West Mountain / Cathles Falls
70 acres in Simsbury, CT
- South trailhead: Small lot near 60 Westledge Rd, West Simsbury, CT
- North trail: (shorter access to falls/overlook) Shoulder parking near 122 N Saddle Rdg, West Simsbury, CT
Trail Map Trails: 5 miles Rating: ★★★★☆
This is an incomplete listing as I’ve just hiked from North Saddle Ridge Drive up to the falls and overlook but the whole loop here is easily one of the gems of the area.
I started from the shoulder parking heading up the white blazed trail briefly skirting private property until meeting an unnamed seasonal stream. The stream bounces over rocks here as you begin to climb the steep ledge. Thanks to warm winter rains the falls were couple decent horsetail cascades. The main drop is probably only 10-15 feet but I’d love to see it after a strong rain. If you visit during a dry summer I’m sure there isn’t much to see.
The trail continues the climb to the top of the falls and up again among the rocky bank to meet the red trail. Turning right eventually connects you (unofficially) to the Mclean Game Refuge. Turning left is a fairly short but very steep hike up to a wide overlook with views east over a good portion of northern Simsbury. The gnarled pines near the summit can be especially captivating.
From here you can continue hiking along the ridge and eventually loop for a hike of at least 5 miles, but I saved that for another day.
From the Simsbury Land Trust website,
The blue trail follows a fault-line where the rock you see to the west is 500 million-year-old metamorphic schist and to the east 200 million-year-old igneous basalt. The sharp fracturing of this basalt produces the talus along the base of the slope.
- Waterfalls of New England – Waterfall on the Cathles Trail
- CTMQ – SLT: West Mountain Trails (2020)
- Peter Marteka – A Walk on the Cathles / Hedgehog Trail (2008)
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Last updated February 12th, 2023
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