WINDSOR LOCKS CANAL TOWPATH:
SUFFIELD-WINDSOR LOCKS, CONNECTICUT
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated:June 18, 2016
Length: Windsor Locks Canal Towpath; 4.5 miles
Trail extension to Enfield; 0.7 miles
Route 140 Mill Complex parking lot to Letterbox; 2 miles
Difficulty: Easy. Flat paved surface. Note; The trail has steep drop-offs along both sides of the trail. Not recommended for small children on bikes.
To start at the Canal Road parking lot; Take exit 47W off of I-91 and follow Route 190 west over the Connecticut River. Turn left onto Route 159 south. Take the first left onto Canal Rd and follow to the parking lot.
To start at the Route 140 Mill Complex parking lot; Take exit 45 off of I-91 and go west on Route 140. Just after you cross over the Connecticut River will be a mill complex on your right. Take the narrow road down along the canal to a parking lot.
NOTE: The Towpath is closed to all uses from November 14 until April 1 of each year. This is to protect the nesting habitat for endangered birds of prey.
NOTE: The southern end of the Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail will be closed through July to protect a pair of nesting bald eagles, according to the state Department of Energy Environmental Protection.
The Windsor Locks Canal was built by hand between 1827 and 1829. It is 5 Ĺ miles long, 80 feet wide, but only 4 Ĺ feet deep. Three locks were built to accommodate the 30 foot elevation drop along itís route, as well as an aqueduct to carry the Canal over Stony Brook. The Towpath, which is the hiking/biking path today, was used by horses to pull the boat traffic through the Canal. The Canal was built to enable boating traffic to avoid Enfield Falls, a series of rapids along this section of the Connecticut River. After the railroads came along, it functioned as a power source for nearby mills. For more information visit; WINDSOR LOCKS CANAL SP TRAIL .
Starting from the Route 140 Mill Complex Parking Lot; The paved trail heads north past the gates and alongside the canal. An iron bench and plaque describing the canals history are located overlooking the canal which has been cleared of brush along this section. Good views of the stone culverts built underneath the railroad tracks on the opposite bank. The Connecticut River parallels the canal along your right. After a mile you'll pass under a railroad trestle that crosses over the Connecticut River. We had two Amtrak trains pass through on our journey. A steep drop off along both sides of the trail will take you into either the canal or the riverbank so watch the young ones closely. After 2 miles youíll come to the Stony Brook Aqueduct, where the Canal is diverted over Stony Brook. Continuing along the trail the Connecticut River splits at Kings Island which you'll follow for a bit. Finally you'll come to the lock and gates where the water enters the Canal from the Connecticut River. If you look out towards the river, you can see where it was dammed long ago to divert the water into the Canal. Cross over the bridge and pass through the steel gates and up to the Canal Road parking lot at 4.5 miles. The paved trail continues past the parking lot, above the river and underneath the Route 190 Bridge where it turns left. This brings you to an intersection alongside Route 190 at 4.7 miles.
Note; Heading right up a slight hill brings you out to the intersection of Routes 190 & 159 in Suffield at 0.3 miles.
Heading left takes you over the Connecticut River, nice unobstructed views and then over some active RR tracks. You head away from Route 190 up a slight hill to Pearl St in Enfield and across from the Public Library at 5.2 miles. There is a nice memorial garden to your right with benches just across the entrance ramp where you can take a breather.
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WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER
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