Best Bike Rides: Many Ways to Go Last Updated: October 2021
On back roads, canal paths, wooded trails and coastal excursions, there is biking for everyone in Connecticut – and spring is a great time of year to pop your bikes onto the top of your car and head out for the wide open spaces. Of course, there are many expert opinions about where to find the best bike rides in the state, so we have pulled suggestions from a number of good sources, along with links, so you can make your own determination. Wherever you head, one thing is for certain: There are very few ways better than biking for getting a close look at and feel for the wonders of Connecticut.
Connecticut B&B Bike Trail
One of Connecticut’s other great biking features is the Connecticut B&B Bike Trail, offering eight bicycling routes, each with a choice of bed & breakfasts along the way for comfortable overnighting. The tours also include some off-route highlights for more adventurous bikers. Please check with each B&B before venturing out, as some may be closed due to COVID-19.
Here’s a 30-mile, figure-8-shaped ride through Connecticut’s beloved Litchfield Hills, featuring orchards, farms, fields, forests, nature conservancies and lake views. You can find the details, and the details of dozens of other routes, easy and difficult, through the state, at Connecticut Bike Routes, a must-have resource for anyone interested in biking here.
Straight and True
One of the prime suggestions from traillink.com is the ride through Air Line State Park Trail, a 22-mile glide from East Hampton to Colchester and back again through an old train line first laid out in 1873. You’ll pass waterfalls, cross viaducts and get a good idea of how the trail got its name – it was part of a straight section of rail between Boston and New York.
On the Bridle Trail
Several Top 10 lists of rides in Connecticut include the 10.3-mile Larkin State Park Trail that runs between the western Connecticut towns of Middlebury and Southbury, passing small horse farms, ponds, wetlands and streams. You may have to share the passage with a rider on horseback or two, but the feeling is quite isolated and woodsy for the most part.
The Path Less Traveled
If you want to get up by the Massachusetts border and well away from the crowds, you might try a path through Route 20 between Barkhamsted and Hartland, skirting the northern end of Barkhamsted Reservoir and running through Tunxis State Forest, which also offers mountain biking for a faster pace.
One of our own favorites happens in the state’s so-called northeast Quiet Corner. Once you’ve been to this part of Connecticut, and specifically in the area defined by the Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers, you’ll understand why it’s been designated as The Last Green Valley. What’s even better is that a nonprofit stewardship organization called The Last Green Valley has come up with a terrific series of biking trips that will take you through the region, with many suggestions for things to see and places to eat and stay as well. One such trip, a 25-mile Canterbury/Scotland Loop, takes you past fields and streams, stone walls and grazing cows, with a stop for refreshments at the Scotland General Store.