Will Warren’s Den

Will She Or Won’t She?
Will Warren’s Den, Farmington

October 6, 2007

cur3c.jpgI had heard of Will Warren’s Den several times in a few different contexts over my years in Connecticut. Once Hoang and I agreed to complete the Metacomet Trail end-to-end, I knew I’d finally get to check it out. I guess you could say I was a little underwhelmed – the story is far cooler than the cave itself. (Though the occasion to play on the word “warren” is pretty cool too.)

As for the story, I’ll just let the Connecticut Walk Book tell it in a short essay titled, “Where Did Will Warren Wander?”

The cave known as Will Warren’s Den is one of Farmington’s historic landmarks. A bronze plaque dedicating the site to the town is affixed to one of the rocks above the narrow opening to the cave. In the 17th century, Warren, according to legend, tried to burn down the village of Farmington after he was flogged for not going to church. Driven out of town and pursued into the mountains, he was hidden in this cave by Native American maidens.

In the 1870’s, a skeleton was discovered in Will Warren’s Den and it was believe to be Will himself. The office of the State Archaeologist conducted a forensic examination of the skeleton, however, and it did not appear to match any of the known aspects of Will Warren’s life. Is Will Warren myth or real? We may never know.

cur3b.jpgThe cave is underneath a massive jumble of boulders, just on top of Rattlesnake Mountain. The traprock ridge has crumbled over the millenia, resulting in giant square and rectangle blocks all over the summit area. It’s really a very enjoyable area – and pretty easily accessible by most anyone. We approached from several miles south (Route 372 in Plainville) but one could also park at the end of Poplar Hill Road (at 50 Cent’s house) and hike the simple 1.7 miles to and from the spot.

We contemplated entering the cave for a while – but the opening was just so small and it didn’t seem worthwhile after several crouch-downs and peer-ins. After finding the following on the Internet, I guess we made the right decision!

The large room comprising the cave has two hard-to-find entrances. The upper entrance is not visible from the trail and requires climbing up the steep boulders to the top. This small entrance drops down 15 ft. to the main room on a sloping grade. Several old manilla ropes mark the passing of long ago explorers.

A pitch-black 15-foot drop? I’m not sure Hoang would have forgiven me for that one.



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  1. Catherine says

    I thought this story was pretty cool-not knowing whether this was fact or myth makes it much more mysterious!

  2. SHERIDAN says

    Hi, Just woundering on your trip on the southern approach to Warren Den, did you ever hear of Hospital Rock that is close by?

  3. BILL says

    I am also looking for Hospital Rock. If anybody can give me directions or coordinates I would be extreme;y grateful. Thanks. –BILL

  4. Tim says

    You should have crawled in. I crawled in yesterday and it was definitely worth it. Very cool. One of the most interesting features on the Metacomet. Way better than Tory Caves to the west.

  5. MikeM says

    I crawled into it today, and its def worth it, like Tim said. Its like an air condtioned room inside with a smaller back room and a natural chimney. I had to crawl on my stomach to get in, but my 4 and 11 yr olds thought it was worth it. Thanks for this site!

  6. Kevin Keena says

    I grew up on rattlesnake mt. In the early 70’s. I was able to enter the den but only in the winter would I ever try this. The mt has its name for a reason. I remember someone had dug the entrance out a bit, but it only made the entrance about 30 in wide. Once I was inside, i was able to stand upright in about 80% of the cave. Towards the back , as I remember it, there was a pillar or rock that you could walk around. On the right side of this pillar there was a natural opening or vent. A fire would draft perfectly in the den and I do remember finding this out first hand. It warmed up nicely for a cave. The floor is mostly rocks and finding a spot to sit would be challenging. Hopefully this adds to the story.

  7. Tom says

    Just did this on my birthday last week. Hike took about 45/50 minutes. It was pretty cool passing by the radio towers which have to be the highest in Connecticut. The den, was a maybe 10 minutes after that. I enjoyed reading legend of Will, but I did not attempt to enter the cave because I was alone. Just past the cave, there is an amazing view up the hill. You can see for miles and even pick out Hartford. The legend of Will Warren is an amazing story with a hike a view to go with it. What a great day!!! Oh, you can get the Metacomet Trail from Route 6 near Pinnacle Road and Reservoir Road. There is a small dirt pull off. Just look for the trails signs and you will be on your way!!!

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