Family trip on the Farmington River Valley Trail -- Connecticut

One of my favorite trips this past year was our family’s first outing on the Farmington River Valley Trail in Farmington, Connecticut. This trail is perfect for families with small children. You can ride as little or as long as you like, with wonderful amenities spaced out on the trail every few miles. There are also a multitude of diversions and attractions within a few miles of the trail. I highly recommend you do this trip in the fall when the foliage is at its peak.

Author with his son
The author and son crossing the Farmington River on one of the many bridges on the Farmington River Trail

For our bike overnight adventure, we parked in Farmington, near the trailhead. We started pedaling north and before you knew it we had traveled 10 miles or so to Simsbury, CT. It was still well before lunch so we took advantage of the excellent side roads and ventured off the trail to visit The Pinchot Sycamore tree which is the largest tree in Connecticut.

The Pinchot Sycamore
The Pinchot Sycamore sits along the banks of the Farmington river and offers a shaded picnic area.

Author's wife and son embrace the Pinchot Sycamore
The author’s wife and son encircle the Pinchot Sycamore

It truly is impressive and would make for an excellent picnic site. Our sites were set further afield. We couldn’t resist a ride up to Talcott Mountain State Park where we parked the bikes (take a lock!) and hiked 1.25 miles up the (at times) steep trail to the famous Hublein Tower. The hike was well worth the effort, rewarding us with views of the entire Farmington River Valley and the Berkshires of Massachussetts.

Author's wife and son hike to Hublein Tower
The author’s wife and son walk the trail up to the Hublein Tower

Hublein Tower
View of the Hublein tower

View from the Hublein Tower
Views from the Hublein Tower

After the hike, it was a long downhill cruise back to the valley and our appetites were growing by the pedal-stroke. Because we had decided to indulge ourselves during this weekend getaway, the next stop was Abigail’s Grille and Wine Bar. (Don’t miss sitting out on the back patio and taking in the glorious autumn sun.) After a delightful lunch, we set out to explore more of the area outside of Simsbury.

Our next stop was the Rosedale Farms & Vineyards, just about half mile up the road. The fall season is glorious in New England and the farm was decked out for pumpkin picking, and boasted an elaborate corn maze. Our six year old led us through the maze, and before you knew it, we had a very large pumpkin picked out for Halloween, which we picked up the next day in our car!

Mother and son at market
The farm stand at Rosedale Farms

Getting lost in the corn!
Getting lost in the corn maze!

A short cruise back south on the trail took us to our lodging for the night. The Avon Old Farms Hotel is the perfect spot on a weekend getaway. This superb facility on 12 acres also has one of the best Farm to Table restaurants in the area. Over dinner we debated about who pedaled the hardest!

The next morning, we slept in and took advantage of a sumptuous breakfast before packing our bikes and starting the short ride back to the car in Farmington. This ride surely will become one of our yearly rituals!

The author and six-year-old son Bayden Copley


Get more information about bike overnights.

4 responses so far ↓

Kidical Mass - Apr 6, 2011 at 9:15 PM

Maybe someone could do a little post about the first overnight Kidical Mass coming up this summer.

Cindy - Apr 25, 2011 at 1:34 PM

What a fun day!
I live nearby and have had the pleasure of visiting almost all of these destinations. I'm impressed on how much ground you covered in one day! Well done. Makes me wish I hadn't gotten rid of my bike a couple years ago.

Sam - Mar 20, 2012 at 9:20 AM

This is my favorite local ride. I still have to explore the southern side towards New Haven, but my favorite thing is to ride from Collinsville or Farmington up to Red Riding Hood's Basket in Southwick, Mass for lunch and back.

John9a - Aug 20, 2016 at 11:21 AM

I essential spent the summer riding those trails and some others. Felt like I lived on the trail.

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