Farmington River Canal
A trail system covering over sixty miles generally following the canal built in the 1820's and opening in 1828. This trail runs from Farmington to the Suffield/Southwick border along the now defunct Canal Line Railroad. While some sections have been completed, the trail is still undergoing work in many of the towns along the corridor. In Suffield, the trail project was split into two phases. The first phase, completed in 2000, is the southern section of the trail including the Phelps Road bridge. A .3 mile section, including bridges over Palmer Brook and Mountain Brook, is expected to be completed in the near future. Eventually, once connected to trails in Cheshire and Hamden, bikers/walkers will be able to travel from MA to New Haven. For more information contact the Farmington Valley Trails Council.
Suffield/Windsor Locks Canal Trail
This historic 4.5 mile trail running from Windsor Locks to Suffield, was once used during the 1800's by horses and mules to tow boats along the canal. The Canal Trail is part of a master plan known as the Windsor Locks Canal State Heritage Park. A civic organization, Friends of the Canal with members from Suffield, Windsor Locks, Enfield, East Windsor and Longmeadow, MA, are committed to improving the canal area. The Canal Trail is open April to October and appeals to nature enthusiasts.
The Canal Trail was built by hand between 1827 and 1829 by Irish immigrants. It is 5.5 miles long, 80 feet wide, but only 4 ½ feet deep. Three locks were built to accommodate the 30 foot elevation drop along it’s route, as well as an aqueduct to carry the Canal over Stony Brook. The Toe Path, which is the 4.5 mile hiking/biking path today, was used by horses to pull the boat traffic through the Canal. The Canal was built to enable boating traffic to avoid Enfield Falls, a series of rapids along this section of the Connecticut River. After the railroads came along, it functioned as a power source for nearby mills.