"In the woods is perpetual youth" - Emerson
GUIDED HIKES: 1-2 north of NYC, 2-3 hours west of Boston (click here)
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Tarrywile Park




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Difficulty: Easy or Moderate

Main Attractions: Historic mansion and castle, scenic views, open fields, diverse ecosystems, mountain biking, picnic spots.

10 day forecast

Nearby Hikes:
Bear Mountain (Danbury)

Tarrywile Park is located very close to downtown Danbury and the athletic fields/activities of Roger's Park.  However, once you head out on one of several trail systems you are immediately transported into a picturesque rural setting.  Though right in the heart of the city and surrounded on three sides by crowded neighborhoods, the park is a great place to explore and experience hidden treasures. Numerous ponds, fields, wild flowers, birds, and orchards can be found as you make your way along any of the trails available to hikers.  Hikers will be sharing this park with mountain bikers, horseback riders, and lots of local folks who take advantage of the newly refurbished park.  The farther back you go into the countryside the less activity you will encounter.  Tarrywile is the perfect family place as there are plenty of activities and distractions for kids of all ages and the hikes are very manageable.

I attended Immaculate H.S. which is just across the street from Tarrywile.  I had no idea that it was a park; just thought it was a mansion with a huge backyard!  The city recently has done a fantastic job renovating the grounds and all the trails have been re-done or new ones blazed.  There are miles of trails that go way back into the woods/countryside and away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Check the large map in the upper parking for details or visit Tarrywile's official website to printout a copy to bring with you. If you're looking for a bit of an adventure follow the Mootry Peak Lookout trail for an overview and eventually hiking past the tall beacon that warns Danbury Airport pilots of the mountaintop.

Tarrywile Park has 537 acres of mostly dense forest and open fields, sprinkled with streams, ponds, and orchards.  Tarrywile Mansion and Hearthstone Castle are listed in the National Register of Historic Places and certainly add some nice "eye candy" to the whole experience. Hearthstone unfortunately is symbolic of what I personally believe what is so wrong with Danbury when it comes to nature/history. They think development first, natural beauty and preservation second - or endless red tape and indecision. There has got to be a way to make this unique structure a part of the hiking/walking tour experience beyond looking at a chain fence "no trespassing" moat, along with overgrown ivy/trees and broken windows. I was with my brother and his little son not too long ago when we came upon Hearthstone. My brother had a great idea...they should refurbish it and put on plays during the summer (Shakespearean plays would be ideal) and open it up to children of all ages to explore it, even if they had to charge a few bucks in order to keep an employee on duty at all times to prevent abuse of the castle. That spot has SO much potential to be truly one of the most unique spots within 50 miles. Frustrating but then again I've been complaining about this stuff forever so it's not surprising. That said, it's still worth the short walk up to check it out. It captures your imagination for sure. And Tarrywile Park is definitely a fantastic place to explore. I have to give credit where credit is due. And Tarrywile Mansion is also open to the public for use as a community center. Folks can rent out the mansion for various functions.

There are plans to create a gigantic trail system in this part of Connecticut. Ives Trail (named after CT's noted composer Charles Ives) will pass through much of western Danbury as well as a portion of Bethel. Tarrywile will be a centerpiece of this trail system. It's an ambitious undertaking but one that will surely inspire folks to get up off the couch and take in some fresh air. And it's very encouraging to hear of such a project and how well received it's been by not only nature enthusiasts but local politicians as well. Greater Danbury isn't exactly a hot bed of environmental preservation. The last 20 years has seen relentless development and suburban sprawl to the point of being absurd. So it's amazing that such a large trail system, designed to preserve what is left of undeveloped land, is beyond the proposal phase...it looks as though it will actually go through and on the fast track!

Directions: For those of you not familiar with Danbury your best bet is to take Interstate 84 into Danbury and get off exit 3 (Danbury Mall/Danbury Airport exit).  After taking exit 3 you'll be heading on Rt. 7 south for a short distance.  Get over into the right lane and go past the Danbury Mall exit and take the next exit for Danbury Airport (also known as Sugar Hollow Rd exit).  At the end of this exit, take a left, and then another left at the traffic light.  You're now on Wooster Heights Rd. and it immediately goes up a steep hill and past two industrial parks.  Follow Wooster Heights Rd. for couple of miles and take a sharp right onto Southern Boulevard.  (If you look closely at speed limit signs, stop signs, etc., you'll see small white signs for Tarrywile also posted.)  Take Southern Boulevard to Tarrywile Park.

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