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West Hartford Reservoirs Mountain Bicycling Trails

Central Region, Connecticut

Urban Legend, Recreation Areas, Family Cycling, Gravel Grinders

Trail Description

Location: West Hartford, 8 miles west of Hartford, CT.

Length/Configuration: Approximately 30+ miles of trails, woods and gravel roads. Design your own loop and out-and-back mountain bike rides.

Terrain/Surface: Dirt and gravel woods roads, fast single track with occasional obstructions.

Technical Difficulty: Varies from easy on woods roads to challenging single-track.

Elevation Change: Rolling terrain, cruising along ridge, some steep climbs.

Trail Use: Mountain biking, bicycling, hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing.

Caution: When on paved roads stay in the bike lane. Be courteous to other trail users and respect off-limits areas or trails.

This is a public water supply watershed and use is strictly regulated by the Connecticut Department of Public Health.


West Hartford Reservoir Trail Map

This trail map is a geographical representation designed for general reference purposes only. On schedule to be updated.


West Hartford Reservoirs Overview

The West Hartford Recreation Area is bordered by the Talcott Mountain of Central Connecticut, a 13-mile long, woods studded, precipitous line of cliffs stretching along the Farmington River Valley.

The recreation area encompasses Penwood State Park, Talcott Mountain State Park and the 3,000 acre West Reservoirs Area managed by the MDC (Metropolitan District). Reservoirs 3 and Reservoir 6, five small reservoirs and water treatment facilities. The beautiful Reservoirs are the public water supply watershed land that protects the quality of MDC reservoirs and drinking water.

While the two state parks offer fantastic hiking opportunities, if you're looking to go mountain biking near Hartford, CT, than the extensive West Hartford Reservoir Trail System is a venue you want to ride.

There are over thirty miles of of paved, gravel and woods roads, single track trails and a wheelchair accessible picnic pavilion. The MDC police will enforce watershed rules and regulations (Section 24-43c of the Connecticut General Statutes). Appreciate the Res. and enjoy your ride.

Reservoirs Recreation Area Trail Connections

Metacomet Trail

The Metacomet Trail is a 62.7-mile Blue-Blazed hiking trail that traverses the Metacomet Ridge of central Connecticut and is a part of the newly designated New England National Scenic Trail. Some portions of the Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail System are suited to multiple uses, such as equestrian and non-motorized bicycle traffic.

A 10.3 mile section of the Trail traverses the West Hartford Reservoirs Recreation Area along the western border of land owned by the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC). In other words beyond the WHRR border ---------------!

Mountain Bicycling Trails - West Hartford Reservoirs

The MDC West Hartford Reservoir Area is a well known and popular mountain biking destination near Hartford, CT. Because of it's proximity to the city, the natural beauty of the Talcott Mountain ridge lines and 30 miles of bicycling options., we are classifying this area as an MTB Urban Legend. There's something for everyone. Mountain bike riders of all ability levels from beginners to advanced riders will find that sweet ride.

Most of the trails can be accessed from the public parking lots at the north and south ends of the Recreation Area. The trails fork and branch off of the asphalt road at various intervals. Just follow the road and choose your bike ride. The paved access roads in conjunction with the fire roads in the area immediately surrounding the parking lots are heavily used. These are a good choice for beginners during non-peak times. If you use the paved roads, stay in the bike lane.

Intermediate to advanced level riders will find the more challenging trails in the woods. There are flowy and fast to malicious and technical singletrack. Because some of the trails deeper in the woods are more secluded bring a map of the Reservoirs Recreation Trail System provided by the MDC.

Red Trail: Reservoirs Counterclockwise

Mileage / Blaze: About 3.6 miles, Loop

This route travels in a counterclockwise direction around the reservoirs.

There's plenty of variety; tough steep climbs, drops, technical singletrack with occasional obstructions, wide doubletrack trails and some gravel, dirt, and paved roads that wind through beautiful dense woods, open areas and along ridges. Just enough to keep intermediate to advanced riders interested. Now and then you will skirt along the southern shore of Res. 3. At the intersection with the northern tip of Res 3 and Dyke Pond Road there are trail kiosks. Keep on the Red Trail and loop around under Res. 5 back to the start. You'll be rewarded with refreshing Reservoir blues.

Ride Option 1: Yellow Trail

Mileage / Blaze: 2 mile Loop, Easy / Moderate, Loop

Do an innie (a concave navel) using the Red Trails's inner Yellow Trail Loop (dirt/gravel) to extend your bike ride. You can hook onto this from the Red Trail at several junction points. It cuts through the center of Reservoir 5. It's a level ride with some climbs and loose scree.

Ride Option 2: Finger Rock Road

Mileage / Blaze: About .13 mile, Easy, Loop

From the Dyke Pond Kiosk on the Red Trail, head west between Reservoir 3 and Dyke Pond onto Dyke Pond Road. At the junction with Newton Brainerd Road, veer southwest onto Finger Rock Road, a popular dirt/gravel Fire Road. It's an easy climb up to the 'Finger Rock' landmark and Fall Foliage color in Autumn. It's a fun coast back down.

Trail Access

Use the public entrance off Farmington Avenue - Route 4. From the parking lot ride onto a paved well-marked path used by by both pedestrians and bicyclists. At around .25 miles you'll pass through a yellow gate and begin the climb up to the dam at the south end of Reservoir #3. From there ride counterclockwise on the Red Loop.

Historical Notes

For more than 90 years, the MDC has played a preeminent role in the Hartford, CT Capitol Region. From its beginning as a water and waste removal service provider, its services have expanded greatly to include park maintenance, GIS services, recreation and more. The District remains ready to continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of the region.


From the North and South: Take I-91 South or North to I-84 West and follow the directions below.

From the East and West: Take I-84 to Exit 39 (Route 4). At the end of the ramp take a right at the light onto Route 4 East. At the sixth light (a distance of 2 ½ miles) take a left into the Facility.

More Information

MDC Administration Building

Entrance at 1420 Farmington Avenue

State Recreation Area: Metropolitan District Comission (MDC)


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