View from Plains Road Bridge

View from Plains Road Bridge

Multi-Town Trails in the Willimantic River Watershed

One of the Willimantic River Alliance's visions for the Greenway is to link public lands by creating trails from town to town. Such trail projects are planned in Stafford/Ellington, in Coventry/Mansfield/Tolland and in the Willimantic area.

Midriver Trail

Mansfield, Coventry and Tolland have developed a 5-mile trail from River Park on Plains Road in Mansfield, through Riverview Trail Park on Riverview Drive in Coventry, to the King Riverside Conservation Area in Tolland. Click on each park for specific trails notes about that part of the Midriver Trail.

South to North

Mansfield

To walk from south to north, park at River Park in Mansfield (Directions: From Route 44 in Mansfield, travel south on Route 32 for three-tenths mile to a right turn onto Plains Road. In two-tenths mile, the park entrance is on the right by the bridge.)

River Park and Lynch Landing

The trail leads for a half-mile from the park entrance through Lynch Landing to Depot Road. Walk along the right (east) edge of River Park's field to a white-blazed trail into the woods at the north end of the field. This trail offers an easy walk through young hardwoods and hemlocks to Lynch Landing. When the trail meets a dirt road, turn right and follow the white blazes to Depot Road. Turn left on Depot Road (watch for traffic) and walk a short distance to Route 44 (Mansfield Depot). Turn right on Route 44, and walk about 300 feet to Thompson's store. Cross the highway and walk to the back of the former Depot Restaurant's parking lot.

Spring Manor Farm

The distance between between Mansfield Depot and Merrow Meadow Park is one-and-a-half-miles. The Midriver Trail leaves the Depot restaurant parking lot along an old farm road into UConn's Spring Manor Farm. The white-blazed trail soon turns into the woods on the left and meanders down to the river. The going is easy, but stay alert for the white blazes when the trail switches back and forth between the wooded riverbank and the farm road. Public access is allowed only along this trail.

Merrow Meadow Park

After passing brick buildings (UConn's wells), the trail climbs through a thicket of autumn olive shrubs to a large stone wall that marks the farm boundary and continues into the woods of Merrow Meadow Park. Follow the park trail along the river for a half-mile to the parking lot on Merrow Road. At Merrow Road, turn left and cross the bridge into Coventry.

Coventry

Riverview Trail Park

The Midriver Trail now enters Riverview Trail Park behind the park sign by the bridge. The park trail follows the river bank until the river turns away to the east, then it continues through ferns next to a narrow overflow channel. In a short distance, the trail nears Riverview Drive on the left. At this point (a quarter-mile from the bridge), the Midriver Trail turns left to climb up the bank to Riverview Drive (the park trail continues to the right over a footbridge).

Tolland

King Riverside Conservation Area

To continue north to Tolland, turn right on Riverview Drive and walk four-tenths-mile to a stop sign at a junction with Mountain Road (which leads uphill to the left). Stay to the right on Riverview Drive, which soon meets Jones Crossing Road. Continue straight to Route 195, then cross this highway (watch for fast traffic) to enter Dimock Road. Pass the church and immediately turn into the King Riverside Conservation Area on the right. Beyond the parking area, a yellow-blazed trail follows the river north for three-fourths of a mile to Newcomb Brook. The trail continues across a bridge on an old road, and at .010 miles turns right onto a short path connecting to Fox Ridge Lane. Turn left and follow this road for 0.75 miles to South River Road. Turn right and walk on this road toward the river. In a short distance the River Park entrance is on the left, but first walk onto the bridge to enjoy scenic views of the river before continuing on the trail along the River Park entrance road.

River Park

The River Park entrance road is closed to vehicles in winter. This road offers a level walking surface above the river and wetland, which often shelter migrating ducks and song birds during spring migration. The park road curves left past a well field (no public access) and ends at a parking lot for the athletic fields. Note that the road and fields are busy during the sports season. Follow signs at the northern edge of the parking lot to the adjacent 12-acre Becker Conservation Area. A yellow blazed loop trail (0.8 mi) was opened to the public on National Trails Day in June, 2014. The trail loops through pine and oak forest, rising and falling steeply, overlooking the Willimantic River below and to the east before returning to the parking lot. This is the northern terminus of the Midriver Trail.

Willimantic/Windham Trails

Willimantic/Windham is a potential trail hub where three greenway trails converge (Air Line State Park Trail, Hop River State Park Trail, and Willimantic River Trail). The East Coast Greenway from Florida to Maine is slated to pass through Willimantic via the Hop River Trail and the Air Line Trail (North). Linking these two trails through Willimantic and Windham will be an important step in completing the East Coast Greenway.

Hop River State Park Trail

On a converted railroad bed, this gravel trail is a wide, level path suitable for bikes and hikes. It begins at the Willimantic River near the Route 66 bridge in Columbia and extends west for 18 miles across Coventry, Andover and Bolton to the Vernon line. Park at the former roadside rest area on the west side of the Route 66 bridge or at town roads that cross the trail farther west. This trail is part of the emerging East Coast Greenway from Florida to Maine.

For more information on the Hop River State Park Trail and additional access points, visit Pathways of Connecticut.

Air Line State Park Trail (South of Willimantic)

This gravel trail on a converted railroad bed begins at the Willimantic River, but the first good access is where it crosses Kingsley Road in Lebanon. It extends 20 miles west from the river to East Hampton. There are plans to link this trail through Willimantic to the north section of the Air Line Trail.

For more information on the Air Line State Park Trail and additional access points, visit Pathways of Connecticut.

Air Line State Park Trail (North of Willimantic)

A short length of the Willimantic/Windham section has been completed and designated as the Veterans' Memorial Greenway Trail. It extends one mile east from the corner of Jackson and Union Streets in Willimantic for one mile to Route 66 near Tuckie Road in Windham. The surface is paved and is handicapped accessible. A short distance along Tuckie Road, the trail resumes on a gravel surface leading to Putnam, and on to Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

For more information on the Air Line State Park Trail and additional access points, visit Pathways of Connecticut.