Though the rails are long gone, this rail bed once offered fashionable, rapid transit from New York to Boston. Those who travel the corridor today witness the same inspiring panoramas and absorb the same solitude that has greeted travelers since the line was constructed. Stretching across eastern Connecticut from Thompson to East Hampton,... Read More
Towns included: Portland, East Hampton, Colchester, Hebron, Columbia, Lebanon, Windham, Chaplin, Hampton, Pomfret, Putnam, Thompson
Though the rails are long gone, this rail bed once offered fashionable, rapid transit from New York to Boston. Those who travel the corridor today witness the same inspiring panoramas and absorb the same solitude that has greeted travelers since the line was constructed. Stretching across eastern Connecticut from Thompson to East Hampton, this linear trail dates from the 1870s, and today draws walkers, hikers, horseback riders and bikers from across the state for the views, the relaxation and the solitude.
The trail exists in two sections: South, from East Hampton to Windham. North, from Windham to Pomfret with the Thompson addition out beyond.
The south section measures 22 miles and, with East Hampton and Hebron leading the way, is the most utilized and improved. This section is highlighted by the two tremendous viaducts, but nearly every increment offers locally favorite locations as the trail passes over streams with their requisite stonework, through state forests, past town parks, and along wildlife management areas. From the footbridges trail users still enjoy sweeping views throughout the seasons. Today’s surface conditions vary from compacted earth and crushed rock to gravel and stone dust.
The northern section from Windham to Putnam measures 21 miles with an additional 6.6 miles existing in Thompson. Here the trail has been cut back to its original width, and gravel has been installed from the Massachusetts line south to Sand Dam road, and from the route 12, Mechanicsville parking lot, 1 mile north to the I-395 overpass. The rest of the sections in Thompson have been rough graded and work is still in progress. Some sections still have the original rail ballast.
Gravel has been installed in Pomfret, from Pomfret Station located on Railroad street, south to Covell road. Work is in progress from Covell road south to Brooklyn road. The level section through Goodwin State Forest in Hampton provides a smooth and scenic run, and the southern end of the trail in Windham features a paved surface.
As surface improvements are being made, the various sections of the Air Line Trail State Park are combining to form one of the best greenways in all of Connecticut.
Activities include hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and horseback riding.Other Amenities: Cross Country Skiing, Bike Trails, Hiking Trails, Horse Trails, Nature Trails