I hiked Marion K.Wilcox Park in Bloomfield this past week. It was a gorgeous sunny 50 degree december day with 40 mph + winds blowing all day. Fortunately the lay out of the trails here kept me sheltered from the wind until I hit the summit.
This park is kind of hidden gem, not many people know about it as it is squirreled away in northern Bloomfield away from high traffic areas, near the intersection of 187 and 189. It is on Hoskins road in Bloomfield, about a mile on the righthand side. Keep a sharp eye out for the sign as it is more apparent heading north than heading south. There is a small parking lot at the bottom and then a tar path leads up to a meadow area and a yellow brick building, which is probably the park headquarters.
Cross the open field and at the end you will find a yellow blazed trail that splits initially left or right. I took the right branch, which gently climbs to the ridge and the Metacomet Trail with its blue blazes. You will cross a dirt road on the way up with a stop sign. Do not be deterred by this sign, simply cross the road and you will reach the ridge and Metacomet shortly where you will find an old chimney and a partially obscured overlook.
Continue on the Metacomet to the south and you will shortly reach a large rocky out cropping with views of the Farmington Valley, primarily Granby, Avon and most prominently down town Simsbury. Nearby you will see another yellow blazed trail heading down, this is the cliff trail and it will lead you back to the lower park.
I continued on the blue blazed Metacomet trail all the way to Penwood State Park, where a large rocky out cropping gave me even better views of the Farmington Valley and a really neat view of the southern Metacomet Ridge. About mid way to Penwood I encountered Wintonbury Road in Simsbury. Once you hit the pavement you can go either slightly uphill and continue on the Metacomet or you can go slightly down hill and go on a relatively flat trail that parallels the Metacomet at the base of the ridge. The lower trail would make an excellent cross-country ski or mountain bike trail in my opinion. This trail will eventually meet up with the Metacomet trail near what I think is Lake Louise. From here take the Metacomet trail up a stone stair case to the ridge and then circle back to Wintonbury Road and Wilcox Park which begins here again.
There are several other trails in the park a red blazed trail which I could not find and a dirt road which is in good shape and used for access to power lines which are extensive. On future visits I will explore these options more and probably bring my mountain bike or skis. Pray for snow.