COLCHESTER SPUR TRAIL:
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: April, 2008
Length: Colchester Spur; 3.4 miles
Difficulty: Easy. Flat rail trail with stone dust & hard packed gravel surface.
To start from Colchester; From Route 2, take exit 18 to Route 16 north. Continue past the Route 85 intersection and start watching for the old Colchester Train Station and Freight House on your left. It will be just before a fork in the road, where Route 16 turns left. Turn up the dirt road between the "Carefree storage" sign and the "Mr. Carpet Depot" sign that is in the shape of a train. This will take you to a small parking area next to an unfinished trail sign board.
To start from Amston; Take Route 85 between Hebron and Colchester to the Amston section, this is about a half mile south of Route 207. There is a parking area located on the western side of Route 85, next to the "Route 85 Lumber" store. Head west on the Airline State Park Trail for a little over a 1/4 mile until you see a brown mileage marker on your left with a 10 on it. Just past this marker, the Colchester Spur Trail begins on your left down a dirt trail.
The Air Line State Park Trail follows the rail bed of the former Air Line Railroad which was built to connect Boston and New York City in the shortest distance possible - as if by a "line" drawn through the "air" via the city of New Haven. The railroad climbed from Middletown to East Hampton, and then went over the Lyman Viaduct, a spectacular 1,100 foot long iron trestle over a deep and wide gorge. The railroad then continued on through North Westchester and Amston in the southern part of Hebron. The line passed along the boundary of Lebanon and Columbia before dropping steadily down the Ten Mile River valley to Willimantic. The final portion of this section was completed in 1873. In 1877, the Colchester Railway built a spur between Turnerville (now called Amston) and the central village of Colchester. The town of Colchester paid $50,000 for half of the three mile long rail bed and leased the line to the New York & New England. The spur carried passengers and freight to the rubber plant in town. The Colchester Spur follows this old rail bed. For more information visit; AIRLINE TRAIL .
Starting from Colchester Station; Take some time to check out the old Colchester Train Station that now houses a liquor store and the former Freight House that now houses a carpet store. Someone did a fantastic renovation job on both buildings. If you look in front of the "Mr. Carpet Depot" sign, you'll see an old railroad track switcher. From the parking area the Colchester Spur runs straight and flat with a stone dust surface. After 3/4 miles, you'll come upon the "grass fence", used to block the view of a junk yard. I call this the "Great Junk Yard Forest", because of all the trees that have grown up around the junk heaps. One mile takes you across Old Amston Ave. If you take a quick side trip down this road, you'll spot some old gems of junked autos. The trail takes you under some power lines and into the woods where there are some wet spots to look out for after a rain. You pass between a marsh at 1.2 miles and again enter a wooded area. At 1.6 miles you'll come to a brown gate on the left, where a dirt road crosses the trail. Just shy of 2.5 miles, you cross over Crouch Rd where the trail is hard packed gravel. You next have to cross over Route 85 at 2.8 miles. There is a painted crosswalk, but no signal, so use caution. The trail goes around a small fenced in area where it enters a heavily wooded area. You'll pass by a small swamp on your right. At 3 1/4 miles you come alongside a small pond with an old brick smokestack on the opposite bank. You go along a small berm, with a large marsh to your left and emerge on the Airline State Park Trail at 3.4 miles. If you turn right, you'll pass by a brown 10 mile marker and come to the Amston parking lot at 3.8 miles. For information; See Airline State Park Trail South and Airline State Park Trail North .
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BIKE IT OR HIKE IT