Gillette Castle Connection

GCClogo2010For outdoor enthusiasts! The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat offers a unique hiking experience to Gillette Castle, home of the late William Gillette, famous for his stage portrayal of Sherlock Holmes.

Hiking Adventure

Gillette Castle Connection hikers enjoy a 30-minute train ride through the beautiful Connecticut River Valley. Next, passengers detrain at the Hadlyme Flagstop for a short walk to the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry. The Ferry transports passengers to the base of Gillette Castle State Park for a hike up a hill of moderately graded trails to one of Connecticut’s most famous destinations. Total hiking/walking distance is approximately 3/8 mile each way, or 3/4 mile roundtrip. The entire trip (train ride / walk to ferry / ferry ride / hike up hill to castle) takes about an hour each way.

This hiking adventure is recommended for those in good health, with average hiking skills, and appropriate footwear/clothing. It is not suitable for families with small children or strollers due to the hiking terrain.

The Gillette Castle Connection is available to hikers on operating days of the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat, May 24 – October 13, 2014.  This hiking connection is available on 2 outbound trains: 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Hikers return to Essex Station on either the 2:00 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. train. In order to ensure that hikers board the return train on time, the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat will provide a map and train schedule at Essex Station. Please note that train tickets do not include fees for the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry ($2 per person, each way, in 2014) and the Gillette Castle tour, if desired.

The availability of this program is contingent upon the operation of the Chester / Hadlyme Ferry Service, operated by the State of Connecticut Department of Transportation.

North Bound
(Departs Essex Station)
Train & Boat Train Only Train Only
Train Departs 11:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m. 12:30 p.m.
De-Train / Chester 11:30 a.m. 11:30 a.m. 1:00 p.m.
State Ferry & Park Hike approx. 40 minutes approx. 40 minutes approx. 40 minutes
Arrive Gillette Castle 12:10 p.m. 12:10 p.m. 1:40 p.m.
South Bound
(Departs Castle Grounds)
Train & Boat Train Only Train Only
Depart Castle 1:45 p.m. 1:45 p.m. 3:15 p.m.
Hike & Ferry approx. 40 minutes approx. 40 minutes approx. 40 minutes
Board Train / Chester 2:25 p.m. 2:25 p.m. 3:55 p.m.
Board Boat 2:40 p.m. N/A N/A
Board Train / Deep River 4:00 p.m. N/A N/A
Arrive Essex Station 4:35 p.m. 3:05 p.m. 4:35 p.m.

Note: Chester-Hadlyme Ferry runs as required. On the return trip, hikers must allow for possible waiting time for the Ferry. The train does not stop at the Ferry Road flagstop, unless hikers are there at the scheduled pickup time.

Fees

In addition to Essex Steam Train & Riverboat fares, tickets for the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry are $2.00 (subject to fare change by the CT Department of Transportation). Gillette Castle, interior tour fees: $6 for adults; $2 age 6-12, Age 5 and under Free.

The Gillette Castle Connection has limited availability per trip - be sure to arrive early, and call ahead if you have a large group.