Lantern Hill

Posted By on June 10, 2014

Lantern Hill

2 miles, 2 mph

north stonington, connecticut

it seems nuts that this hike is practically in my backyard, yet i’ve never done it. or at least, i haven’t done it since i started this blog. i vaguely remember making the trip once, but that was quite a few years ago.

sunday’s trip was a guided hike that was part of connecticut trails weekend, and was led by a gentleman from the new england antiquities research association. it was fascinating. i learned about the geology of this distinctive hill (it’s the only quartz mountain in the world), and i learned about the archeology of it as well.

this 491-foot hill, called lantern hill or tar barrel hill locally, was known to native americans throughout the continent as serpent mountain. apparently even ancient toltec people from mexico would make the pilgrimage to visit the hill during astronomically significant times like solstices. and according to our guide, due to the significance of the area, there are many examples of native stone works throughout the southeastern connecticut/southwestern rhode island area. he showed us many of these ancient remnants, include horseshoe enclosures, chambers, and serpent effigy stone walls. due to the sensitive nature of these artifacts, i can’t reveal their exact locations, but they were not terribly far from our hike routes (we went on another hike with the same guide later in the day; i will blog about that hike separately). it was a fascinating trip.

our guide

our guide

here is our guide by a stone fire ring, which may have originally been a native stone cairn or enclosure. he pointed out the distinctive white stone, which is the quartz from which lantern hill is composed. this stone was mined starting as far back as 1870 for its silica.

alter platform

alter platform

it is surmised that this stonework may be an altar platform. it faces due east, and the stone of lantern hill rises up above it.

casino view

casino view

the hike was on mashentucket pequot property, and the foxwoods casino is in full view from this vantage point. many of the trails through here, in fact, all of the trails with the exception of the blue-blazed narragansett trail, are blazed and maintained by the pequots.

amazing view

amazing view

it’s a bit hard to see in this version of the photo, but you can see fisher’s island and montauk point off in the distance. see this link for a higher resolution version of the photo. that’s the silica quarry you see in the foreground. the hill has 2 peaks, and we were standing on the northern one. i have added this hike to the hikefinder.

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