Farmington River Trail

Connecticut

Register for free!

Register for free with TrailLink today!

We're a non-profit all about helping you enjoy the outdoors
  • View over 30,000 miles of trail maps
  • Share your trail photos
  • Save your own favorite trails
  • Learn about new trails near you
  • Leave reviews for trails
  • Add new and edit existing trails

Farmington River Trail Facts

States: Connecticut
Counties: Hartford
Length: 16.5 miles
Trail end points: Red Oak Hill Rd. at New Britain Ave. (Farmington) and Town Forest Rd. and Stratton Brook Rd. (Simsbury)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015455
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

With Unlimited:

  • Export to My Trail Guide
  • Create Guidebook
  • Download GPX
  • Download Offline Maps
  • Print Friendly Map
Upgrade Now

Farmington River Trail Description

A dozen miles west of Connecticut’s capital of Hartford, the Farmington River Trail forms a 16.5-mile arc that connects to the larger Farmington Canal Heritage Trail on both ends. The rail-trail was built largely on the former Central New England Railway right-of-way.

Beginning in Farmington, you’ll follow the river northwest through residential areas and past old trees. There are many points along this trail where you can stop and savor breathtaking views of the Farmington River, which is a National Wild and Scenic River, and perhaps even spot a heron resting on a rock. Winding through tree canopies and past old mills, rapids, and waterfalls, this paved portion of the trail connects Unionville, Collinsville, and Canton. The off-road trail experience ends in the lovely town of Canton, 10 miles from the start of your trip.

North of Canton, the route transitions to on-road sharrows (markings that indicate a shared bicycle-vehicle lane). Follow the bike route signs on these lightly trafficked roads to Simsbury. At the intersection of Town Forest Road and Stratton Brook Road, a small section of the Farmington River Trail is once again off-road. This portion of the trail has a stone-dust surface and traverses Stratton Brook State Park. The densely wooded park offers hiking, swimming, and fishing opportunities.

When you reach Bushy Hill Road, note that you’ll have to turn left and cross West Street to pick up another section of paved trail, which parallels the north side of West Street. When you arrive at Drake Hill Road, you’ll cross West Street again and parallel Drake Hill Road toward the Farmington River. Crossing the river on Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge provides a charming end to your journey. The metal-truss bridge was built in 1892 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. True to its name, it includes 62 flower boxes.

If you’re up for more riding, another connection to the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail can be made just before the Flower Bridge at Hopmeadow Street/US 202, forming a loop between the two trails.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the southern end: Take I-84 to Exit 39 and follow CT 508 east for 1.5 miles (it becomes CT 4). Turn left onto CT 10 S, and in 1 mile, turn right onto Meadow Road. Follow this road 1.6 miles (it becomes Red Oak Hill Road), then take a right onto New Britain Ave. and the parking lot will be on your left.

To reach the northern end: If you’re coming from Hartford, take US 44 W 9 miles to a right turn on US 202 E in Avon. Take US 202 N 4.7 miles to a right turn on Drake Hill Road. Travel 0.1 mile to a left turn on Iron Horse Blvd. Take your next left into the parking area.

Farmington River Trail Reviews

Well worth the 1 1/2 hour ride to get to!! We started at the Plainville parking area and decided to take this path to Simsbury and then return the Farmington Canal Path. The River path is beautiful and deserves the 5 stars. It runs along a beautiful river and brought us to the quaint little town of Collinsville. The only issue we had was the path came to an abrupt end at the route 202 & 44 intersection. There were no signs to indicate the street riding. Guessing , we proceeded on the street until we saw the cycling insignia. The only other poor signage is when you come out of the state forest and there is no indication until approx 100 yards that tells you that you're going in the right direction. We were glad we had the Rails to Trails Southern New England Guide Book we could keep referring to!

August 2017
It was a great ride, next to a river, shady, smooth, and there is a parallel Farmington Canal trail that meets this one at the southern end. The north end is near a conjesting roadway and was supposed to continue on a non-paved section, but I could not find it. Go check it out.

It is a great trail in the woods and thanks to lots of shade it is a very pleasant place even on a hot summer day. It seems like a perfect place for a walk or bike ride.

Last Sunday I went on about 22 mile afternoon bike ride with my husband which we really enjoyed. We started at the beginning of the Farmington River Trail in Farmington and rode almost all the way to Simsbury. Unfortunately on our way back, while I was riding as a second rider, I’ve heard some noise and turned my head in anticipation of seeing a squirrel jumping on a fence, but in reality it was a mature black bear leaning on the wooden fence and looking at me! A few seconds later as I passed it and turned back the bear was already on the other side of the fence on the asphalt path. Regardless of what it’s intentions were I got very lucky – I’m afraid to guess what could have happened if I would arrive there just 2 seconds later!

After I got back home I googled information on black bears sightings in Connecticut and it appears that both Farmington and Avon have one of the Connecticut’s biggest black bear populations with more than 900 reported black bear sightings according to the Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (http://www.depdata.ct.gov/wildlife/sighting/bearsight.asp). But what is the most upsetting to me is that in my 22 mile long bike ride I haven’t noticed any single sign of warning that would let people know of black bears seen in the area!

As much as I loved the ride and the sights I’m never coming back there again!

More on black bears: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_bear_attacks_in_North_America

Accordion

I am a roller blader, my friend and I went out around 5 and finished the 10 mile loop in about 3 and a half 4 hours. The roads were pretty nice, however the only thing I didn't like was the nice paved trail randomly turning into a road that was bumpy and rocky without any notice that this trail would turn into a road then back into a trail. Besides that it was a great ride, nice and smooth besides the sticks from the blustery wind. Great spots on the side of the trail to stop and check out as well. All in all, wonderful!

Biked the first 4 miles of this path. Level and wide. Loved it!

Rode this trail for first time today with my son and daughter. Started in Farmington and rode the first 10 miles to where a sign says bike trail ends. You can continue but would need to ride on side of road for a few miles. We turned around at this point and returned. Trail was in great shape, just a few small bumps close to the start, but even those were highlighted with orange paint as a warning. Ride is very flat and scenic, running along side the Farmington river.

About 2 miles from start there is a miniature golf and ice cream place, so we had to stop for ice cream on the return.

We definitely plan to return, as it was a great ride. Next time we will leave more time and combine it with the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail that intersects it where we started and at the end of the Farmington River Trail. It looks like you can combine the two trails for up to ~60 miles round trip, if you head North to the MA/CT border and return.

Rode this trail for first time today with my son and daughter. Started in Farmington and rode the first 10 miles to where a sign says bike trail ends. You can continue but would need to ride on side of road for a few miles. We turned around at this point and returned. Trail was in great shape, just a few small bumps close to the start, but even those were highlighted with orange paint as a warning. Ride is very flat and scenic, running along side the Farmington river.

About 2 miles from start there is a miniature golf and ice cream place, so we had to stop for ice cream on the return.

We definitely plan to return, as it was a great ride. Next time we will leave more time and combine it with the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail that intersects it where we started and at the end of the Farmington River Trail. It looks like you can combine the two trails for up to ~60 miles round trip, if you head North to the MA/CT border and return.

This newly redone Farmington River Rail Trail was a pleasure to ride today, July 6, 2015.
The prettiest part, along the river, that was so bumpy before, is now smooth smooth smooth!
We rode from Farmington, to rt 44 in Canton. Then returned and had a great lunch at LaSalles market in Collinsville, then back to Farmington. About 20 miles. The River trail is my favorite!

Thank you for all your hard work! The newly renovated trail is great and such a joy to ride. We come from New Milford,CT because we have nothing like this in our area. We'll definitely be returning

Well maintained. Great for cycling.

Love this trail, we need more of them in Connecticut!

On September 28, 2014 My daughter and I did our first ride on the Farmington Trails. And it was a beautiful sunny day temp. was around 80. The people were very friendly and everyone respected us on the trails.Thanks for our first ride The Wilson's!

Thanks for those who warned about the tree routes. I chose the mtn bike to cushion the ride with the suspension. I started on the north access in Collinsville and found that the tree roots were perhaps a bit overstated as it was only the first 2-3 miles of the trail. None the less the mtn bike cushioned the ride, but I would have preferred to ride the 18 miles on the road bike. Don't let this deter you. The ride is scenic, clean and well maintained. The East Bay trail in Rhode Island still sets the gold standard.
If you like this trail and are up for the drive you have to do it, at least once, in your life.

I live local to this trail and enjoy it a few times a month on my mountain bike. I usually treat myself to coffee and an egg sandwich at LaSalle Market and Deli when I get to Collinsville. There are many parking areas along this scenic path. The section from Burlington To Collinsville has tree roots and my be a bit bumpy for a road bike. I have heard it will be repaved soon. You can easily move from the path to the parallel road to avoid this section for now. If you want a preview you can ride along with me here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9YmS_ZI_mU

Happy Riding

enjoy this ride immensely but some roots are popping up in areas under asphalt

I love this trail, especially the huge bridge that crosses into Burlington. What a find! So much to see.

The only reason I don't give this trail 5 stars is because there is a horrible problem with roots poking through the pavement. I was terrified that I'd wreck my road bike or even go over the handlebars. Go slow over roots or avoid them if you can.

I live about a mile from the middle of this trail and know it well. I've run, biked, x-c skied, walked (with stoller, dog, wife, and more) over the trail hundreds of times. It's a beautiful area with a fun town to visit half way along the trail map. Collinsville has the unique breakfast/lunch stop at LaSalle, the Village Sweet Shop for a chocolate/sugar fix, Antiques to look at while visiting or you can end your trip and grab food/drink at Francescas Wine Bar or Crown & Hammer.

All that said, it is very, very busy during spring, summer & fall, especially on nice days and weekends. There are lots of dog walkers, families with kids (including mine), lovebirds taking a stroll, etc. If you're looking to move at a faster pace, you should look elsewhere or plan on moving to the road during the portion near route 179. You'll just be frustrated here if you want to go above 5 mph!

A 5* trail to come throw some rocks in the river, grab a snack and visit. A 3* ride for the more ambitious riders.

I love this trail but some of the older sections have tree roots that pushed the pavement up. You will have to steer around them so you don't damage your wheels. Its like going over speed bumps. Hopefully they will clean up some of these areas in the near future.

Last Thursday on my way to the North Shore of Boston I did the Farmington Canal Trail and had such a great ride I thought that on my way back home I would do this trail and had another great ride. This trail is much more scenic than the Canal trail as most of the first ten miles runs next to the Farmington Rive. I saw a Deer, a number of Turkeys, a Fox and a lot of Squirrels. Like the Canal Trail it has it all, Park Benches, Picnic Tables, a great Canopy, Mile Markers and great Historical Markers. My only disappointment was that after ten miles it just comes to an end. You then have to do a road ride up to Stratton Brooke State Park. It was not what I call a great ride between those two points. The 1.2 miles of the Stratton Brooke Trail made up for some of my disappointment as it is a great little trail. If you do this trail it is a dirt surface but is in great shape. From Stratton Brooke I went over to Simsbury and took the Farmington Canal Trail Back as I just did not want to deal with the five miles of Road. The ten mile southern section is family friendly, the only thing is some of the older pavement has a lot of tree roots and it is l little rough. The beauty of this trail is as good as it gets.

Thank goodness this is finally a paved trail from Rt 4 into Collinsville. Most of it is well engineered, the fences and crossings well done, with several parking areas - at the former terminus near the underpass and along Rt 4. Here's the beef - there is a distinct difference in the paving north of where Spellman Highway meets Rt 179 - it's "Tour de Tree Root" from there to Arch Rd. Not sure why this section is so bad, but if you have a road bike, be prepared to spend a lot of time worrying about your teeth. Park at the Red Oak Hill Lot, and you now have a 14 mile r/t on this western leg of the trail, and 44 miles r/t on the eastern leg.

After cycling the entire Farmington Canal Trail, I decided to ride the River Trail. Overall, I think it is much more scenic the Farmington portion of the Canal Trail. I especially liked the Collinsville section. My only complaint is that the paved trail ends abruptly in Canton and that you have to use the regular road the rest of the way until you pick up the Stratton Brook Trail / Farmington Canal Trail in Simsbury. I hope that they can develop this gap into a paved trail in the near future, but other than that it's a great bike trail.

Did 11 mile round trip with my husband. Nice ride, well maintained trail, flat easy biking. Might be very on weekends, had steady traffic, several walkers and moms with kids. Well shaded along much of trail, good views of river. Would definitely go back for another ride!

Had a nice ride this week from the start of the trail in Farmington all the way to Simsbury. The Burlington section is now open, as is the Canton to Simsbury link - all in beautiful condition. Take advantage of the early Spring weather!

I have been wanting to take a ride on the newly completed Canton section for a while, but have waited to do the New Burlington section at the same time. The 10.9 mileage is about right one way although the end at Canton does not have mileage markers yet. The new Canton section is well done and makes for a great ride. I parked with permission from the Ski shop at the end on Rt.44 and started a gentle down hill to Collinsville and the ride along the Farmington river headed south. There is however Parking at a park and across the street from the Canton fire station one block west from the start and on week ends should be used to keep the ski lot for customers. At MM 5 a newly completed section was a welcome relief from the 2 miles of root heaves from Black Locust trees left too close to the trail. With no mile markers between #5 and #3.5 I am not sure how much is left to do, but a construction worker says it should be finished in about a month and is packed gravel for about 3/4 of a mile to the underpass at Rt.4. I think the previous report confused the Farmington Canal Trail with The Farmington river trail.

In late September I rode from the Avon trail head north to a point about 4 miles into Massachusetts - 37 miles round trip. Contrary to the info above, the trail now passes through and well past Simsbury and continues seamlessly into MA, although the name changes at the border. Most of the trail runs on the old railroad right-of-way, but there are significant departures. In the Simsbury area the trail runs along side Rt 202 for over a mile, but not on it. Except for well-marked crossings, you are never ON a street.

It's asphalt 100% - not a speck of gravel except for some run-off from the recent rains. Yeah, there are root breaks, but show me a 20 mile paved trail without any. All told, it's an excellent riding surface, and the signage is plentiful and unambiguous. The various off-rail sections are not flat, but the ups and downs are short and manageable. All told, my aged legs were able to maintain a 12.5 mph clip over the entire route.

The scenery is varied and attractive - you won't be bored. There are long heavily wooded stretches above and below the CT-MA border, as well as some marshy areas. Lots of small rodents running back and forth. In the populated areas I didn't see anything that I would call ugly - no run-down or deserted factories or the like - but that's a subjective opinion. In fact, the towns are attractive, and you get to see a lot of back yards.

It's a trail i would definitely do again, on another trip to New England someday.

While reaching the end of the trail today in Collinsville and planning to turn around at the Nursery, I noticed a painted crosswalk and a continuation of the trail across the road. I followed newly constructed and paved trail ahead! I rode onward for about 2 miles on this new section and ended up at Best Cleaners on Rt 44. Looking like it ended there I turned around and headed back to Simsbury. Kudo's to Collinsville and Canton for extending the Trail!

This trail is in the process of being extended along the river. New paving has been done reently and sections of wooden fence is in place. The new section is not curently open "officially" yet.
This means you will no longer need to ride uphill on Rt 177 to the next parking lot.

If you are taking I-84 North it's exit 39 not 38.

It's a great destination rail-trail. My husband & I love this trail. We have biked it 3 times this past year. Upgrades are being done so check out the trail. The village of Collinville is so charming and historic. The village is a nice rest stop before heading back to Farmington.

My wife and i had a very enjoyable ride down off the Farmington Valley Rail trail form the 1.8 mile parking lot. Our intent was to joing up with the Farmington river trail where the two join.
When you get to the end Mile 0 of the Rail trail there are no clear concise signs at how to get to Mile 0 of the River Trail, You end up traversing a very narrow side walk ( to the right of the end of the rail trail) to you fid the parking lotto the River Trail.
At this point the river Trails is a very enjoyable ride untill you reach the Crossing at Plainville Rd. (Rte 177).
I don't know how to say this but this is a VERY DANGERIOUS CROSSING, There is no painted crossing area, the road is very heavely traveled with cars and trucks, there is no warnings signs as farther up the trail to warn Drivers of bikes crossing. The trail continues following the river untill is cross's route 4 ( well controlled crossing)(signs and painted lines) it follows route 4 then crosses under it to a parking area. at this point the trail ends it paved service
All in all a very enjoyable days ride for two old folks.

After a nice ride on the North Hampton we drove down Rt 10 and over to collinsville to check out the Farmington River Trail. There were a lot of bikers there at the market near the Center parking area. Not
that many on the trail. I did notice a lot of mountain bikes and after riding about a mile I soon learned why.
This is no trail for road or hybrid bikes of any kind. The root bumps are so bad I wonder how people can even walk this trail. And there are so many batches of people walking this trail its hard to bike because they seem to ignore that your on a bike and rarely give you the courtesy of moving aside for you, making you slow to a stop if there's oncoming traffic. I won't be back anytime soon unless something changes there.

Forgot to mention this in my last post. It is about 1000 yards up from the end of the trail.

Took a ride over from Avon today to do a loop off the Canal Trail and the section south of Collinsville is getting a lot of root heaving. I did not see many bikes although it was a nice cool ride. I was wondering if when being built more cut back of trees would help keep this from ruining a trail as fast. It seems that Locust trees close to the trail are the worst. I am still exploring to find a good way to climb over the ridge back to Avon from Collinsville with out the trafic of Rt. 44

As said on the page for the Farmington Valley Green way It is possible to bike south from almost the Mass. Line to the Plainville line and then turn north again on the Farmington river trail for a loop ride of over 30 miles. ( the 30 miles is from Simsbury and back not up to the Mass. Line) When you get to the end of the FVGW take a right and about 50 ft. you will cross a street to start.
The first 3.3 miles if asphalt and with the new underpass for Rt.4 very nice riding. You then will find about 2 miles of trap rock and dirt riding up to the section going to Collinsville. I think this is the town of Burlington and hopefully they will finish sometime. This is a very nice river ride along the Farmington river with a spectacular trestle at the edge of town. After the end you can wind through local back roads to pick up two pieces of an old RR (I think) that went over the ridge to Simsbury. I had scouted the easterly section last year and still have not found the section near Collinsville so we just road up and over Rt.44 to some more back roads and back down a 3 mile stone chip section of the old RR to join with Rt.167.

Trail Events

This trail does not have any events yet.
Be the first to add one!

Add an Event

Nearby Trails

Farmington Canal Heritage Trail

Connecticut - 48.3 miles

First a canal, then a railroad, and now a trail define the history of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail. Completed segments span Connecticut south...

CTfastrak Multi-Use Trail

Connecticut - 4.4 miles

A part of Connecticut's first bus rapid transit line, the CTfastrak Trail serves as recreational and multi-use path for walking and bicycling between...

Stratton Brook State Park Trail

Connecticut - 1.2 miles

The Stratton Brook State Park Trail presents a great way to work up an appetite for a picnic at Stratton Brook State Park, the first state park in...

Accordion

Charter Oak Greenway

Connecticut - 13.4 miles

The paved Charter Oak Greenway rolls more than 13 miles through the tree-covered hills and eastern suburbs of Hartford before crossing the Connecticut...

Sue Grossman Still River Greenway

Connecticut - 2.9 miles

Coming in at just under 3 miles, the Sue Grossman Still River Greenway is anchored by the towns of Winchester to the north and Torrington to the...

Naugatuck River Greenway

Connecticut - 5.4 miles

The Naugatuck River Greenway will one day span 44 miles from Torrington to Derby in western Connecticut, but is currently open in a few short...

Cheney Rail Trail

Connecticut - 1.7 miles

The Cheney Rail Trail follows part of the corridor of the South Manchester Railroad, built by the Cheney brothers in 1869. The line was a 2.5-mile...

Air Line State Park Trail

Connecticut - 57.4 miles

The Air Line State Park Trail winds nearly 55 miles from the northeast corner of Connecticut, where the state borders Massachusetts, down to East...

Middlebury Greenway

Connecticut - 4.5 miles

The Middlebury Greenway provides a paved, off-road option for a self-propelled journey across suburban Middlebury. The trail touches on several...

Larkin State Park Trail

Connecticut - 10.8 miles

The Larkin State Park Trail meanders 10.8 miles through the woods and around the lakes and low hills of southwestern Connecticut. The rail-trail...

Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail

Connecticut - 5.4 miles

Note: Per the State of Connecticut's website, the trail is open from dawn to dusk April 1–November 14. Eagle nesting activities can delay the opening...

Hop River State Park Trail

Connecticut - 20 miles

It’s hard to pick a favorite season to experience the Hop River State Park Trail, set amid the dense forests of Eastern Connecticut. Sections of the...

Download the TrailLink mobile app and take TrailLink with you!
Get Your 2018 RTC TrailNation Jersey!
Donate and Get a FREE 2018 RTC Guidebook!

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews
OR

Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more!
OR