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Contact with the Hop River design team has developed some news on the last remaining undeveloped area on the Hop River Trail. The section on the Windham side of the Willimantic River is under construction. A late summer opening is anticipated. This work will allow traffic over the Willimantic River from the current end at Mackey's Ag. store. A parking area is also part of the work.
The Trail from the Columbia town line to Kings Road (the current end of the developed trial) will be under design late this year. Bids, construction and all that stuff pushes the completion into 2021.
So late this summer, with a MT bike, you will be able to cross the river from Windham and follow the unimproved rail bed to Flanders Road, turn right to Kings Road and get back on the improved trail, That's less than a mile of off trail and local road.
I love to walk the trail and have since 1971, the cross over on Whitney Ave in Trumbull is Terrifying, The cars cannot see any one passing the road way until they are in the roadway. The line of sight is completely obscured by vegetation and the small sign in the middle of the Street??? I have seen people run right across the road with out even slowing down prior to or while crossing Whitney Ave. I personally saw a woman hit the side of a car as she could not stop running in time to avoid the car. This section is an accident waiting to happen. Whitney Ave. crossing needs to be safer for both motorist and trail user.
In April 2018 the Windham Town Council approved $1,300,000 for rehabilitation on the Willimantic River bridge behind Mackeys. This would include 800 feet of trail. It was put out for bids due on July 26th. I haven't seen any work yet. There is still the bridge over the Hop River which looks to be in terrible shape and may never be repaired.
Quick update that a stretch of trail less than one mile between Cornwall Av. and West Main St. in Cheshire is now officially opened, avoiding a detour onto Willow St. There is now a continuous, paved, off-road stretch of trail some 25 miles from Temple St. in downtown New Haven to Lazy Lane in Southington.
I just road the Airline Trail across the Willimantic River and then toward the newer ending at Mackie's Ag. Store near the Columbia town line. It was in fine shape. However, what I was looking for is evidence that the work on the Willimantic River bridge was started. I found nothing underway. I road to the easterly end of the Hop River Trail hoping that it was starting at that end. No such luck. Does anyone out there have any information on when this section will be started?
This is a really nice trail, most of it is under a canopy of trees, nice scenic spots on the river if you want to stop for lunch. I took my hybrid the full 40 miles out and back. Except for maybe a half mile of stones and gravel in Bolton Notch where a mountain bike would be better, the rest was nice hard pack dirt and pulverized stone. I saw thin tire street bikes on this trail as well. There are very long stretches on this trail where you don't cross any roads, and except for maybe one exception, most of the crossings have little traffic and are side roads. I also like the width of the trail. Two thirds of the trail is very wide. After Andover it gets a bit more narrow but there were also fewer people on the trail towards Willimantic. The only down side is that the trail terminus in Willimantic is pretty anticlimactic. You come to a road that that's it. No parking lot or grassy area, just a road and you know its over unless you want to continue on-road biking to Willimantic.
As of September 8th 2018 there is only one thing holding back the expansion of the Charter Oak Trail from Porter Street to the Hop River Trail in Bolton, the bridge over Camp Meeting Road. It should be the completion of just a few details that will allow this section to be open to the public: accepting the last bridges and some land scaping work. Once the bureaucracy is done, riders will be able to connect from East Hartford to Bolton and beyond. That's about 15 miles of the Charter Oak Trail and 20 miles of the Hop River Trail that will be connected, finally. Of note, there are two more bridges in Windham and Columbia at the eastern end of the Hop River Trail that are going to bid this fall. Once done, it will open a trail from the Hartford area to Pomfret CT. Be patient. What's another year or so to get all these trails linked.
I am lucky emough to live 1/2 mi from the Farmington Valley Trail and use it quite frequently along with a few of my friends.
I used to ride my horse along this route before it was scheduled for paving for a rail trail. Back then very FEW people used it. Mostly young motorcross kids and horseback riders.
Since it has been paved - horses are now NOT ALLOWED!! (Too bad for us); but as I have moved away from horse riding to personal trail use I am SO HAPPY that I have this wonderful gift in my back yard. There are many many miles and it spans on into southern massachusetts as well.
The trail itself is wonderful; paved, stripe’d and mowed in my area. I have ridden into Mass and south to Simsbury. Before my section was paved I had to load my bike and drive to Simsbury and unload, reload etc. Now, I just hope onto bike (or walk) and go for as long or far as I choose. The scenery is mostly rural, treed and very few homes are seen unless you are crossing streets. I know there are black bears near our home (area) but have not SEEN one ON the trail (daytime use).
It is SUCH a marvelous thing - and I see dozens and dozens of folks biking, walking, & rollerblading. Its a joy to be out in nature!!
Labor Day weekend, 2018
I had a hard time finding the entrance at Swamp Road, it is only marked “No authorized vehicles” and, more ominously, “Police are monitoring illegal activities.” My 7-yr-old son was alarmed and frightened by the signs and the broken down structures, rusty dumped machines and the lack of a path about 500 feet in. Instead it’s a broad overgrown cement yard - too broad to find the narrow throughway to continue south. We rode around a bit on the broken glass and shards, and left feeling unsafe.
I will probably return without him to try again, as I would really like to find a path off the street to get to Trumbull, but I can’t recommend this segment above Pepper.
Well-maintained, great bike ride. Lots of really cool stops along the way. Beautiful views on the trail north of Hartford.
Great ride but especially by IBM and where there is an active rusty river flowing there needs to be work done.
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