Fall Colors · Views
A 2.7-mile (one-way) journey to arguably the best vista along the Appalachian Trail in Connecticut. The route winds up and through a lovely forest with a hemlock grove, across some minor rock ledges, and an open view of the Berkshires from Prospect Mountain.
It culminates at Rand's View, an out-of-place open grass field that looks out on the Berkshire Mountains and surrounding farmlands. On a sunny day, especially in autumn, it is almost disorienting to break through the tree line of a dense forest into this wide open expanse. The landscape is owned by the National Park Service and therefore protected, and is truly close to what the land was like a few hundred years ago.
Need to Know
Before heading back to your car, it is worth taking a few hundred foot stroll down the AT heading south as it winds past the Great Falls of the Housatonic River. The top of the falls has a man-made overflow, but still, it is extremely impressive to see at full flow.
Would make for an excellent trail run.
This is a simple route to navigate as it entirely follows the Appalachian Trail to Rand's View and back. The trailhead is very easy to spot as it is right across from parking at the Upper Falls Village Recreation Area lot (41.96369, -73.37222).
From the trailhead, it's a long but steady climb of about 800 feet in just under two miles to Mount Prospect. The first half mile or so of this section is fairly easy through woods and across a small but scenic open grass field. From here, the trail averages about 10% grade for the next 1.5 miles to the Mount Prospect viewpoint. There are some steep sections but just when you think you need a break it levels out for a bit before getting steep once again. This area also traverses some rocky ledges that can be slippery when wet or icy.
From Mount Prospect, the trail descends about 250 feet for 0.7 miles to Rand's View. The only potential wrong turn can happen at about overall mile 2.6, where a trail veers to the left towards the Limestone Shelter. It is clearly marked with signage and blue blazes, but if you are not paying attention it's easy to veer the wrong way.
From the sign it is only a few hundred yards to Rand's View. If the weather is nice, bring a blanket and have a picnic, you'll want to stay for as long as humanly possible before heading back to your vehicle.
Flora & Fauna
A mixed hardwood forest featuring oak, birch, elm, hickory, pine and young maple trees.
History & Background
This was not always a quiet section of forest. Not long ago charcoal was made here to feed the blast furnaces used to produce iron ore. The trailhead is also near the start of a 0.25-mile history trail featuring the industrial heritage of Falls Village.
Shared By: Lou Poulas