PUTNAM RIVER TRAIL:
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated:June 10, 2017
Length: Putnam River Trail; 1.8 miles
Technology Park Drive Trail; 0.4 miles
River Mills Heritage Trail; 1.1 miles
Putnam River Trail Loop (Includes the River Mills Heritage Trail); 4 miles
Difficulty: Easy. Paved, flat trail.
From I-395 take exit 45 to Kennedy Drive and travel right (north). Take your first left to the Kennedy Drive parking lot #1. There are 5 more parking lots located north along Kennedy Drive.
The Putnam River Trail travels through the town of Putnam, following alongside the Quinebaug River. Five historic interpretive signs are located along the trail commemorating Putnamís railroad history, textile mills, and founding citizens. The riverís natural resources and The Great Flood of 1955 are highlighted as well. The River Mills Heritage Trail threads its way around the Quinebaug River between Pomfret St and Providence St - linking together historic mills and buildings. For more information visit; RIVER MILLS HERITAGE TRAIL .
The Putnam River Trail is part of the EAST COAST GREENWAY , a planned biking & hiking route stretching 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida. When complete it will traverse 15 states with a mostly off-road path.
Starting from the Kennedy Drive parking lot #1; The parking lot is located next to the Quinebaug River and contains a map board for the Quinebaug River Water Trail and a canoe launch.
Note; Heading left across the bridge, the paved trail travels south to out to Technology Park Drive across from the YMCA. The trail continues alongside the road up a slight hill before ending after 0.4 miles.
The paved Putnam River Trail travels north alongside the Quinebaug River. Pass by a "Dog Park" before passing by the Farmers Market parking lot after 0.25 miles. BIKE STATION and Map Board here. A Porto-Potty located here as well. Informational signs located along the trail. You'll come to a pedestrian bridge over the river on your left after 0.5 miles.
Note; If you cross this bridge it will bring you to an informational sign about the Flood of 55. Up the hill is the old Airline State Park Trail North that hopefully will someday get developed. The pedestrian bridge is built where the old Airline RR trestle used to cross the river before being wiped out by the Flood of 55. You can still see the stone abutments and the pedestrian bridge utilizes the old center pier.
Continuing north along the trail will bring you to the Kennedy Drive parking lot #3. Another Porto-Potty, picnic tables and map board for the Water Trail along the river are located here in Simonzi Park. Heading north between the river and Kennedy Drive you'll pass by Kennedy Drive parking lots #4 & 5 before coming to the Route 44 Bridge at 1.2 miles. A cross-light takes you to an overlook of Cargill Falls. The trail splits, right simply heading alongside the road, so head left along the river. Caution, the trail is narrow here. This takes you past some monuments and an amphitheater in Rotary Park. Spot the fire cauldrons in the river that are used for River Fire. See; DISCOVER PUTNAM for more information. A cross-light takes you over Bridge St where the paved trail turns into a wide sidewalk at 1.5 miles. Pass by Kennedy Drive parking lot #6. After passing by some old mills you'll come to tiny Miller Park and Map Board at 1.8 miles where the trail ends.
Note; You may return the way you came or cross the river and loop back along the River Mills Heritage Trail (follow the brown signs), which is what we did. Simply turn left down Providence St utilizing the sidewalk and cross over the river. Turn left along Church St where you may ride on-road (low traffic) or utilize a narrow sidewalk. You'll come to the Putnam Sports Complex at 2.1 miles. Pick up the narrow paved trail on your left and take it back to the river. Here you'll enjoy good views of a dam and waterfall. Follow the trail alongside the river to Bridge St.
Note; You may head left over the bridge to rejoin the main trail in order to avoid a short hill, otherwise;
Cross over Bridge St and follow the paved trail past the Veterans monuments back out to Church St. Head left on-road past the old Putnam High school, now Town Hall. Spot a magnificent Cooper Beach tree towering over the road. Head up a short, but steep hill where you'll be rewarded with great views of the river and town of Putnam at 2.6 miles. Head back downhill and you'll come to Route 44. Hang a left past the Cargill Mills, cross back over the river and rejoin the main trail at 2.8 miles. Turn right and return to the Kennedy Drive parking lot #1 for a 4 mile loop.
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BIKE IT OR HIKE IT