FARMINGTON RIVER RAIL TRAIL NORTH & SOUTH:

FARMINGTON-SIMSBURY, CONNECTICUT

STRATTON BROOK SPUR TRAIL LETTERBOX:

WEST SIMSBURY, CONNECTICUT

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Letterbox Planted:   Stratton Brook Spur Trail Letterbox; June 18, 2003                                

Last Updated:            November 13, 2016

Length:                      Farmington River Rail Trail South; 10.4 miles

                                    Farmington River Rail Trail North; 3.8 miles

                                    On-road Route between North & South sections; 2.2 miles  

                                    Meadow Road Trail; 1.7 miles

Difficulty:                  Farmington River Rail Trail South; Easy. Flat, paved rail trail.

                                    Farmington River Rail Trail North; Easy. Rail trail portion consists of stone dust. Paved trail along Route 167. Short on-road detour.

                                    Meadow Road Trail; Easy. Paved trail with a slight hill.

Directions:

To start along the Meadow Road Trail (Southern end); From I-84, take exit 39 and follow Route 4 east. Turn left off of Route 4 onto Route 10 south. Less then a mile on your right will be Meadow Rd. Go a short distance down Meadow Rd where an unpaved parking lot will be on your right just after crossing over a small river. This is the Conklin Nature Trail parking lot. There are two other parking lots further along if you wish to start closer to the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail or Farmington River Rail Trail

To start from the New Britain Ave parking lot (Southern end): From I-84, take exit 39 and follow Route 4 east. Turn left off of Route 4 onto Route 10 south. Less then a mile on your right will be Meadow Rd. Follow Meadow Rd to Red Oak Hill Rd to New Britain Ave. Take a right on New Britain Ave and the parking lot will be on your left. 

To start from Collinsville (Central section): From the junction of routes 44 & 179 near Canton travel south towards Collinsville Center. Parking is available at the Canton Town Offices, next to the Canton Historical Museum. You will see a large mill complex on your left just before you cross over the Farmington River. If you continue south on Route 179, you'll come to the Route 179 parking lot located along the left. Continue further south to the junction of Routes 4 & 179 for the Routes 4 & 179 Junction parking lot, also along the left side.

To start from Town Forest Park (Northern end); From the junction of Routes 10, 167 & 202 in Simsbury, head west along Route 167. At the junction of Routes 167 and 309 turn left and continue along Route 167 to Stratton Brook Rd. Take a right on Stratton Brook Rd and then a left onto Town Forest Rd. Note; There is another small parking lot here. Less then a mile down the road, Town Forest Park will be on your right and more parking just up on your left.  

To start from Stratton Brook State Park (Northern end); From the junction of Routes 10, 167 & 202 in Simsbury head west along Route 167 for less then a mile. Route 167 then turns left, however, you continue straight on Route 309. Within a mile you should see a sign for Stratton Brook State Park on your left. Enter and proceed to the parking lot. 

The Farmington River Rail Trail is a paved spur trail off the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail Northern Section . It follows the abandoned Central New England Railroad line, formally the Connecticut Western RR (1868) from Farmington to Simsbury, where it loops back into the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail North . This trail is currently divided into two complete sections. The paved southern section runs from Farmington to Canton, while the stone-dust/paved northern section in Simsbury travels through Stratton Brook Park. A signed on-road route connects the two sections. For more information See; FARMINGTON CANAL HERITAGE TRAIL .

The Meadow Road Trail travels alongside Meadow Rd and Red Oak Hill Rd for 1.7 miles and connects to the start of both the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail Northern Section and Farmington River Trail South. There are three parking areas along the Meadow Road Trail, one just 0.4 miles shy of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail and Farmington River Trail

Starting from the Conklin Nature Trail parking lot in Farmington; The parking lot is next to the Pequabuck River, which flows into the Farmington River. I suggest you take a quick detour along the nature trail to where the rivers meet and check out the house up a small knoll across the river. Fabulous. Next, take another quick detour by Heading Left (East) out of the parking lot along the Meadow Road Trail to where the trail crosses over an old stone arch bridge with views overlooking a marsh. We saw the biggest turtle I've ever seen outside of a zoo. If you were to continue east the trail brings you to Garden St (Route 10). Heading Right (West) from the parking lot the narrow trail is flat and soon travels along open farmland. At 0.4 miles you come to the Farmington Community Gardens and across the road is a second parking lot next to where they fly radio controlled airplanes. Kids will love this. Meadow Rd veers left as the trail continues alongside Red Oak Hill Rd. After passing by a third parking lot and then the entrance to Tunxis Mead Park at 1.1 miles, the trail narrows and travels uphill. 

Note; A 1/4 mile paved trail travels into Tunxis Mead Park.

You'll come to the start of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail Northern Section after 1.4 miles. Continue straight along Red Oak Hill Rd, then turn right at New Britain Ave where you can then cross over to the start of the Farmington River Rail Trail South after 1.5 miles. 

FARMINGTON RIVER RAIL TRAIL SOUTH

Starting in Farmington from New Britain Ave; The 0 Mile marker begins here. Mile markers are located all along the trail. The paved Farmington River Rail Trail South travels into the woods through a residential area along the former rail bed. Quickly you'll come to the New Britain Ave parking lot along the right. You'll also find a pavilion with map board here. All the road crossings have cross-lights. At 0.8 miles spot an old RR track holder along the right. You then cross over a high berm with a pond below. After crossing Oakridge Rd look to your left at the top of the incline to spot an old granite RR Mile marker. After 2.3 miles you'll pass by the old Unionville Train Station and come to South Main St (Route 177). The trail continues across the road, but you need to head right to access a cross-walk across this busy road. After crossing Hunters Ridge Rd look for a couple of benches overlooking the Farmington River below. Just before some wood fencing will be a gravel trail on your right at 2.5 miles. This will bring you down to a promenade that overlooks the river. Be sure to check out the stone arched culvert that runs under the old rail line. A parking lot is located next to where you cross River Rd at 3.1 miles. Here the trail pulls away from the river and travels  alongside River Rd. Just before a tunnel underneath Route 4 spot a spur trail on your right that leads to an ice cream parlor. Great murals in the tunnel. You come to the Route 4 parking lot where you'll find another pavilion & map board at 3.6 miles. You cross the Burlington Town line at 4.4 miles. The trail travels along the Farmington River, then just below Route 4. You'll pass the 5 mile marker on your left before reaching the Routes 4 & 179 Junction parking lot. Continue along the parking lot and you'll come to another map board as the paved trail travels alongside the river. There are informational sign boards scattered along this section. An old RR bridge over Burlington Brook affords a great spot for wading along the brook and river. You'll pass by the  Route 179 parking lot at 6.1 miles and soon pass an old power generating dam which creates a small waterfall in the river. The paved trail ends at 6.8 miles. Turn right for an on-road section along Arch St (low traffic). You'll come to a ramp on your right that will take you up and over the river via an old RR trestle bridge. You also cross over an old "power canal" which was used by the Collins Company to derive power from the Farmington River. The Collins Company was world famous for its ax and machete blades. Many of its original buildings are still intact and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. More informational signs along here. The CANTON HISTORICAL MUSEUM will be on your right as you approach the old Collinsville Train Station, which now houses the CROWN & HAMMER PUB, at 7.6 miles. A map board is located here as well. The Collinsville parking lot is located on your right with access to the historic downtown area which includes the LaSALLE MARKET & DELI. A great place to grab a bite before the return trip. The paved trail then comes to Bridge St (Route 179) where you'll find a cross-light.

Note; The Nepaug Reservoir Trails are close by. You can reach the Nepaug Reservoir North Trail via an on-road loop by starting from the Collinsville parking lot. This is only recommended for experienced bikers and not kids because of traffic and a steep hill. From the parking lot off Route 179 at Collinsville's Town Hall, follow the Farmington River Rail Trail northeast as it crosses Route 179 and travels alongside the Farmington River. The trail ends after a mile and you then follow Route 179 north on-road. There is a wide shoulder northbound, but not much of a southbound shoulder. After about miles, you must cross back over Route 179 to Town Bridge Rd. This road has little traffic as it takes you over the Farmington River on an old steel bridge. The road then begins a steep climb to its junction with Torrington Ave. Turning right up Torrington Ave brings you to the Nepaug North Trail parking lot after 1 miles. To return, simply follow Torrington Ave, which is almost all downhill, for a mile to the Route 179 Bridge back over the Farmington River. You ride through the Collinsville Historic District alongside the river and return to the parking lot after 1 miles. 

Note; Also, be sure to take a short detour after crossing Bridge St by turning left and crossing over the bridge. You'll see the gates for the power canal on the right for diverting water from the Farmington River, as well as, the dam holding back the Farmington River Reservoir. After crossing the bridge, cross back over Bridge St and head left back along the other side of the bridge. Here you'll see a small power canal, then the river and the major power canal. A small path on your right leads down to a small gate house with some very scenic views. Return to the Farmington River Rail Trail.

After crossing over Bridge St (Route 179) continue right along the Farmington River Rail Trail, passing by some quaint shops and a canoe & kayak outlet (bike rentals available). See; COLLINSVILLE CANOE & KAYAK . A small park has benches overlooking the Farmington River Reservoir and if you look across the road you'll spot an old cannon at a war memorial. A boardwalk takes the trail left between the reservoir and Route 179 and contains information on the local wildlife. Picnic tables and a pavilion come soon after. Hold your nose after crossing over Rattlesnake Brook as you pass by the sewage treatment plant. You'll come to a picnic shelter and a short on-road section up Old River Rd at 8.1 miles. The Old River Road parking area is here. Continue along Old River Rd out to River Rd (Route 179). A cross-light will take you over to the paved trail. Pass a ball field on your right before crossing Dyer Ave. Here the trail follows the old New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad line (commonly referred to as the New Haven). To your right is an old green Freight Depot. The trail follows alongside Rattlesnake Brook on the right before another cross-light takes you over Maple Ave. Cross over the brook and pass through a residential area before crossing Atwater Rd and entering woods and wetlands. Cross Commerce Dr followed by Canton Springs Rd next to the Fire Dept. The trail then passes by Bond Pond on the right before coming to the junction of Routes 44, 177 & 202 at 10.1 miles. Head right to a cross-walk and cross-light that gets you over Route177. A cross-light then takes you over Route 44 where you pick up the paved trail again as it travels north alongside Lawton Rd passing by the UConn Health building. Behind this building is a CVS if you need snacks or drinks. The trail currently ends after 10.4 miles next to Lawton Rd. 

 Note; To continue to the Farmington River Rail Trail North section you'll need to follow an On-Road Route (not recommended for kids on bikes as the roads are narrow). Shared-use markings are painted on the road along this route.

ON-ROAD ROUTE TO NORTH SECTION

Continue north on-road along Lawton Rd. Bear left at your first stop sign. Head right at the next stop sign along Dry Bridge Rd. A short downhill section brings you to Notch Rd at 1.2 miles. Head left. Continue left along Notch Rd at your next stop sign. Bear left as you merge onto West Mountain Road. This road has a higher traffic volume. Keep an eye out for Colby Ct on your right. Just past this street will be the entrance to the Farmington River Rail Trail North past a brown gate at 2.2 miles. A RR Crossing type sign located here.

FARMINGTON RIVER RAIL TRAIL NORTH

Starting from West Mountain Road; An informational sign is located here. Head past the brown gate along the stone-dust Farmington River Rail Trail North. You travel slightly downhill through the woods along a residential corridor for 0.5 miles. After passing by your last house on the right and heading down a slight incline look for a dirt path off the right side of the trail. From this path take 12 paces (2 steps = 1 pace) along the trail to a two-trunked tree on your right and another dirt path. Look left across the trail and you'll spot a large boulder embedded in the side of the steep slope. Make your way up to where the slope levels off and head right. Pass by 4 large trees at the edge of the slope and you'll come to a large tree on your left with tree branches leaning against it. At the trees base, under a flat rock and branches, is the Stratton Brook Spur Trail Letterbox. Continuing along the trail you'll pass by a ball field, Porto-Potty and parking lot. Bear left out to Town Forest Rd (starts of dirt, but quickly becomes paved). Head right on-road passing by the Town Forest Park parking lot on your right at 0.8 miles. Across the street is a small swimming pond and a bridge over the old railroad trestle. Town Forest Rd is a very lightly traveled town road, mainly used by the Simsbury Public Works Dept. The road parallels Stratton Brook along your right. You come to Stratton Brook Rd at 1.7 miles. A small parking area is located here. Cross the road and you'll return to a stone-dust trail as you enter STRATTON BROOK SP . This wooded corridor follows alongside Stratton Brook. After 2 miles you pass by Massacoe Pond and come to red covered bridge on your right. You may cross this bridge to access picnic tables and a pavilion. To your left is the Stratton Brook State Park parking lots. There is also a swimming pond near the parking lots. The trail continues between the swimming pond to your left and Stratton Brook to your right. After 2.3 miles the trail crosses over Stratton Brook and heads straight and level through a thickly covered forest. After 2.9 miles just past a sign look left to spot a cross-walk over Route 309.

Note; If you wish to utilize a cross-light continue straight out to Route 167. Take a left down the sidewalk and cross over Route 309 at the cross-light. 

After crossing Route 309 head right along the paved trail as it travels alongside Route 167. Just before Maple Court Hop Brook flows underneath the road. Look right across Route 167 to spot an historic brownstone building called Hop Brook Tavern (1680). You will soon approach the junction of Routes 10, 167 & 202 where a cross-light takes you over Routes 10 & 202 to the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail Northern Section next to Drake Hill Rd after 3.8 miles. Straight ahead lies the historic JR Ensign House.

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CLICK HERE FOR FARMINGTON RIVER RAIL TRAIL MAP

CLICK HERE FOR FCHT NORTH MAP

CLICK HERE FOR FCHT SOUTH MAP

 

STRATTON BROOK SPUR TRAIL LETTERBOX LAST VERIFIED ON

NOVEMBER 13, 2016

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