Short Walk, Long Peer
Beach Rock Vista Trail, Barkhamsted
Barkhamsted is beautiful. Its cute Riverton village area is a little Connecticut version of a Vermont puzzle scene. I love it. The hiking at Peoples State Forest is good and of course the Tunxis Trail east of the reservoir is fantastic. The fly-fishing, the kayaking, the cycling routes… Barkhamsted really is an outdoorsperson’s playground.
And I’m here to highlight a trail that takes about two minutes to walk.
I thought I was pretty familiar with all of the hikes in town, but when I was wrapping up my visit to the Barkhamsted Historical Society’s one room Center School House, the docent there told me a secret.
The secret of Beach Rock.
He had no idea that I’m the CTMQ guy. He had no idea that I have this inner obsession with red-lining every town in the state. And yet he felt compelled to let me in on “one of the the town’s secret beauty spots,” in his words. I was all ears.
And it was right down the street from where we were, on Beach Rock Road – a road I’ve used as a cut through from the dam area after leaving my son at Ski Sundown to hike places north and west many times.
“Look for a parking area on the west side and you’ll see some steps built into the earth on the east side.” Park and follow that trail,” he said. “You’ll walk along a spine; a rock ridgeline and within a couple minutes, you’ll have a view that goes out… forever!”
How could I resist?
I found the parking area easily enough. It’s quite large. There are a dozen “No Trespassing” signs here, but there’s also one saying that the area is closed from dusk until dawn. I chose to notice that sign and not the others. (Look, the parking area is well-maintained and the trail is cleared as well as any trail around. I believe the signs refer to going off-trail and also to deter teenage partiers, as Beach Rock would be a prime place for such illicit activities.)
I followed the (very) short trail, onto the rock spine, and… yeah. There it is. A view east over Barkhamsted Reservoir – the Tunxis Trail provides many westward views of it, but I can’t really think of any other eastward ones. Beach Rock is very near (yet high above) the iconic Saville Dam, but it was mostly hidden from view.
It’s a gorgeous spot for sure, and worth the 10 minutes I spent parking, walking, and gawking. “A short walk, long peer.” That’s a pretty good one. C’mon.