PENWOOD STATE PARK LETTERBOX:
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Planted: July 24, 2002
Length: Park Road and Pinnacle Loop; 4.5 miles
Shadow Pond parking lot to Letterbox; 3/4 mile
Difficulty: Difficult. Mountain bike recommended. Not recommended for kids on bikes. Trail consists of stone dust and an old road. Some long, steep sections.
From I-84 take exit 50 to Route 44 west for 2.5 miles. Turn right on Route 189 north and go 0.8 miles. Turn left onto Route 185 west and go 5 miles. The park entrance will be on the right, look for the sign. The Park Entrance parking lot is on your right. To park at the Shadow Pond parking lot, go up the small road (Park Rd) to the right of the closed gate. About 1.5 miles.
The Ranger Station is located at the Shadow Pond parking lot, along with facilities and picnic tables. For more information visit; PENWOOD STATE PARK .
Starting from the Park Entrance parking lot; Start down the road to the right, closest to Gale Pond (Park Rd). After only 0.1 miles, you'll spot a path to the right that runs along the road. Head down this path that consists of stone dust and crushed stone. Downhill grade, except for the last section that brings you up to Park Rd. Right down this road brings you to the Ranger Station. Go left and pass the restroom building on your right. The Shadow Pond parking lot is to your right, along with a pavilion and picnic area. You'll also see a map board here. Follow the road to the left of the map board. Here you will see a closed gate to the right. The road heads back down to the entrance to the left. You've traveled about 1.4 miles to this point. Go around the gate and head up the old paved road. This is a tough climb on a bike up 0.4 miles to where the road levels off. Behind the picnic table straight ahead is a boardwalk out to a platform overlooking Lake Louise. Park Rd continues to the left, you go right uphill. After about a 1/4 mile the trail splits. This is actually just a loop. Continue right up the trail, where you'll soon level off. To your right is the "blue" Metacomet Trail that takes you up a short hike to the Pinnacle. A very scenic overlook of the Farmington River Valley, with a view of Talcott Mountain and the Heublin Tower to the left. About 3/4 of the way up to the Pinnacle, look for an old section of telephone pole used as a step along the trail. It's next to an Oak tree with a blue marker only 14 paces (1 pace = 2 steps) from the top. Stand on this pole and take a compass reading of 196 degrees. You'll see a grassy knoll and sight a Cedar tree. Look behind the Cedar tree and remove the top flat rock to reveal the Penwood State Park Letterbox. After continuing to the top and enjoying the view, head back down to the road. Continue along the road as it loops back down to Park Rd. This has been about a 2.5 mile trip from the entrance.
Note; You can return down Park Rd to the left or continue along Park Rd to the right. The old pavement is in much worse shape and you still have some climbing to do if you choose to go right.
Continuing right along Park Rd you'll encounter another steep hill. As you climb this hill you'll spot a yellow trail to your right. If your hiking, take this trail which will bring you to the Cedar Ridge Overlook, otherwise, continue up the hill to where it levels off. A trail to the right takes you to the overlook. This is about a 0.5 miles from Lake Louise. Another nice scenic overlook of the Farmington River Valley. Continue on Park Rd, which is now almost all downhill, back down to the Park Entrance parking lot. The old road is very rough here. About a 4.5 mile trip.
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LETTERBOX LAST VERIFIED ON
NOVEMBER 27, 2015
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BIKE IT OR HIKE IT