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
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
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
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
Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.