The Farmington River Trail
The FRT is an 18.2-mile loop trail which links to the FCHT at points in Farmington and Simsbury passing through the villages of Unionville and Collinsville and the towns of Burlington and Canton to create a 29.5-mile loop connecting five towns. For much of its length, the trail nestles against the banks of the Farmington River tracing the route of the old “Canal Line” railroad. While the trail passes by some of the area’s loveliest landscapes, it also contains the longest stretches of on road riding.
To view pictures of the Farmington River Trail, click HERE.
Be Extra Careful at Crosswalks
After several years of trail use in Collinsville, it is apparent that Connecticut motorists and cyclists need to become better educated regarding crosswalk laws. Motorists repeatedly ignore pedestrians in our crosswalks and cyclists are riding across crosswalks expecting to be treated like pedestrians. Under state law, motorists must yield to all pedestrians on a marked crosswalk. Despite driver's education courses, driver's license exams; and the installation of multiple warning signs and pavement markings, most motorists have forgotten this simple law.
If you are a pedestrian waiting to cross, make your intention to cross clear but never assume that a motorist is going to stop. Never step in front of an oncoming vehicle, especially larger trucks that may have difficulty stopping in time.
If you are on a bicycle and want traffic to stop for you on a crosswalk, you must dismount your bike and walk it across the crosswalk. As long as you are mounted on your bicycle and in a public roadway, you are no different than a motorists and must obey the traffic laws.
Directions to Parking
Parking is available at several locations along the trail. The primary parking area for the Burlington/Canton portion of the trail is located immediately south of the intersection of Routes 4 and 179 in Burlington. A large sign on the east side of the road indicates the entrance. Parking is also available in a rest area on Route 179 in Burlington just south of Burlington Avenue. Parking in Collinsville is available at the Town Hall on the corner of Route 179 (Bridge Street) and Main Street. On-street parking is available throughout downtown Collinsville. Parking for the Farmington portion of the trail is located on New Britain Avenue west of Red Oak Hill Road. The Simsbury portion of the trail has parking available on Town Forest Road and at Stratton Brook State Park off of Route 309 during normal park hours
Trail Rules and Safety Tips
- Riding on a trail is very much like driving on a road. Whether you are walking, jogging, skating, or cycling, you must be aware at all times, be courteous to your fellow trail users, and follow some simple rules.
- Obey the Signs - For your safety, warning signs are located throughout the trail indicating hazardous conditions. Many trail users are apparently ignoring signs, which has led to several accidents. It is disturbing to watch parents lead children on bicycles and skates down the Burlington bridge approach ramp despite a sign prohibiting skating or skateboarding and asking cyclists to dismount.
- Safety in Numbers - Parts of the trail are remote and should not be traveled alone or at night. Use the trail with family or friends. If you must use it alone, choose a time when the trail is likely to be well used by others.
- Unattended Children - Small children should not be left unattended on the trail. An unattended child could catch poison ivy, eat poisonous plants, fall and injure themselves, drown in the river or be abducted by strangers.
- Closed at Night - For everyone's safety, the trail should not be used between dusk and dawn.
- Keep Right - The trail is only ten feet wide and filled with users traveling at widely varying speeds. If traveling side by side with companions, be aware that others may be traveling faster than you and may need to pass.
- Pass on Left - When passing slower trail users, announce your presence and let them know you are passing on their left.
- Observe the Rules of he Road - Arch Street is a public Street and motor vehicle laws must be observed. Mounted cyclists must keep to the right and pedestrians should walk on the left, facing oncoming traffic.
- Yield to Pedestrians - Cyclists and skaters, like motor vehicles, must yield to pedestrians and use caution when approaching from the rear as they may not be aware you are coming.
- Keep Dogs on a Leash - Dogs are welcome on the trail but some simple guidelines must be observed. Dogs should be kept on a short leash and under control. There have been reports of frightened or aggressive dogs snapping at passing cyclists. If your dog is likely to exhibit this type of behavior, perhaps it should remain at home. If your dog is inclined to "go to the bathroom" while on the trail, please be sure that it does so on the shoulder of the trail. If it does accidentally go on the trail, please make an attempt to clean it up if possible. Many people do not watch where they are stepping as they walk on the trail. Parts of the trail utilize existing streets to make connections between the dedicated portions of the trail. Please respect the rights of residents along these streets by not allowing dogs to "go to the bathroom" on their lawns or in front of their property. The sheer number of dogs on the trail can kill lawns and create a significant amount of waste for an abutting resident to deal with. One simple solution is to carry "ziplock" bags that can be turned inside out and worn as a mitt to pick up after your dog. When done, turn it right side out, zip it up and dispose of it properly at your earliest convenience. Don't waste your money on expensive bags when generic or store brand bags will do the job. One dog owner was seen cleaning up with a used plastic grocery bag which is free. As you walk several miles in your own shoes, take a moment to walk in the abutting residents shoes and don't forget to watch where you are stepping.
- Respect the Rights of Neighbors - Parts of the trail utilize existing streets to make connections between the dedicated portions of the trail. Please respect the rights of residents along these streets. Be quiet as you pass their homes. Respect their privacy by not peering into their homes or backyards. Stay off of their property and keep children and dogs under control. Hold on to your litter until you find a public trash can. Residents along the trail must drive to and from their homes using the very same right-of-way. Harsh words, dirty looks and obscene gestures towards residents trying to get to and from their homes are unfair and uncalled for. Remember that the residents were there first and the trail was built over many of their objections. It was their road before it became our trail. Let's make them happy to be a part of the trail and not give them cause to say "I told you so".
- Bridge Safety - There are many bridges along the trail and each should be crossed with caution. There are wooden pickets along the railings of the bridges. Rub-rails have been installed to deflect trail users but there is still a chance that cycle pedals could get caught in the pickets so be aware at all times. Jumping from bridges is prohibited. Water depth is difficult to judge and jumping from a bridge could lead to injury or death. Report jumping to the Canton Police located behind Canton Town Hall. Observe caution on the ramp to the Farmington River bridge. Dismount and walk cycles down the ramp. Refrain from skating or skateboarding down the ramp. Use the provided handrails if necessary.
- Littering - Please refrain from littering along the trail or the banks of the river. The trail and associated parking lots are not a park. We have not provided picnic tables, bathrooms and trash receptacles. Hold on to your litter until you find a proper trash receptacle. Carry out what you carry in. Take only pictures and leave only footprints.
- Vandalism - Vandalism has been an ongoing problem along the trail. Signs seem to be the primary target of the vandals who are bending or stealing the sign faces. If you witness any vandalism, please report it to the respective police department. If you find any vandalized or stolen items along the trail, please return them to the respective Town Hall if possible or report their location so that they can be retrieved. The trail is the responsibility of the participating towns and any repairs must be paid for by the respective Towns. If vandalism is discovered in Canton, please report it to Neil Pade, Town Planner at 693-7891.
- Crosswalks - There are many crosswalks along the trail; some crossing roads, others crossing driveways. Brick rumble strips and signs have been provided to warn trail users of approaching crosswalks. State law requires vehicles to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks but many drivers ignore the law and drive across crosswalks with pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross, so exercise extreme caution. Local police have stepped up enforcement of this law in an effort to educate the public and make them aware of the law.
- Parking - Please park in designated parking areas. The Canton Town Hall parking lot, the rest area on Route 179 in Burlington, and the parking lot at the intersection of Route 179 and Route 4 in Burlington are all available for parking. Unless you are a resident or their guest, please refrain from parking on Arch Street in Burlington as it is a narrow street.
- Poison Plants - Poison Ivy is rampant along parts of the trail and extreme caution is advised in touching any plants. Poison Ivy can take on many forms from individual three leaf plants to huge hairy vines as thick as a tree. The vines, although sometimes leafless, can be equally contagious if touched. Many small branches reaching towards the trail are actually offshoots of Poison Ivy that can be traced back to a vine on an adjacent tree. Remember: "leaves of three, let it be". There is also Deadly Nightshade or Belladonna growing along the trail whose shiny purple to black berries can be attractive to unattended children. If ingested, the plant contains an alkaloid poison.
- Swimming - Swimming in the Farmington River is not advisable as there are no lifeguards present and the river can be unpredictable. There have been many drownings over the years in towns all along the river.
Connecticut Greenways License Plates
You've seen the "Save the Sound" license plates, now Connecticut offers "Greenways" plates. Off the shelf plates cost $50, transfer of existing plate numbers cost $70 and new vanity plates are $135. Proceeds go towards funding greenway projects throughout Connecticut. Your contribution may even be tax deductible. For more information click on the following image.
Farmington Valley Trails Council
Farmington Valley Greenway
Trails and Greenways Clearinghouse
We welcome your comments and suggestions. Please feel free to e-mail the Land Use Office at firstname.lastname@example.org. The contents of this document are made available for the use of individuals and may not be copied or otherwise transmitted without the permission of the Town of Canton.