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Rail Trails in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Eastern New York

A scenic rock cut along the Hop River Trail, which extends from Manchester to Willimantic, is one of the appeals of this trail.

Rail Trails and Other Multi-Use Trails in Connecticut

Revised Jan. 12, 2021


Connecticut has one major paved rail trail, the Farmington Canal Trail, which extends from New Haven to Suffield at the Massachusetts border and beyond (with some interruptions requiring on-road diversons). The Farmington River Trail is a related trail that connects two sections of the Farmington River Trail.


The state has a series of shorter generally paved off-road trails, which are multi-use trails, but are NOT rail trails because they do not follow the path of a former railroad. These trails include the 14 mile Charter Oak Greenway, which parallels I-84 and I-384; the 4.5 mile Windsor Locks State Park Trail, which follows a towpath along the Connecticut River; the Middlebury Greenway, which is essentially a 4.4-mile wide sidewalk paralleling Rt. 64; the 5-mile long Quinnebaug River Trail; the 2.5 mile Derby Greenway/Ansonia Riverwalk, built on a flood control dike, and a few other small trails in scattered locations across the state. The Shoreline Greenway Trail from New Haven to Madison is still being developed, so it is not a viable option (in 2021) for those seeking a continuous, off-road route.


Connecticut has two major natural surface rail trails: the 50 mile Air Line Trail and the 20 mile Hop River State Park Trail, both in eastern Connecticut.

In western Connecticut, there are two shorter natural surface trails: the Pequonnock River Trail (which has some paved sections) extends about 16 miles through Trumbull, Monroe, Bridgeport, and Newtown, and the Larkin State Trail extends 10.7 miles from Naugatuck to Southbury.


I write this from the perspective of someone who has bicycled these trails. My comments would certainly apply to people who are walking and running them, excepting that a rough trail surface would be a minimal issue for people walking and running. In winter, the natural surface trails would be excellent for cross-country skiing. The paved trails may be plowed and I have no information as to what towns may plow their trail section.


My other perspective is that I prefer to bicycle along quiet roads because there is a certain monotony to following a narrow trail corridor with the potential for long straight-away sections, only modest changes in elevations, and generally little variance in the scenery. Along the road, there is there are typically twists and turns, along with climbs and descents, and ever-changing views that make the route far more interesting.


For a bicycling trail, people will tend to ride out and back, meaning they are seeing the same thing twice. When I use rail trails on group rides that I lead, I sometimes will include a road loop as part of the ride to break up this monotony. When riding along the road, particularly a road with a shoulder or bicycle lane, or a quiet backroad, there are no issues with dodging oncoming cyclists, pedestrians, dog walkers and unpredictable children on bicycles.


The major benefit of rail trails and dedicated bicycle trails is having a car-free experience (other than road crossings), which includes both the potential risk of getting hit by a vehicle, the noise generated by traffic, and the potential stink of diesel exhaust and fumes from older, poorly-maintained gas engines. Natural surface trails are likely to pass through wooded areas with fewer views of buildings and will generally be shady, making them cooler places to ride in summer.


These trails do have the risk of collisions with other riders, who may ride recklessly by passing too closely, squeezing through a group of riders at a fast pace, or riding side by side taking up most of the trail as they pass oncoming cyclists. This risk is greater along paved trails, which are usually busier than a natural surface trail as paved trails attract more adult cyclists, plus other users, including kids who ride unpredictably, the occasional skater, dogs on long leashes, and pedestrians who take up most of the trail width and do not step to the side when cyclists pass, forcing the cyclist to brake and wait for oncoming users to pass. 


The other consideration for cycling any paved trail is that as the pavement ages, it becomes less enjoyable and safe to ride. Tree roots will also push up the pavement, resulting in sharp bumps that could potentially knock a rider off balance. Pavement will also typically spread apart resulting in a series of cracks that cause a bumpy ride. Finally, some of the paved trails have long sections with little shade, resulting in a hot riding experience in the summer.


For natural surface trails, the ride experience is greatly determined by how well the trail is constructed and maintained. The ideal surface is stone dust that is rolled and compacted, which creates a smooth riding experience. Trails may sometimes have gravel of varying sizes on the surface, which is less desirable as gravel gives a rougher ride. The ballast that may remain from an unimproved railroad bed can also result in a rough ride. Older trail sections that are not maintained well may have a washboard surface or washouts that requires use of a mountain bike. They may also have sand patches where the stone dust has been loosened and it is easy to skid and possibly fall when the front tire gets caught in a sand patch.


Information Disclaimer: This document details the status of rail trails at the time it was written, based on the information I had available at that time. Details on construction are often based on newspaper articles that I come across or people bring to my attention. Official rail trail websites can sometimes be slow to update to reflect changes, particularly the websites maintained by the state of Connecticut. Since some trails are still under construction, a process that can take years, you may use a trail and be pleasantly surprised to find that a new section has been completed.

Information on trail surfaces is based on what I experienced the last time I cycled that trail, which may date back a year or longer. 

At the time I revised this document in January 2021, I checked most links and they were valid. As part of that process, I had to update a number of links that had changed. It is reasonable to assume that links will change over time, so if a particular link does not work, do a search for the location to find the new link, if there is one.


The Rails to Trails Conservancy is a central location for rail trail information:

Trail information (free registration required):


This link has a list of Connecticut trails with suggestions for parking and access. This information is far from complete and some of it is not accurate (such as saying the Air Line Trail North is too rough for bicyclists. Some parts are unfinished, but others have good stone dust):


If you use Google maps, click on “stacked lines” for the Menu on the left of the search box and click on “Bicycling” to see bicycle trails highlighted in green:


Four state rail trails have information on the site the Connecticut Rail Trail Explorer (Air Line, Hop River, Larkin, and Moosup Valley):


The East Coast Greenway Alliance has map that provides an overview of Connecticut’s trails that are used by the greenway, but excludes others, such as the Larkin State Park Trail, and the Pequonnock River Trail:



Bike It or Hike It is a comprehensive website of bicycle trails in Connecticut and other states created by volunteers. This website includes all the details someone would need to know about a trail:


The state of Connecticut has a document from 2015 listing trail projects planned, some of which happened in 2017. The dates for these projects were projected at the time this document was prepared, and may not reflect what is actually happening:


This Jan. 2017 article from the Connecticut Mirror gives an overview of the plans:


Rail Trails in Connecticut


Farmington Canal Trail

New Haven to Suffield (with interruptions), 57.3 miles (with 47.3 miles constructed), paved

Connecticut has one main rail trail that is paved, which is the Farmington Canal Trail that runs from New Haven to Suffield Conn., for 57.3 miles with interruptions.

The trail continues for another 24.7 miles in Massachusetts to Northampton, Mass. (with interruptions). Trails include the Southwick Rail Trail, 6.4 miles to the Westfield, Mass. town line, and the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail for 2 miles within Westfield, is an almost 9 mile gap from Westfield through Southampton to Easthampton.


The Farmington Valley Trails Council advocates for the canal trail in central and northern Connecticut, including (roughly north to south) Suffield, Granby, East Granby, Simsbury, Avon, Farmington, and Plainville, plus the Farmington River Trail in Simsbury, Canton, Burlington, and Farmington. There are many parking lot and access points. Visit these websites for these details. Website:

The Farmington Canal Rail to Trail Association advocates for the Farmington Canal Trail southern section (north to south): Southington, Cheshire, Hamden, and New Haven. They both use the same website noted above.


As a paved trail, the Farmington Canal Trail is popular and those using the trail on a good weather weekend day will have plenty of company, particularly from later morning to later afternoon (roughly 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). The further one gets from a population center or parking area, the quieter the trail will be.

I am most familiar with the trail from Hamden to Southington. The Cheshire section is the best part because it has the fewest road crossings, although too much of the trail in Cheshire, particularly the part north of Route 68 has little shade. The Hamden section north of the Wilbur Cross Parkway is a close second, in part because it is fairly shady. The trail south of the parkway down into New Haven has many, many road crossings. The Southington trail section has many road crossings, views of industrial buildings, and too little shade. 

News media has reported occasional muggings on the trail in the Newhallville section of New Haven, so be careful when riding in New Haven. Riding with a group is suggested. Other people have told me they have ridden through this area with no issue. I rode through there once, and had no problem, but caution is still advised during the trail section.


Farmington Canal Trail Construction Status

The trail in Farmington is complete, thanks to the July 2017 installation of a new bridge over Route 6, which was dedicated in May 2018, work that included extending the trail from Red Oak Hill Road to Northwest Drive on the Farmington-Plainville border. From Farmington the canal trail continues north mostly uninterrupted to the Massachusetts border.


As of October 2020, the southern section of the trail is complete for 23 miles from Temple Street in New Haven to Lazy Lane in Southington. The section between Cornwall Avenue to Routes 68/70 in Cheshire opened on Sept. 9, 2018.

The only major gap remaining in the trail is from Lazy Lane in Southington to Northwest Drive on the Farmington-Plainville border, a gap of about 5 miles.


About 4.6 miles of the trail are complete in Southington from the Cheshire line to Lazy Lane in Southington. Plans are underway to complete the remaining 2 miles of the trail in Southington to Town Line Road on the Southington-Plainville border. 

In a January 2021 newspaper article, the Southington assistant director of public works said the trail design and review was in the final stages. The town hopes to put the construction project out to bid by the end of 2021. In its 2019-2023 Capital Improvement Plan, the state DOT indicated the project cost would be $3,281,000, and appeared to indicate this moneywas allocated for fiscal year 2019. The spreadsheet does not state if this is a wish list or if the money has actually been allocated.


The “trail” in Plainville is an active rail line, and the preferred alternative is a 5.3-mile route that is almost entirely off-road. If it followed the railroad bed, the trail would be about 3 miles in Plainville. In February 2018, the Plainville Town Council accepted the final report of the Gap Closure Study. The estimated price is $14.4 million with a projected five-year timeline for construction.

According to an article in the Waterbury Republican American, the State Bond Commission approved $3.8 million to design this section. The project will be constructed in two phases: Phase One construction might start in 2022, extending from the current trail at Northwest Drive south to West Main Street. Phase Two construction might start in 2023-2024, and would extend from West Main Street to Town Line Road at the Southington border.

There are also plans for a 3.9-mile connection to the CTfastrak station and path in New Britain.

This is the official website for the Gap Closure Study:


There are also plans to close the gap in New Haven:

In its 2019-2023 Capital Improvement Plan, the state DOT indicated the project cost would be $7,493,277, and appeared to indicate $5,994,631 was allocated for fiscal year 2019. The spreadsheet does not state if this is a wish list or if the money has actually been allocated.


In Avon, there is a 1.8 mile gap in the trail that requires a series of diversions along roads where the trail is a wide sidewalk. The gap exists from Fisher Drive, east of Route 202 to Security Drive south of Route 202. Closing this gap would require erecting a long bridge to span Route 202, plus reclaiming developed properties along the way.

In Simsbury, there is a 0.9 mile gap in the trail that involves following a wide sidewalk along Route 202 south of Drake Hill Road.


The Farmington River Trail isa related trail that is 17 miles long (15 miles of which are paved), which extends from the junction of the Farmington Canal Trail at Red Oak Hill Road in Farmington to the junction of the canal trail at Routes 202 and 309 in Simsbury. The river trail is nearly continuous from Red Oak Hill Road to the junction of Routes 177 and 202 in Canton near the Avon border. A 2.4-mile long on road section connects to West Mountain Road in Simsbury. About 2 of the 3 miles in this final section are gravel woods trails (from West Mountain Road to Town Forest Road, and from Stratton Brook Road to Route 309 in Simsbury). These gravel sections are acceptable, even for a road bike. Information on the river trail may be found on the Farmington Valley Trails Council website.



Air Line State Park Trail

Air Line Trail South, East Hampton to Willimantic, 23.5 miles, stone dustsurface

The stone dust on this trail is suitable for a hybrid bicycle. There is a 1-mile paved section in Willimantic where the Air Line Trail connects to the Hop River Trail.

Air Line State Park Trail state website with maps:


Parking:  Near the western end of the trail, the trailhead at 90 Smith St., East Hampton is an excellent starting location with room for about 15 cars.

Directions: I-91 to Rt. 66 East to Rt. 16 East for 3 miles. Left on Smith St. for 0.9 miles, then right into the trailhead parking lot.

Another good starting location is the Park and Ride (also known as a commuter parking lot) at Route 2, Exit 16, 29 Westchester Road (Rt. 149), Colchester. There is room for 50 cars at this lot.

If you start from this parking lot, and head east, it is 12.6 miles to the junction with the Hop River Trail and 13.6 miles to the end of the trail in Willimantic. An advantage of starting at Rt. 2 is that you do not have the steady uphill climb with 200 feet of elevation gain over 5 miles that you have when you start at the Smith Street trailhead. 

At the eastern end of the Air Line Trail South is parking lot with 17 spaces (including two handicap-accessible spaces), located near the shopping center at 75 Bridge St., Willimantic. From Rt. 66 in Willimantic, head south on Rt. 32 (Bridge Street) and just after crossing the railroad tracks, turn right into the driveway where there is a small green sign for “Bike Path” and a larger sign for the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum. Drive one-tenth of a mile and the parking is on the left.

There are small parking areas at most road crossings, usually suitable for about 5 cars.


Trail Notes: The trail is a mixture of a hard-packed stone dust surface along with natural dirt with loose rocks. There are some sections where the drainage ditch along the trail has filled with leaves and rocks, and during heavy rains, water floods across the trail, leaving ruts. A hybrid bicycle is well suited to this trail.

The route from East Hampton to Lebanon has about 700 ft. of elevation gain or 18 ft. of elevation gain per mile. The route is a steady descent from Smith St. to the Salmon River bridge, then a steady climb to Leonard Bridge Rd., and then a steady descent to the Willimantic River. All climbs are mild with about a 1 percent average grade.

The trail currently extends 3.0 miles west from the Smith St. trailhead, to within 1,500 feet of the new 0.7-mile section accessed from Depot Hill Road. The trail has a steady descent from 480 ft. of elevation at Smith Street to 345 ft. of elevation under the Rt. 66 tunnel. The 0.25-mile section in between this section and the Portland section is a running stream.

Part of the trail to Main Street in East Hampton involves a boardwalk with switchbacks that is a bit tiresome for cyclists to navigate. At Main Street, there is a small sign indicating how to connect to the section of trail on the other side of Main Street. When heading west from Smith Street, turn right on Main Street, cross at the light at the next road (Barton Hill Road), and walk through the fire department parking lot to pick up the trail. The connection is more obvious when walking east because the ramp downhill from the zig-zag section is easy to see.

The state maps for the rail trail, which were last updated in 2015, do not show the segment west of Main Street, as of January 2021.

A new stone dust surface was laid down on the trail from Smith Street to Bull Hill Road in October 2020.


This Jan. 7, 2019, article discusses the latest trail projects:

This link briefly mentions the status of the plans to close the gap in East Hampton:


This is a GPS track for a 39 mile out and back trip from East Hampton to the Willimantic River, ridden at a time prior to the construction of the bridge over the river:

This is a GPS track for a 35 mile out and back trip, which includes riding to the end of the trail in Willimantic, and returning to the start before heading west and doing a return loop through the Salmon River State Forest, which allows riders to pass under the impressive stone bridge along River Road:

Of course people can select their choice of distance to ride by turning around at any point.


Air Line Trail

Portland and East Hampton, 3 miles, stone dust surface

Portland opened its 2.3-mile section of the Air Line Trail in June 2018 with plans to extend west toward the Arrigoni Bridge. The trail extends from the Depot Hill Road on the Portland/East Hampton (Cobalt) border west to the YMCA Camp Ingersoll property.

There is a 0.7-mile section in East Hampton that currently can only be accessed from Depot Hill Rd.


Parking: There is aparking area for about 15 cars at 26 Depot Hill Rd., East Hampton (Cobalt). My car GPS did not recognize this address when I used East Hampton, but did recognize it when I used Cobalt.

Directions: From Middletown, take Rt. 66 East for 5 miles. Left on Depot Hill Rd. for 0.2 miles to the trailhead on the right. From the east, Rt. 2, Exit 13 to Rt. 66 East for 7.8 miles. Right on Depot Hill Rd. for 0.2 miles to the trailhead on the right.


There is a parking area at 82 Middle Haddam Rd. in Portland, which has room for about 10 cars. This parking area is 0.4 miles south of the trail. There is a switchback path that ascends steadily to the trail with a total elevation gain of about 30 feet.

Directions: From Middletown, take Rt. 66 East for 3 miles. Left on Middle Haddam Rd. for 0.4 miles to the trailhead on the left. From the east, Rt. 2, Exit 13 to Rt. 66 East for 9.5 miles. Right on Middle Haddam Rd for 0.2 miles to the trailhead on the left.


Trail Notes: The trail is a hard-packed stone dust surface with brief paved ramps at the road crossings where there is a slight hill at the intersection. The finished portion of the trail abruptly ends in the woods by the YMCA camp. The trail is a steady downhill from Depot Hill Road to the end by the YMCA camp, other than slight ups and downs at some road crossings. The change in elevation is from roughly 300 ft. at Depot Hill Rd. to 160 ft. by the YMCA camp. This section of the East Hampton trail has a mild 40 ft. rise in elevation from Depot Hill Rd. to where it ends.

There are two impressive stone arch bridges under the trail. One allows Great Hill Pond Brook to flow under the trail, and the other carries the trail over Middle Haddam Road. At 0.6 miles from Depot Hill Rd., turn right on the Yellow Trail into the Taylor Palmer Preserve. At the next trail junction in 0.1 miles, turn left on the Red Trail and walk 0.3 miles to the bridge. The trail crosses Middle Haddam Rd. 1.35 miles from Depot Hill Road. After crossing the bridge, there is a moderate slope on the right side down to the road. Walk down the slope to (carefully) view the bridge, as the sightlines are limited for drivers coming through the arch.


This link is a PowerPoint of the trail plans in Portland:

This link is an overview of the trail map, both existing and planned, from Cheshire to East Hampton.

Portland section map:

Portland section Facebook page:

Trail article:


Air Line Trail North

Willimantic to Pomfret, 20 miles, mostly stone dust surface

Parking: At the Willimantic end of the trail, parking options are limited. I suggest parking at Charles H. Barrow STEM Academy, 141 Tuckie Rd., North Windham during non-school hours. From the school, turn left on Tuckie Road for 1.3 miles to reach the trail by Route 6. Turn right on the trail to head east to Pomfret or cross Route 6 to head west into Willimantic.

In the middle of this trail section, park at James L. Goodwin State Forest, 23 Potter Road, off Route 6 in Hampton. From the parking lot, turn left to head north to the trail, which is about a third of a mile away.

At the eastern end of this section, good parking is available atPomfret Station, 13 Railroad Ave., Pomfret, a dead end road off Rt. 169, just north of the junction with Rt. 44. This paved parking area has 20 parking spaces, along with an information kiosk, and a portable toilet. There are also a few gravel parking spaces available at the trail crossing at Rt. 169. Limited parking may be available at various trail crossings.

Trail Notes: This trail has a smooth, stone dust in most areas, excepting a rough 3.3-mile long section with loose rocks over dirt from Potter Road to 0.3 miles east of Old Griffin Road in Hampton. The 2.4-mile Veterans Greenway extending east from Willimantic to about half a mile east of Routes 6 and 66 is the only paved section of the trail.

From Routes 6 and 66 in Windham to the eastern end of Goodwin State Forest, the trail is a steady climb from 300 ft. to 670 ft. of elevation over the 9-mile distance. From this point about 0.3 miles, the trail descends fairly steadily to 380 ft. of elevation at Pomfret Station over the 10-mile distance.

The original railroad bridges and tunnels are missing along this section of the trail, so some approaches to road crossings are steep with loose sand and gravel, so it may be best to walk these short sections. At some crossings there is barely enough room to ride around the gate, so caution is advised. 

An interesting extension to this ride is to follow the dirt woods roads through the forest off Griffin Road. Map:

GPS track of a 39-mile ride from Willimantic to Putnam with an option for a partial return along the road:
GPS track of a 21-mile ride from Pomfret, looping through the Goodwin State Forest:


Air Line Trail North

Unimproved Trail Section: Pomfret to Putnam, 4 miles

Missing Section, Putnam to Thompson, about 2.5 miles

There is a 4-mile unimproved section on the trail from Routes 44/169 in Pomfret to Riverside Drive in Putnam. There is also a missing section of about 2.5 miles between Riverside Drive, Putnam, and Route 12 in Thompson. A road bypass of the Pomfret to Putnam section is shown on the trail maps available on the state website. The Scenic Bypass is 8.4 miles long, while the Putnam Bypass is 10.6 miles long. The state does not have a specific route mapped to connect Putnam to Thompson.

Construction started in spring 2020 on a plan to extend a sewer line under the trailbed from Pomfret to Putnam. When completed, the refurbished trail will be open to the public with a bridge over Routes 44/169 and Needles Eye Road and a culvert under River Road, Modock Road and Holmes Road. This section of trail is closed for construction, so it is best to wait for the work to be completed and the trail reopened to the public.

Plans are underway to complete this section by late 2020 or into 2021:

In October 2018, I also rode northeast from Pomfret Center on my hybrid bicycle. The trail in this section was dramatically different than southeast of Route 44. The bridge across Route 44 was missing, so it was a steep descent from the parking lot to Rt. 44, and then a steep climb back up to the railroad bed over loose rocks.

The trail was fairly passable from Rt. 169 to Needles Eye Road with a bumpy, narrow track and a few soft spots. One side of the original bridge abutment was visible on Needles Eye Road where the trail has a sharp descent to the road, and is best walked.

The trail deteriorated rapidly from Needles Eye Road to Wrights Crossing Road with many sections that had ankle-deep tire sucking mud that was difficult to ride through without getting stuck. The trail official ends on the state map at Wrights Crossing Road in Pomfret. I continued on the next half mile to Holmes Road, Pomfret Center where the tire-sucking mud sections increased, and the last few hundred feet to Holmes Road was under several inches of water.

Someone had built a trail off to the south side on higher ground to get through the flooded section. Plant growth was much thicker in this area, which added to the challenge of using this section. The distance from Railroad Avenue to Holmes Road is 1.7 miles with minimal elevation changes.

At Holmes Road, I could not see the railroad bed heading north from that point. The path was faintly visible on the satellite view, extending to the Quinnebaug River and the Putnam River Trail at Kennedy Drive in Putnam. I imagine the trail is quite rough and probably impassable in this section.


Air LineTrail North

Thompson, 7 miles, stone dust and natural surface

The final section of the Air Line Trail in Connecticut extends from Route 12 in Thompson for 7 miles where it continues into Massachusetts as the Southern New England Trunkline Trail (SNETT). The SNETT extends for 22 miles from the Douglas State Forest to the Franklin State Forest.

Southern New England Trunkline Trail website with map:

Parking: The trailhead is at 125 Riverside Dr. (Rt. 12), Thompson.The gravel parking lot is near a house with a four-car garage. There is room to park about 15 to 20 cars here.

Trail Notes: In Aug. 2020 when I rode it, the Air Line Trail has a stone dust surface for about five of the seven miles. From Lowell Davis Road to Sand Dam Road, which is mile 3.6 to 5.9 from the Riverside Drive trailhead, the trail surface is mostly dirt with loose stones, but there is a section that is covered with 1.5-inch gravel. From Thompson Road to where the trail passes under I-395, from mile 0.6 to mile 4, the Air Line Trail parallels the interstate, but the noise levels are moderate. The rest of the trail passes through a wooded area with few houses.

Some of the road crossings are in locations where there once must have been a bridge or a culvert because the trail has a slope to the road crossing that is eroded with loose dirt and rocks. Be careful when cycling at these slippery approaches.

I rode the SNETT until Chocolog Road, which is 10 miles from Connecticut. TheSouthern New England Trunkline Trail had various rough surfaces, including dirt with loose stones, a layer of 1.5-inch gravel, loose sand, seemingly endless dips created by ATVs, and rarely a good stone dust surface that did not last for long. Due to the rough surfaces, a mountain bike is recommended. The SNETT passes through a pretty set of woods, and along an extensive bog and a lake at one point, but it was hard to enjoy the scenery when I was riding over a rough surface for 10 miles.

The trail is uphill the first 10 miles (elev. 340 to elev. 600), then downhill to mile 17.1 (elev. 350). The Air Line Trail has an elevation gain of 420 feet and a descent of 290 feet over its 7 miles. This section of the SNETT has 570 feet of elevation gain and 690 feet of descent.

GPS track for this segment:


The Air Line Trail crossing of East Thompson Road by Sand Road, 5.9 miles from Riverside Drive is the location of a train wreck on Dec. 4, 1891, the only train collision ever to involve four trains:

At mile 6.9, the trail passes under a bridge that locals call the cow or cattle bridge because local farmers are believed to have built the bridge so they could move their cows over the railroad line. I could not find any articles on this topic. In Aug. 2020, the planks were heavily rotted and some were missing.

There is a man-made slightly underground stone structure called a “hermit cave” on private land near the Air Line Trail. The cave is located near the cow bridge that crosses the trail 0.3 miles west of the Connecticut-Massachusetts border. The cave is east of the cow bridge and can be found about 200 feet in the woods on the north side of the Air Line Trail.

The tri-state marker at the junction of the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island borders is 0.3 miles south of the Air Line Trail at the junction with the SNETT, and can be accessed by a hiking trail.

This is an interesting video highlighting the train wreck, the cattle bridge, the hermit cave and the tri-state marker:



Hop River State Park Trail

Manchester to Willimantic, 20 miles, stone dust and natural surface

Stone dust surface in Vernon and Bolton; natural surface in other towns. The last half-mile in Willimantic is paved to the connection with the Air LineTrail.

A hybrid bicycle is a suitable choice along this trail, which has a stone dust surface.

State website:


Parking: At the western end, the trailhead is at 180 Colonial Rd., Manchester, off I-84 Exit 63. There are other parking locations at the numerous trail crossings, with larger parking lot at Church Street in Vernon, and at Bolton Notch off Rt. 44 in Bolton. A new parking lot has been constructed on Route 66 in Willimantic, near the newly-decked bridge over the Willimantic River.

Directions to Colonial Road: I-84 East to Exit 63. Left on Rts. 30/83. Next right on Parker St. and go 0.9 miles. Left on Colonial Rd. IMMEDIATE left into parking lot. I-84 West to Exit 63. Right on Rt. 30 and go straight to merge with Rts. 30/83. Right on Parker St. for 0.9 miles. Left on Colonial Rd. IMMEDIATE left into parking lot.

Trail Notes: The Hop River Trail is my favorite rail trail in Connecticut due to the ever-changing scenery and views that include the rock cut in Bolton Notch and the Hop River and Willimantic River in eastern Connecticut. Slightly off trail, there is a cascade and a view of a beautiful bridge under the trail at Burnap Brook in Andover.

The trail is hard-packed stone dust from Taylor Rd. in Vernon to Kings Road in Coventry. The exception is a semi-rough gravel section west of Bolton Notch for about half a mile where the trail gets washed out by water from the adjacent stream. The trail has 900 ft. of climbing or 23 ft. per mile. The ride starts at 225 ft. of elevation in Manchester and climbs to 630 ft. of elevation at mile seven at Bolton Notch, dropping to 245 ft. of elevation in Willimantic. On the return trip, the trail climbs to Bolton Notch, and is downhill the rest of the way to Manchester.

The trail has a short interrupted section from Kings Road to Flanders Road in Columbia due to a closed and unsafe bridge over the Hop River. The Conn. DOT announced plans to rehabilitate this section of the trail, which includes replacing the bridge over the Hop River and doing other improvements to the section between Kings Road and Flanders Road. The work is expected to be completed in 2022. Until this work is completed, follow Kings Road to Flanders Road for an easy and low traffic connection to the final section from Flanders Road to the Air Line Trail.

A concrete deck has been installed on the existing railroad bridge over the Willimantic River and was opened in September 2019. At that time, the trail still needed to have a stone dust surface laid down from Flanders Road to the bridge, which will be part of the other construction project. This surface is bumpy with portions of railroad ties still embedded in the dirt. East of the bridge, the trail is paved to the existing trail section that connects to the Air Line Trail. This directly connects the Hop River Trail to the Air Line Trail. 

GPS overview at



Larkin State Park Trail

Naugatuck to Southbury, 10.7 miles; natural surface

A mountain bike is the best choice for this trail due to the rough nature of the trail surface.

State website:


Best Parking: The best parking location for the trail is at the east end of the trail in Naugatuck on Rt. 63 (820 Church St., Naugatuck, Conn).Thegravel parking lot holds 20 cars. From this lot, the trail is up a short, steep hill with loose gravel at the north end of the parking lot. Riding this hill is nearly impossible, between the steepness and the lack of traction, so it is best to walk up to the trail, then turn left at the top.

Directions to the Naugatuck parking area: Route 8, Exit 28. Turn left at the end of the exit and then left again to Rt. 68 West. Follow to Rt. 63 North. Turn right on Rt. 63 North and go 1 mile. Look for sign “Larkin State Bridle Trail” (the former name of the trail). The parking lot is on the left. From I-84, Exit 17, take Rt. 63 South. Just past Waterbury/Naugatuck line, lot is on right side. 


Other Parking:

There is parking for 10 cars in a very narrow gravel parking lot on the east side of 90 Strongtown Road, (Route 188), Southbury, two miles south of I-84, Exit 16 and 0.15 miles north of the junction with Route 67. While it may be tempting to park in the wide lot by the garage building, that is private property.

The only other trail crossing with much parking is on the west side of Riggs Street in Oxford by the junction with Prokop Road and Towantic Hill Road where 10 cars could be parked. 

From east to west, these are the other parking options: There is one spot at the Allerton Road, Naugatuck, two spots at South Street, Middlebury, three spaces at Christian Street, Oxford, four spaces at Hawley Road, Oxford, and four spaces at Pope Road, Oxford.


There is no parking at these road crossings: Shadduck Road, Naugatuck; Wooster Road, Middlebury; Long Meadow Road and Towantic Hill Road, Oxford; Route 67 (Southford Road), Curt Smith Road, Jeremy Swamp Road, and Kettletown Road, Southbury. 


Although there is no parking at the end of the trail at Kettletown Road in Southbury, there is nearby parking for 25 cars at the commuter parking lot on the west side of Route 67, off I-84, Exit 15. However, getting to the trail requires navigating busy intersections with fast moving traffic. Parking here is NOT recommended because of the hazard of biking to the trail using busy roads through two major intersections, one of which is a highway interchange. The other reason is because the trail between Kettletown Road and the next road crossing, which is Jeremy Swamp Road, typically gets little use and is often overgrown with weeds.

For those who may wish to park at this lot, here are the directions to the trail via bike. From the parking lot, turn right on Route 67 South. In 0.1 miles, turn right at the traffic light on Kettletown Road and ascend the hill. In another 0.3 miles, the trail is on the left just past the traffic light for IBM. Use the push button for the non-existent crosswalk to cross the road. To access the trail, you will need to walk up the short, steep embankment, and navigate past the gate.


Trail Notes: The trail is entirely unpaved with a surface that is cinder or hard-packed dirt. Some trail sections have a washboard surface created by the horses’ hooves digging up the trail. Other sections have loose sand and gravel that are treacherous to bicycle. There are also some steep approaches to road crossings, so a mountain bike with suspension is recommended. The general rough condition of the trail makes it my least favorite rail trail in Connecticut for cycling (keeping in mind that I have not ridden a couple of the shorter trails in eastern Connecticut). A hybrid with its narrower, harder tires is likely to give an uncomfortably bouncy ride.

For walkers and runners, the trail surface is fine and certainly easier on the legs than pavement. There are some wet sections that might force pedestrians to turn around to keep dry feet.

One section between Longmeadow Rd., and Towantic Hill Rd., Oxford, is privately owned and unmaintained. There is usually water running across about a 0.2-mile section in this section of the trail.

The section between Route 67 and Curt Smith Road is washed out and has a surface of round, softball sized rocks is virtually unrideable and not much better to walk. The better option is to use Route 67 to bypass this section. Heading west on the trail, walk up the steep hill on the trail and turn right on Route 67 North, which is a busy road with a narrow shoulder, and go 0.3 miles. Left on Curt Smith Road for 0.1 miles, then right on the trail. When traveling east, turn left on Curt Smith Road, then turn right on Route 67 South for 0.3 miles. Dismount and walk the bike across Route 67 because you have to walk down the steep hill to the trail.

The section between Jeremy Swamp Road and Kettletown Road gets little use and is likely to be overgrown with tall weeds in warm weather.

Most road crossings are at grade level and have little traffic on them. Steep crossings with loose rocks and sand that are best walked include Towantic Hill Road, Route 67, and Jeremy Swamp Road. The Allerton Road crossing has a moderate grade that can be ridden.

From Rt. 63 heading toward Naugatuck, the trail is moderately to slightly uphill until about mile 5.7 (near Christian St.), and then is moderately to slightly downhill toward the end in Southbury. The route has 1,000 feet of total elevation gain or 50 ft. of climbing per mile.

To reach a store, from the trail at mile 8.20, turn left on Rt. 188 and descend to Rt. 67.

Trail views are generally of the woods with houses, industrial buildings, and roads sometimes showing through the trees. The trail passes through some areas with views of wetlands and small ponds. There are some short sections with rock cuts that are always interesting. In places, the trail rises well above the surrounding lowlands in areas where fill was used.

There will be definitely be people riding horses on the trail, so when on a bicycle, it is best to stop, move off to the size, and let the horses pass, so you do not scare them. The trail generally gets light to moderate use and is unlikely to ever feel crowded.

Map and GPX file at



Pequonnock River Trail (formerly known as the Housatonic Rail Trail)

Bridgeport, Trumbull, Monroe, and Newtown, paved and stone dust, 16 miles

The official website has information on parking and access, but does not have a printed map or guide available:

An overview map with a trail description is available at:

The long-standing section of trail extends for 10.6 miles in Trumbull, Monroe and Newtown. From Trumbull to Newtown, it is a natural surface trail with some short paved sections and some on-road sections totaling 3.2 miles of pavement and 6.8 miles of stone dust.

In December 2017, the gap in Trumbull narrowed with construction of a connection from Twin Brooks Park via Rocky Hill Road to the Quarry Road section built in 2014, which leads to Beardsley Park in Bridgeport. From Tait Road in Trumbull to Crown Street, Bridgeport, at the south end of Beardsley Park is 4 miles.


Construction Notes

The project to connect the trail from Tait Road to Twin Brooks Park in Trumbull was going out to bid in January 2019, but I have been unable to find any additional information on this section as the two official websites are not updated. The proposal calls for building the trail through the shopping center adjacent to the Pequonnock River, including construction of a bridge over the river to Twin Brooks Park.

For now, users can use local roads to make the connection by taking Tait Road to Daniels Farm Road to Laurel Street to Gregory Place to Manor Drive. Neighborhood opposition stopped a plan to make this the permanent connection.

Trumbull’s Plan of Conservation and Development from 2014 shows a rough map of the connection on page 35 (page 41 of the PDF) and some additional suggestions to enhance the trail on pages 82-84 (page 88-90  of the PDF):

In its 2019-2023 Capital Improvement Plan, the state DOT indicated the project cost for the final phase of the Trumbull section would be $1,545,600, and appeared to indicate $1,236,480was allocated for fiscal year 2019. The spreadsheet does not state this explicitly.


There are about 1.25 miles of trail along Housatonic Avenue in Bridgeport from Water Street to North Avenue that are paved, but is not linked to the Beardsley Park section of the trail, which now connections to the southern Trumbull section of the trail. This section is essentially a wide sidewalk. 

Plans for the 3-mile Bridgeport section of trail to connect Beardsley Park to Seaside Park, include a mixture of off-road trail, bike lanes, and shared lanes, using the Housatonic Avenue section as the link. In this fully developed area, off-road options are limited. Plans are available on the city website at:

In its 2019-2023 Capital Improvement Plan, the state DOT indicated the project cost for the final phase of the Bridgeport section would be $1,545,600, and appeared to indicate $1,236,480 was allocated for fiscal year 2019. The spreadsheet does not explicitly state the money was actually available and I do not know if construction actually took place.


Parking: The southern trailhead for the long-standing section of the trail is on Tait Road, off Route 127 (Church Hill Road) in Trumbull. This is a combination of a small parking lot and street parking, much of which is likely to be crowded with other users.

Directions to the Tait Road parking lot: Rt. 25 North to Exit 9. Left at end of ramp onto Daniels Farm Rd. and down the hill into Trumbull Center. Right at the light onto Church Hill Rd. (Rt. 127) Bear right onto Tait Rd. by the Helen Plumb Building. From Rt. 25 South, left onto Park Street, and right onto Daniels Farm Rd. and follow as above.

There is about 8 parking spaces available at the trail crossing at Whitney Avenue in Trumbull.

Anyone may park in the dirt parking lot at the junction of Pepper Street and Cutlers Farm Road in Monroe.

Parking at Indian Ledge Park off Whitney Avenue, Old Mine Park, off Monroe Turnpike (Route 111), and Twin Brook Park, off White Plains Road (Rt. 127) in Trumbull is limited to Trumbull residents with an annual Trumbull parking sticker. If you do not have this sticker and you park in either park, expect to find a $25 ticket on your window, left by the friendly Trumbull park ranger.

Monroe residents with an annual pass may park at Wolfe Park, Great Hollow Lake area, 285 Cutlers Farm Road, Monroe. This parking may be available to non-residents in the off-season (Labor Day to Memorial Day).

There are two commuter parking lots located near the trail. One lot is located on Broadway Road, Trumbull, off Main Street (Route 111), just south of the junction with Route 25. From the parking lot, follow Route 111 North and the trail is a few hundred feet past Route 25. Another lot is located on White Plains Road (Route 127), Trumbull, just north of the Merritt Parkway overpass. From this lot, turn left on White Plains Road and the trail is in about 0.4 miles.


Trail Notes: This trail is most beautiful on the Pequonnock River Valley property in Trumbull where the trail is located between a steep slope to the west and a gentler slope to the east down to the Pequonnock River, with water flowing over rocks, with the occasional cascade. This section also has 2.7 miles without any road crossings. There are also good river views in Beardsley Park in Bridgeport, including Bunnells Pond, which is regrettably along Route 8. Trail views are less interesting in Monroe, which passes through a residential and then an industrial area, and views are primarily trees with buildings sometimes visible along the way.

The rail trail has a slight upward grade as you cycle north. There is 400 ft. of total climbing, or 20 ft. per mile. The trail is paved from Whitney Avenue in Trumbull to the Victorinox (Swiss Army) property in Monroe, and again along the entry road to Wolfe Park in Monroe. Most other parts have a hard packed stone dust surface suitable for a hybrid bicycle. The Newtown stretch has some roots to bounce over, but you can avoid them by turning back at the Monroe border. There are no stores on or adjacent to the trail, although there are many on nearby Rt. 25. Seasonal restrooms are available by the lake at Wolfe Park, and perhaps at Old Mine Park in Trumbull. The left fork at mile 3.95 merely loops out to busy Rt. 25 (Main St.).

The trail has some tough road crossings in Trumbull where extra caution is advised. The trail crosses busy four lane White Plains Road (Rt. 127) at a light near the Route 25 exit ramp. Entry into Twin Brooks Park is over a wooden boardwalk that twists and turns in a way that is difficult to cycle. The missing section with the on-road connection involves crossing Daniels Farm Road where cars are moving fast coming down a hill into a sharp curve.

At Whitney Avenue at the northern end of the Pequonnock River Valley property, cars are descending from Main Street to the west down a steep, twisty hill with little warning before the trail crossing. The trail crossing north of Old Mine Park at four lane Route 111 (Main Street) has a push button pedestrian light, but don’t count on motorists paying attention to it. The road crossings have Monroe are light to moderate traffic, so there are no concerns like those in Trumbull.

Great Hollow Lake in Monrore is a natural location for a rest stop along the trail that has seasonal restrooms available. Be aware that the park has an overly aggressive ranger with whistle at the ready who patrols the park on a golf cart like it is a private fiefdom. If you ride on any sidewalk marked with a “No Bikes” sign or park your bicycles anywhere but the bicycle racks, he will bark at you to move the bicycle to the bicycle rack.

Map and GPX track:


Multi-Use Paths In Connecticut That Are Not Rail Trails


Charter Oak Greenway

East Hartford, Manchester and Bolton, 11.8 miles from Simmons Road, East Hartford to Bolton Notch, Bolton, plus 2 miles of paths by Rentschler Field, paved

The Charter Oak Greenway is a dedicated multi-use path, primarily along Interstate 384 in Manchester and Bolton and I-84 in East Hartford. The trail runs roughly from Simmons Road in East Hartford to the Hop River State Park Trail at Bolton Notch. The Bolton section officially opened in December 2018, where it intersects the Hop River State Trail. There are some steep hills and frequent highway noise.

Mileage at trail junctions: Simmons Rd., East Hartford, (0.0). Spencer St., Manchester (2.45). Bidwell St., Manchester (4.0). Camp Meeting Road, Manchester (8.8). Hop River Trail (11.55).


Parking and Trail Access:

East Hartford: Veterans Memorial Park, off Sunset Ridge Road, East Hartford, accessed by taking Silver Lane to Ridgewood Rd. to Sunset Ridge Rd.

Manchester: Manchester Community College, Bidwell Street; Charter Oak Park, off Charter Oak Street, and Mt. Nebo Park off Spring St. A short spur off the trail leads to parking on Camp Meeting Road near Porter St.

Bolton: The greenway loops past a Park and Ride lot off Morancy Street, reached from Rt. 44; Bolton Notch State Park on Rt. 44 in Bolton near the transition to I-384 at the junction with the Hop River State Park Trail.

There is no official website for the greenway, but good information is available here:


Road Noise, Pavement Conditions, Elevation Gain, etc.

The trail is far from enjoyable due to the highway noise, which can be deafeningly loud in places where the trail is right next to the highway, separated only by an open fence. When it moves above the highway, away from it, or behind a noise barrier, the road drops to a tolerable level, but the drone is still there. Sometimes there is the odd sensation of pedaling in one direction, while the traffic to the RIGHT of trail is moving in the other direction, making it feel like bicycle and motor vehicles alike are on the wrong side of the road (or cycling in England).

Although the trail is closed to motor vehicles, there are safety concerns when connecting two sections of trail via a road, or when the trail crosses highway on and off-ramps. In these road crossings, it would be all too easy for a cyclist to be struck by a turning car, which has limited sight lines at turns.

I have no knowledge of any trail crime, and have had no issues the handful of times I have cycled on the trail, but some parts of the trail are uncomfortably isolated, out of view of highway or street, with no easy to way avoid a situation if a trail user is bothered by someone with bad intent.

The older sections in Manchester have cracks across the entire trail, some of which are wide, and result in jarring bumps when crossing them on a bicycle. The new section from Manchester to Bolton was smoothly paved in 2019, as was the rehabilitated section in East Hartford from Forbes St. to Simmons Rd. The older section was also overgrown with trees and vines, narrowing the trail too much. There are also sections which have zero shade and do not appear they will ever have shade since the state has not planted trees along it. The flowers along the new Manchester-Bolton section were beautiful in July 2019.

On my return trip from Bolton to Manchester Community College, I took the road and found that more enjoyable than the trail. I had a reasonable shoulder in most locations. I was further away from the drone of the highway. Intersections were predictable with good sightlines, as compared to the trail. Best of all, it was downhill all the way back. 

From the trail off Hartford Road in Manchester, just past House Rd., the trail is a steady climb with some steep hills (and a few mild descents along the way), rising in elevation from about 110 ft. to 660 ft. in about 6 miles. From Simmons Road in East Hartford to Hartford Road, the trail has about 200 ft. of elevation gain, most of that near Veterans Memorial Park in East Hartford.


Charter Oak Greenway Connecting Trails

The trail can be confusing to follow as signage is not always clear, and the trail criss-crosses highways. The trail is marked with green “Bike Route” signs and also with small rectangular multi-colored “East Coast Greenway” signs mounted below other signs. At times the trail uses road bridges to cross from one side of the highway to the other, and these connections are not always clear. There are various side trails to connect the trail to the road, and these are not always marked clearly as a side trail.

In East Hartford, just east of the I-84/I-384 merge, there are two junctions: one heads north under both highways to Wickham Park in Manchester, and continues to Burnham St. in Manchester where it ends. From Burnham St. a cyclist can cross the Connecticut River to Windsor Meadows State Park via the bike path across the Bissell Bridge, which carries I-291 across the river. At Burnham St., turn left, then make a quick right on Chappell St. for 2.4 miles. At the T-intersection, turn left on Main Street, and go 0.4 miles. Just before the highway overpass, turn right onto the bike path to access the bridge.

The other junction in East Hartford, just east of the I-84/I-384 merge, is a short spur up a VERY steep hill to Veterans Memorial Park, off Sunset Ridge Dr. I pity anyone who parks there and the final leg of their journey is a heart-pumping hill. Those remaining on the main trail also have to climb a steep hill when heading east from Forbes St. The hill rises about 100 feet in half a mile. 

When passing through Manchester Community College, there are two paths when coming off Hillstown Road. One is a scenic loop through the woods, while the other is a short-cut that follows Great Path (the college entry road). Between the two sets of solar panels, there is a short spur that connects out to Founders Drive North and the parking lot near Great Path Academy.

On the eastern side of the Manchester Community College campus, there is a half-mile on-road section consisting of Bidwell Street and Hartford Road. From the campus entrance on Bidwell Street, turn left and go under I-384 for 0.2 miles. Turn right on Hartford Road and go 0.3 miles. Just past House Drive on the left and a car wash on the right, turn right to enter the trail’s off-road section.

In Charter Oak Park, Manchester, there is a spur that connects south under I-384 to Mt. Nebo Park. Near Gardner Street is a spur that connects to West Gardner Street. The final connection is a short spur to a parking area on Camp Meeting Road, near the red bridge that carries the greenway over the road.


Connecting the Dedicated Trail to the Connecticut River Trails

At the west end, the dedicated trail briefly ends at Simmons Road in East Hartford. Following Simmons Road south from the trail by the highway, the trail follows the road with cyclists riding on the shoulder, guided by “Share the Road” signs. Crossing Silver Lane, the trail continues onto the Rentschler Field property where it essentially becomes a wide sidewalk and also dead ends in three locations: two at gates to the Pratt and Whitney plant, and one at a fence by grassy parking for Rentschler Field. There is NO connection to any other roads through this area.


To reach the path along the Connecticut River in East Hartford, there are two options and both involve riding in traffic. From Simmons Road, a cyclist can turn right on Clement Road, and then right again onto Silver Lane (which has a narrow shoulder and a steady flow of traffic). Follow Silver Lane for half a mile, then turn left at the light onto Mercer Ave. Go 0.4 miles, then turn right on Sisson St., and follow that 0.5 miles to the end. Turn left on Main St. at the light, and go 0.2 miles to Willow St. Turn right on Willow St. and follow that under the Rt. 2 overpass to Riverside Dr. Turn left on Riverside Dr., then make a quick right to enter the paved path to the river.

The other option is to follow the East Coast Greenway signs, which involves much more road riding with traffic. At Forbes St., turn left and follow Forbes St. 1.8 miles and then turn right Brewer St. Follow Brewer St. for 1.4 miles and turn right on Main St. for 0.7 miles. Turn left on Willow St. and follow that under the Rt. 2 overpass to Riverside Dr. Turn left on Riverside Dr., then make a quick right to enter the paved path to the river.


The CTfastrak multi-use path is a 5-mile long, 10-foot paved path that parallels the CTfastrak bus corridor, extending from the downtown New Britain station to the Newington Junction station. The path is separated from the busway by a fence. There is a brief on-road section at East Street in New Britain.

Parking is available at the starting point at the municipal parking garage at 35 Bank St., New Britain, one block away from the station at 335 Main St., New Britain, at the East Street station, 1360 East St., New Britain, and at the northern end of the path at Newington Junction Station, 120 Willard Ave., Newington.



Middlebury Greenway

Middlebury, paved, 4.4 miles

This former trolley line converted to a multi-use path parallels Route 64 in Middlebury and resembles a wide sidewalk. Traffic noise is loud along most of this trail, which is often less than 50 feet from the busy state road. In a few sections, the trail gets away from the road for a few hundred feet and the silence is much appreciated. There are scenic highlights along the way, including several town parks, and across the street views of Quassy Amusement Park and Lake Quassapaug.

The trail extends from Quassapaug Field, just west of Christian Street at the south end of Lake Quassapaug to Route 63 by Woodside Avenue. Parking is available at several locations along the trail, including Quassapaug Field at the western end of the trail, and slightly north of the trail at Memorial Middle School, Memorial Drive, Middlebury, (during non-school hours) at the eastern end of the trail. The trail passes numerous stores, so there are plenty of opportunities to stop and eat.

Unlike a rail trail, there are definitely hills on this trail. Cycling west to east, my GPS recorded 280 feet of elevation gain and 540 feet of descending. Of course, the numbers should be reversed when traveling east to west. Most of that descent (or climb) is concentrated in the 3-mile section from slightly west of Rt. 188 to Rt. 63 with a 300-foot drop from Rt. 188 to Rt. 63.

The Trail Link page is the best place for trail information:


Moosup Valley State Park Trail

Plainfield and Sterling, Varied surface from stone dust to rough, 5.8 miles

I have never used this trail, as it is a long drive for me to reach it.


The state plans to spend $2.65 million to resurface the trail, which would take place in 2021.


This trail continues into Rhode Island as the 19 mile Washington Secondary Bike Path. The bike path in Rhode Island has various names and the name of the section closest to Connecticut is called the Trestle Trail.



Naugatuck Valley Greenway

The Naugatuck Valley Greenway is a proposed 44-mile multi-purpose trail along the Naugatuck River from Derby to Torrington. There is a 1.1-mile section in Naugatuck from River Street to Maple Street. There is a half-mile section in Beacon Falls along North Main Street. Watertown has a 0.3-mile section. 


Construction progress information at

Greenway plans may be read at


Valley Greenway, aka, Derby Greenway and Ansonia Riverwalk

Derby and Ansonia, paved, 2.5 miles, paved

Part of the Naugatuck Valley Greenway, this “greenway” is built on top of a flood control dike along the Naugatuck River. Due to its location, the trail has no shade, and no protection from the wind and rain. The trail is very popular with pedestrians and is best suited to walking, not cycling, due to the number of people using it.


Norwalk River Valley Trail

Norwalk, paved and stone dust, 5 miles, and Wilton, gravel and paved, 5.3 miles

This trail along the Route 7 corridor will eventually be 30 miles long when completed, connecting Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk to Rogers Park in Danbury, passing through Wilton, Ridgefield, and Redding along the way. Only 8.2 miles have been built as of winter 2020 with another 3.4 miles in progress. Construction expected to take another 10 to 15 years. The completed sections in Norwalk are essentially a combination of road and sidewalk from Calf Pasture Beach to Union Park, near Route 1 with some limited off-road options on the east side of Norwalk Harbor. The website has an outdated map, so it is difficult to determine what actually is complete.

The best place to walk as of January 2021 is the Wilton section, which will be a loop when completed, but for the moment is an out and back walk. There is a 2.25 mile section with a stone dust surface through the woods on the east side of Route 7. On the west side of Route 7, there is 3 mile section that is a sidewalk in sections and has a stone dust surface in other places. For the Wilton section, a good place to park is the Park and Ride, 177 Danbury Road (Route 7), Wilton, which is just south of the junction with Route 106. 



Putnam Bridge Trail

The state has constructed a bike and pedestrian path along the Charter Oak Bridge on Route 15. The path is closed because it does not connect to any paths. The state has a report on the plans to finish that project. Link:


Putnam River Trail and River Mills Heritage Trail

3 miles, paved

This combined trail extends along Kennedy Drive near the Quinebaug River in Putnam from the pedestrian bridge on the Air Line Railroad right of way to Providence Street. The trail is sometimes in the woods near the river and in other locations is a sidewalk along the road. There is no Putnam River in Connecticut. The trail likely gets its name from the fact that it is located in Putnam near the Quinebaug River.

Parking:There are four parking areas along Kennedy Drive: a small one at the junction with Canal Street and another small one near Bridge Street. There are two larger parking areas west of Pomfret Street.

Map and brochure:


Quinebaug River Trail

Killingly, 5 miles, paved

The only website I could find for this trail is the Trail Links page:


The Trail Forks website has a brief write up:

As is the case with many of these trails, Bike It or Hike It has the best information:

The multi-use trail should not be confused with the Quinebaug River Water Trail:

or with the Blue-Blazed Quinebaug Trail, which is a 6.5 mile long hiking trail in the Pachaug State Forest in Plainfield and Voluntown:

Details: I have not yet used this trail, as it is a long drive for me to reach it. According to the various websites, the Quinebaug River Trail has two sections. The northern section is a 1.6-mile long sidewalk that extends along Park Road in Putnam to Tracy Road in Killingly. The northern trailhead is in an industrial park west of the railroad bridge. The southern trailhead is at Lake Road/Attawaugan Crossing Road. Unless someone lives in the area, there is little point of using this trail, as there is little visual appeal to riding along a sidewalk through a mostly industrial area.

The southern section is about 3 miles long. From Tracy Road trailhead, there is an almost 5 mile trip along Upper Maple Road/Maple Street to the center of Killingly to reach the northern trailhead for the southern section of the trail at 10 Prospect Ave., Danielson (Killingly), Conn.

From this point, the trail crosses the Quinebaug River, and then parallels Water Street and then Main Street. From this point, the trail heads south between the river and briefly near Route 6, paralleling Route 12 at times, ending on the residential streets of Ernest Way and Gloria Avenue. The southern part of the southern section is the preferred trail because it is wooded in places and then goes through a residential area.

This September 2018 article discusses a proposed half-mile extension south from Gloria Avenue. I could not find any details as to whether this has been constructed. The article indicates that those involved with the trail hope to eventually make a connection to the Moosup State Park Trail. The rail trail’s western trailhead is 5.6 miles south and east of the Quinebaug Trail’s southernmost trailhead.

Parking: Near the northern end of the southern segment, there is a paved municipal parking lot with 39 spaces at 15 Commerce Drive, Killingly, about 1 block east of the trail, which is reached by following Water Street.

In the middle of the southern segment, there is a small gravel parking lot at 84 Quinebaug Drive, Killingly. 

There is street parking available at the southern trailhead at 114 Ernest Way, Killingly.



Quinnipiac Gorge Trail and the Hanover Pond Linear Trail

Meriden, 2.3 miles, paved

These two connecting trails are part of a longer planned trail on an old railroad bed in Meriden, the former Meriden, Waterbury, and Connecticut River Railroad. Future sections will be slow to develop because they pass through fully developed areas where the railroad bed has been interrupted in places. The 1.3-mile Quinnipiac Gorge Trail is a scenic, shaded trail along the Quinnipiac River with a steep embankment featuring sandstone rocks on the opposite side. The one mile long Hanover Pond Linear Trail passes by Hanover Pond and between two high schools and residential streets.

In summer 2020, an extension was underway to extend the trail 0.4 miles as an 8-foot wide path along Coe Avenue to the Harbor Brook bridge at Bradley Avenue. The undeveloped railroad bed continues north, with some interruptions where buildings have been built on it, then turns east north of I-691. Midstate Medical Center has been built on the railroad bed, so any future expansion in this area would have to follow the existing sidewalks around the hospital property. The turn on Coe Avenue is part of the Meriden Linear Trails master plan, which includes a map of the plan and can be read at

Parking: The main parking area is located at Hanover Pond, 449 Oregon Road, Meriden, near the junction with Route 70, close to where the two trails meet. There is parking for 32 cars in the paved lot. At the western end of the Gorge Trail, there is a small gravel parking lot at 761 Finch Ave., Meriden, with room for about 7 cars. There are three handicap-accessible only spots in a paved lot at the eastern end of the trail by the red bridge at 598 Oregon Road, Meriden, Conn, just off Route 70.



Quinnipiac River Linear Trail, Wallingford

2.1 miles, paved

This trail parallels the Wilbur Cross Parkway, so road noise is a constant roar in your ears along the first section along the east side of the road, but lessens somewhat in the section north of the tunnel under the road, as the trail is located slightly further from the road. Park at the Community Lake parking lot located at 291 Hall Ave. (Rt. 150), Wallingford, off Route 15, Exit 65.

Overview information (without a map) at

Map and brochure of the first trail section:


Shoreline Greenway Trail

New Haven (Lighthouse Point), East Haven, Branford, Guilford, and Madison (Hammonasset Beach State Park), 25 miles

Natural surface, requiring use of a hybrid bicycle; only portions of the trail are complete in each town, so you cannot complete a continuous ride without using local streets.



Sue Grossman Still River Greenway

Torrington and Winsted, 2.9 miles, paved

This rail trail runs parallel to Rt. 8 and Winsted Road.

Trail map:


Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail

Windsor Locks and Suffield, 4.5 miles, paved

This trail along the Windsor Locks canal looks like a rail trail, but is actually the former towpath for the canal and has views of the canal along the Connecticut River. The trail may be closed at certain times to protect nesting birds.

State website:  


Rail Trails in Eastern New York near Connecticut

This section of trail information is limited mostly to listings of trails as I am not interested in spending the time to provide a detailed guide as I did for the Connecticut trails. Extensive information is available on the Bike It or Hike It website mentioned above:


Parks and Trails New York is a non-profit advocacy group for parks and trails, which has an overview of rail trails and other trails in New York State:


New York State has incorporated almost all of these trails into its 750-mile Empire State Trail, a network of off-road trails linked by road sections:

This press released provides a good overview of the trail:


The North County Trailway, South County Trailway and Putnam Trailway all follow the same right of way and are now part of the Empire State Trail.


North County Trailway

Westchester, N.Y., 22 miles, paved

Eastview in the Town of Mt. Pleasant to Baldwin Place in Somers. It continues north into Carmel in Putnam County for 7.5 miles as the Putnam Trailway.



South County Trailway

Westchester, N.Y., Eastview to the Bronx County line, 14 miles, paved



Putnam Trailway, Putnam County, New York

From the Westchester border to Brewster Village, 12 miles, paved


Maybrook Trailway, Putnam and Dutchess Counties, New York, 23 miles, paved

The Maybrook Trailway is new trail segments that opened in January 2021, linking the Putnam Trailway in Brewster to the Dutchess Rail Trail in Hopewell Junction.

This brochure created prior to construction shows the path in Putnam County:


Dutchess Rail Trail

Dutchess County, N.Y.

Hopewell Junction, N.Y. to the Walkway Across the Hudson, 13 miles, paved


The Dutchess Rail Trail official site with a map, and information from Rails to Trails:


Walkway Across the Hudson

Dutchess and Ulster Counties, N.Y.

Poughkeepsie to Lloyd (Highland), N.Y., 1.3 miles, paved


The Walkway Over the Hudson official site, the New York Parks full brochure with the map, and the Rails to Trails site:



Hudson Valley Rail Trail

Ulster County, N.Y.

From the Walkway Across the Hudson to Tony Williams Park in Lloyd, N.Y., 2.5 miles, paved

The Hudson Valley Rail Trail continues into New Paltz from Tony Williams Park, paralleling Route 299 as a wide sidewalk. 

The Hudson Valley Rail Trail official site, the direct link to the now outdated brochure with a map, and a link from Rails to Trails:



Harlem Valley Rail Trail

Dutchess County and Columbia County, N.Y.

26 miles from Wassaic, N.Y. to Millerton, N.Y. to Copake Falls, N.Y., paved

This trail is mostly complete between these two locations with plans to extend the trail further north to Chatham for a total length of 46 miles. Check the trail’s website for the latest status on what is open.



Wallkill Valley Rail Trail

Ulster County, N.Y. (west of the Hudson River)

Gardiner to south of Kingston, N.Y., 24 miles

Gravel surface, requiring the use of a hybrid or mountain bike with some rough, bouncy sections between Gardiner and New Paltz. The northern 9.5 miles was being improved in late 2020 and should be more enjoyable to ride when the trail reopens.

The Rosendale Trestle rising 150 feet above the Roundout Creek is the most impressive feature of this trail. The cement mines along the trail near Williams Lake in Rosendale are an interesting historical feature of the trail with signboards explaining the mines.

Website with map:


New York City bicycle maps are available at

This includes the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, a 24-mile paved, mostly off-road route around Manhattan:


Rhode Island Rail Trails

Rhode Island has a number of excellent rail trails.

Maps and other information at the official state website:


Suggested Books:

Bike Paths of Connecticut and Rhode Islandby Stuart Johnstone

This has good information about the paths in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Updates since this book was published in 2014 means that some information is outdated, but that is usually in the form of saying that a trail section does not exist, when in fact it may have been constructed. This book was not available online when I have checked, but I purchased it at REI in Norwalk.

His website was no longer active in July 2020. There is a previous version of this book called Bike Paths of Connecticut.DO NOT buy this 2004 version (that does not have Rhode Island), as the paths have changed so much since 2004 that this older edition is completely out of date.

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