How anybody got a hang glider up to Hang Glider View is beyond me. Situated way up high along a ridge top on the Appalachian Trail, deep within a tall hardwood forest, the climb up to the old hang glider ramp couldn't have been easy. But I will admit that the western views of upper Litchfield County would've easily inspired the effort it took for a magnificat flight back to valley far below. The hang glider days are long gone but the views are as good as ever so you'll want to get up there, take it all in, and imagine yourself taking a leap of faith and flying off the mountain.
Hang Glider View is a spot nestled along the Appalachian Trail in Falls Village, CT. Sitting on high the western views here are classic southern New England - rolling hills off in the distance, open fields, forests, farmland, cozy houses dotted about, and a glimpse of the world reknowned Lime Rock Racetrack. Getting up there will take some energy as it's a good little hike with some steep sections but at least it's easy to get there - hop on the Appalachian Trail at the intersection of Routes 7 and 112 and head south, following the A.T. white hash marks, until you come upon the old wooden hang glider ramp.
Though Hang Glider View is the obvious highlight of this hike, there are several smaller overviews along the way that are terrific...just enough to keep you inspired to make it all the way to the ramp. It's not a marathon hike but you can plan for one hour in, one hour back...give or take a half hour depending upon what kind of shape you're in. Along with the picturesque views the thick forest cover creates a peaceful sanctuary at various points along the trail. At times, the massive pine trees all bundled together will bring you into some cool, dark spots even during the brightest days of the year. The sunlight trying to shine through the thick canopy will produce a golden glow underneath the pine tree tops.
This trail is well known to locals and A.T. thru-hikers so the path is well maintained, worn, and properly marked. Some sections are rocky with loose stones but overall the trail is clear and smooth. However, danger lurks on this particular stretch of the A.T. You must keep your eyes open for rattlesnakes...yes, that's right...there are some rattlesnakes in extreme northwest Connecticut and this is one of those isolated places were they exist. Though I'd be shocked if you actually saw one, let alone found yourself within striking distance, I put together this page which you should read before going on a hike here. It has basic info on rattlers and will help you see there's no reason at all to be afraid to hike because of a fear of these snakes. The page also has links to other websites with more in depth information on Timber Rattlesnakes. I've never seen a rattler in all my years of hiking and seriously doubt you will (though I did see an old shedded snakeskin that was clearly a Timber snake). But in case you do have an encounter, now you'll have an idea what to do...or not to do.
Eventually you'll make your way to Hang Glider View and you can't miss the spot since where else would you find a huge wooden ramp suddenly appearing in the middle of the woods! The views are great and especially nice at sunrise or dusk (although don't linger for an entire sunset or you'll be hiking back in darkness and that's never a good idea...but especially true in a place where rattlers live...and in summer they come out at night to hunt and try avoid the hot summer day hours). Rolling hills, open fields, thick forests frames out the scene here and down to the right you can clearly see the far end of Lime Rock Racetrack which adds an intriguing element to the scene. So, suck up your fear of snakes because there really is no need to be afraid and head on up to the forest and views at Hang Glider View. I promise that it will be well worth the effort!
Directions: The trailhead for Hang Glider is right at the intersection where Routes 7 and 112 meet in Falls Village, CT. Just north, a few hundred feet, of the gas station is a dirt parking lot right off Route 7 with plenty of spaces for hikers (a cornfield and farm are right across the street). The white hash marks of the Appalachian Trail are easily seen and you just follow the trail down to the Housatonic River and walk along its banks as the Appalachian Trail bends back around to Route 7. You cross over Route 7 (careful!...watch at for fast cars) and the trail dips into the woods again and begins to wind up the mountain. Follow the Appalachian Trail all the way to Hang Glider View. Don't park in the gas station.
Printable version of the Hang Glider View page
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