Explore the trails
There are two trails on the Onion Mountain preserve, which unfortunately do not connect to each other at this time.
One trail is the blue trail, which starts from the Roaring Brook nature Center orange trail and continues up to the top of the ridge. Starting at the nature center on the east side of Gracey Road, follow the nature center orange trail which crosses a small Brook and makes a loop. Partway around the loop, the blue blazed trail heads east and zigzags up the slope to the top of the ridge.
The second trail is the blue-orange trail which branches off from the blue trail in the Onion Mountain Park in Simsbury. One can start that the main parking area for Onion Mountain parking at 71 W. Mountain Rd. in West Simsbury in follow the blue trail for approximately 1.8 miles until the blue-orange trail branches right; then continue approximately 0.6 miles to the top of the ridge. Alternatively start at the small parking pull off on the west side of W. Mountain Rd. just north of Lostbrook Road, then follow the blue trail 0.4 miles until the blue-orange trail branches left, then follow the trail approximately 0.6 miles to the top of the ridge.
- Blazes: Blue
- Duration: About 0.7 miles out and back, including the orange trail
- Difficulty: Moderate, with a steep section attaining the ridge
- Trailhead: Roaring Brook Nature Center, on the east side of Gracey road
- Features: A small brook, and magnificent view at the top of the ridge.
- Blazes: Blue and Orange
- Duration: About 2.0 miles out and back, if starting near Lostbrook Road. About 4 miles out and back if starting from Onion Mountain Park parking area.
- Difficulty: Challenging with a steep section attaining the ridge
- Trailhead: Onion Mountain Park, 71 W. Mountain Rd., West Simsbury or small pulloff near Lostbrook road
- Features: magnificent view at the top of the ridge
Directions & parking
Park in the main parking area at Onion Mountain Park, 71 W. Mountain Rd. in West Simsbury. In Google maps search for onion Mountain Park.
Alternatively, Park in the pull off along W. Mountain Rd. less than 1/10 of a mile north of Lostbrook Road
History of the property
In 1974, when the land trust only held two parcels of land, Andrew and Edith Yakemore began discussions about a gift of land in memory of their son. One challenge was that the property in question was landlocked. This access problem was solved when Mr. and Mrs. Longshaw Porritt donated an access corridor connecting the Yakemore property to Gracey Road. The gift of the two properties was completed in 1975: the combined properties are referred to as Yakemore-Porritt (sometimes Porritt-Yakemore).
The Stich property was acquired in 1992. It had been acquired by the town of Canton in 1985 in lieu of back taxes; the stewardship and ownership were transferred to the land trust in October 1992.
The Pratt (Nature Conservancy) parcel was acquired in 1993. This property had been preserved as open space and was owned by the Nature Conservancy but in 1993, they agreed to transfer the stewardship and ownership to CLCT. This 100-acre property borders Gracey Road on the west and the Stitch property on the east. This property contains part of a trap rock ridge and is home to the long-leafed bluet (Houstonia lonifolia), a flower on the state endangered species list.
The board began looking at the Arnold property in 2003 and completed acquisition in 2005 with help from the DEEP open space grant and with significant financial assistance from the Simsbury land trust. The eastern border of this 68-acre property is the Simsbury-Canton town line while the northern border abuts the Stitch property.
In late 2000, Walter Korder and Florence Bredahl gave the land trust a 90.5-acre parcel of land, located just east of Gracey Road, bordered on the north by the Pratt parcel and on the northeast by the Stitch parcel.
The land trust acquired the 15-acre Corey property in 2011. This property nicely filled in a notch, with Korder-Bredahl to the west, Stitch to the north and Arnold to the east.
In 2013, the Brewster family bifurcated their property and sold the western 5-acre portion to the land trust. This parcel is beautiful in its own right but it also nicely linked the Yakemore-Porritt parcel on its western border to the rest of the Onion Mountain properties at a point in the northeast corner.
In 2019, we completed a transaction that had been in the works for years, to transfer 10 acres of property from the Jepsen family to the land trust to meet open space requirements for a possible development. This parcel borders both Yakemore-Porritt and Brewster on its southern border and Arnold on its eastern border.