Pets allowed
Allowed
Guided tours
No
Backcountry camping
No
Lodging
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Pinchot Sycamore is the largest tree in Connecticut and the largest sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) in New England. While a 1965 memorial in front of the tree lists its circumference as 23 feet, 7 inches, the latest measurement by the Connecticut Botanical Society in 2016 recorded its trunk to be over 28 feet (8.5 meters) around and its height to be over 100 feet (30 meters). Located on the east bank of the Farmington River near the town of Simsbury and the Heubelin Tower, its canopy spreads over 120 feet (37 meters), and it’s estimated to be over 200 years old, with some claiming that it’s more than 300 years old.

Its name is in honor of Gifford Pinchot (1865-1964), who was an influential conservationist born in Simsbury. This prominent figure was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt as the nation’s first Chief of the U.S. Forestry Service. Gifford Pinchot also served as the Governor of Pennsylvania for two terms. In addition to this tree, Gifford Pinchot State Park in the state of Pennsylvania and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in the state of Washington are also named for him.

There is a dirt boat launch area where small craft can enter the river, and you can regularly see kayakers paddling by in the summer months.  Occasionally swimmers will also take a dip in the river under the Route 185 bridge crossing. In 1997, the town installed floodlights to complete a night lighting project around the tree.

The north end of the Park is bordered by the Powder Mill Brook. There is a kiosk with some more information about the region, and close by is a second very large but overshadowed tree called the Linn-Baker sycamore. Most notable for his role as Larry Appleton in the sitcom Perfect Strangers, Mark Linn-Baker graduated high school in Wethersfield, Connecticut, and co-founded the Open Stage Theater in Hartford.

As of 2009, the Pinchot Sycamore is tied with a tree in Bath County, Virginia, as the second-largest American sycamore in the United States, with the champion being in Ashland, Ohio. Outdoor adventurers can also enjoy the nearby Penwood State Park and Talcott Mountain State Park, located about 1.5 miles to the west on Route 185.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Spacious picnic area with river access.

Cons

Boat launch only for small craft. No barbecuing permitted.

Features

ADA accessible
Flushing toilets
Boat ramp(s)
Picnic tables
Old-growth forest
Fishing

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

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