From the Erratica beginner trail at Rockland Preserve to the aptly named “Vomits” advanced trails at Collis P. Huntington State Park, Connecticut offers mountain bike riders a wide ranges of choices for pedaling through nature. Many of these sites offer stream crossings, jumps, drops, berms and other natural and man-enhanced obstacles, such as the “Green Monster” at Pequonnock River Valley State Park. There are places in every corner of the state where mountain bikers can enjoy and challenge themselves, and while information about all of them can be found on the internet, only a few are located in areas where riders can call or otherwise contact for information. Here are just five of the top spots to go mountain biking in Connecticut.

Rockland Preserve
Route 79, Durham Road
Madison, CT 06443

Rockland Preserve in Madison has 25 miles of track, most of which is rated intermediate. The 650-acre preserve has four main trails: Erratica for beginners, Summit and East Loop for intermediate and Mag-5 for advanced riders. There is also the Rockland Challenge XC Loop which is 15 miles long and the Northern Exposure route which is not only rated as challenging as the Mag-5, but also requires a lot more climbing. Each trail is unique, with jumps, obstacles, berms and other stunt options. The site is maintained by volunteers, and there are parking lots at Route 79, Durham Road.

Pequonnock River Valley State Park
Trumbull, CT 06604
(203) 366-5405

There are 16 miles of multi-use trails at Pequonnock River Valley State Park in Trumbull. Considered a “free-rider’s paradise” by users, it has many drops, ranging from two to 20 feet, and is the site of the “Green Monster,” which at 30 feet high is the highest roller in the state. There are four marked trails, each rated for difficulty. They are for the most part well-maintained, although riders should watch out for watery spots, stream crossings and some rocky parts.  For more information call the Greater Bridgeport Regional Council, which maintains the river trail, at the number listed above.

Middlesex Community College Trail
Route 9, Exit 11
Middletown, CT 06457

There are about 20 miles of tracks which start at Middlesex Community College in Middletown. The many different trails are rated for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders. The trails include a variety of obstacles, and riders should pay attention to their route, lest they wind up in Higganum, about 10 miles from where they entered and parked their car. The college, unfortunately, does not offer any information on the trails, but a search of mountain bike websites will turn up additional information.

 Related: Best Biking In Connecticut

Collis P. HuntingtonState Park
Sunset Hill Road
Redding, CT 06896
(203) 938-2285

Collis P. Huntington State Park in Redding has 20 miles of trails, most of them rated intermediate. It is also home to the Rock and Roll Trail, rated as one of the most difficult in the region. There are many difficult climbs and some big drops, nicknamed “The Vomits” for reasons obvious to any who make it to the top and then down again. Riders are cautioned that the areas of this trail marked as advanced are extremely challenging and meant only for experienced riders. Such riders should take care to ensure that someone knows where they are in the event of an emergency.

Cockaponset State Forest
10 Ranger Road
Haddam, CT 06438
(860) 345-8521

Most of the 20 miles of track at Cockaponset State Forest are meant for advanced riders, and advanced riders only. With names like “Cross Stuntry” and “Epic” these trails are packed with natural obstacles.  Maps of the multi-use trails can be found on the state park’s website.

Related: Top Bike Rentals In Connecticut

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