo are directly south over the hills of Norfolk.

Just beyond the gazebo is a collapsing chimney and the experience reminded me a bit of my foggy hike at Lovers Leap State Park.  The rest of the lasso loop is a simply woodsy hike with rooty footing.  On my return the white blazed trail seemed seldom used but that could have been the snow covering.

The pavilion at the summit of Dennis Hill is quite a sight with impressive stonework, it was formerly the octagonal summer bungalow of Dr. Fredrick Dennis and has been repurposed as a picnic pavilion.  There used to be a viewing platform on the roof which provided a better view, but the most modern rehab did away with it.  Inside are a handful of panels detailing the history of the pavilion and park.  Views from the summit claim to be 360 degrees with three states visible including New Hampshire.  It certainly wasn’t a clear enough day on my visit so I’ll reserve further judgement until my next visit.

History:

Established as a state park in 1935. This park was featured in the inaugural 2015 and 2019 Sky’s the Limit Hiking Challenges.  The park is named for Dr. Frederick Shepard Dennis who gifted his summer residence to the state in 1935.


Links:

Peter Marteka – Norfolk’s Dennis Hill Joins The List Of The State’s Must See Peaks (2016)

CTMQ – TSTL’15.3: Dennis Hill (2015)

The A to Z of CT State Parks – Dennis Hill State Park (2012)

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Last updated November 25th, 2019

Visited 2338 times, 2 Visits today

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