The Stratton Brook State Park Trail presents a great way to work up an appetite for a picnic at Stratton Brook State Park, the first state park in Connecticut to be entirely wheelchair accessible. The park also offers picnic areas, as well as fishing and swimming on its lake, created by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression when it dammed the brook. A covered bridge accesses the trail midpoint.
From the covered bridge, the shaded rail-trail shoots northeast by southwest along the right-of-way of the former Connecticut Western Railroad. Head northeast to take in 1 mile of dense evergreen forest fragrant with pine and hemlock. Ferns carpet the forest floor, and the tree canopy creates a tunnel effectespecially beautiful in winter. After bridging Stratton Brook and rounding a gentle bend, the trail exits the park, ending at the Bushy Hill Road/State Route 309 intersection. Here, it connects to the short northern segment of the 8-mile Farmington River Trail
The Stratton Brook State Park Trail links the Farmington River Trail with the much longer Farmington Canal Heritage Trail
. You can also access the canal trail by turning right on State Route 309 and following the shoulder 0.5 mile.
For another option, turn southwest from the covered bridge and cross Stratton Brook Road. From there, the old railroad grade is a paved, but seldom used, road for 1.7 miles, where it enters Massacoe State Forest. Crews once used this corridor to demonstrate fire-control techniques along rail lines.
To reach Stratton Brook State Park, take Interstate 84 to Exit 50, follow US Hwy. 44 west for 9.5 miles, then turn right on State Route 10/US Hwy. 202 north to Simsbury. From town, head south on State Route 167/Bushy Hill Road, then veer west on State Route 309 for 0.9 mile. The park entrance is on the left.