LARKIN STATE PARK TRAIL:
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Letterbox Planted:May 22, 2002
Last Updated: September 16, 2023
Length: Larkin SP Trail; 10.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate. Flat hard packed dirt, cinder & gravel rail trail. Mountain bike recommended.
To start from the Route 63 parking lot in Naugatuck [Eastern End]; From I-84 take exit 17 to Route 63 south. Just after you pass by Hop Brook Lake Dam on your left look for a brown sign on your right that says "Larkin State Bridle Trail". A small gravel parking lot is just off the road.
To start from the Route 188 parking lot in Southbury [Western End]; From I-84 take exit 16 to Route 188 south. Travel 2 miles to the parking lot on your left next to the town garage.
The Larkin State Park Trail is along a former rail bed. Built in 1881, the New York and New England Railroad ran between western Connecticut and New York. It was abandoned in 1939. In 1943, Charles Larkin gifted the rail bed to the state for use as a bridle trail. The trail travels west from Route 63 with a slight up hill grade until you crest at Riggs St and travel down a slight grade to Route 188. Pedestrians, bikes and horses share the trail. Bikers: Please slow down and yield for horses. They spook easily. For more information visit; LARKIN STATE PARK and CT RAIL TRAIL EXPLORER .
Starting from the Route 63 parking lot in Naugatuck [Eastern End]; A short gravel trail brings you from the parking lot up to rail bed. The Larkin State Park Trail heads West passing through the first of many rock cuts.
Note; The trail surface varies along the route from cinder to crushed gravel to hard packed dirt & grass. Some sections are a bit sandy making for a soft surface. The trail can also be wide in spots or just a single track where grass has encroached. However, I believe most of the trail surface has been improved and widened.
Cross the first of many berms built by the RR along the trail. The trail is well shaded as it mostly travels through woodland. Wooden Mileage Markers are located every 0.5 miles along the trail. Cross Allerton Rd at 0.9 miles and travel along a high steep berm. Most of the road crossings have a post with the roads name. Please use caution at road crossings, as not all of them have crosswalks. You will see a small pond down below on your right. Keep an eye out for a small granite marker on your left along the trail. This is roughly the one mile mark. Continue along the berm looking left for a second granite marker. From this marker take 35 paces (2 steps = 1 pace) further along the berm and you'll see a small path to your left. This is the end of the steep berm along the left side of the trail, but not the right. Take this path and travel 17 paces, first crossing a small stream (may be dry during the summer months), up a slight hill. You'll pass a large tree along the right side of this path and then come to a small boulder along the left side of the path. Look just past this boulder and spot a larger boulder a couple of paces off the path. Go to the left corner and spot a small rock on top of a flat rock. Remove these two rocks, reach inside and grab the Larkin Bridle Trail Letterbox. Continuing along the trail cross Shadduck Rd (Wooden signs list the next road crossings) at 1.9 miles in Middlebury and pass through a long high rock cut. Cross Wooster Rd at 2.5 miles followed by South St at 2.9 miles. Cross another high steep berm. This section is a bit sandier with a few rough sections. Cross Long Meadow Rd at 3.8 miles in Oxford, followed by Long Meadow Pond Brook. Just before crossing Towantic Hill Rd at 4.2 miles you'll encounter poor drainage which can be mucky after heavy rains. You'll also need to lug your bike up to the road crossing because of erosion. Trail opens up and also narrows as grass has encroached along the trail. Pass by Towantic Pond before crossing Riggs Street at 4.8 miles where you'll find a small Parking area. Here the trail crests before starting a slight down hill grade. Trail now travels alongside Jacks Brook Marsh followed by another rock cut. After passing under a transmission line and a small marsh look right to spot a grassy knoll which is the end of the Waterbury-Oxford Airport runway. Cross Christian St at 6.1 miles followed by a high berm. Rough patch of trail before Hawley Rd at 6.9 miles. Trail washout continues for a bit. Cross Pope Rd at 7.4 miles followed by a high berm over Eight Mile Brook in Southbury. Wide crushed gravel surface. Come to the Route 188 parking lot after 8.1 miles. Use Caution; No Cross-walk. High speed traffic. Crushed gravel trail passes by a pond over Walnut Hill Brook before a long rock cut. Bad drainage, avoid after heavy rains. Narrow path takes you up to Route 67 at 8.6 miles. There is a cross-walk here but Use Caution; High speed traffic.
Note; This next section is rough with serious drainage issues. To detour around it head right on-road down to Curt Smith Rd on your left. The trail crosses just ahead.
After crossing Route 67 spot the trail sign to your right. Enter the gravel road and follow it right. Pick up the trail on your right. Trail starts of wide and smooth then turns into a gravel creek bed. On your left you'll find a single track dirt path to detour around trail. The trail then shares a gravel road out to Curt Smith Rd at 9 miles. This next section is wide, hard packed dirt and crushed gravel. Next you exit the rail bed down to Jeremy Swamp Rd at 10.1 miles. Head left and you'll pick up a narrow path back up to the rail bed. Here the trail is single track dirt & grass. Pass by Mileage Marker 10 before the trail ends above Kettletown Rd after 10.5 miles.
Not sure why my mileage is 10.5 miles (I started from the parking lot) and the sign board is 10 miles. The website lists the trail as 10.3 miles. When I last did the eastern section there were no mileage signs.
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SEPTEMBER 16, 2023
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