Moosup Valley State Park Trail

Connecticut

Moosup Valley State Park Trail Facts

States: Connecticut
Counties: Windham
Length: 5.8 miles
Trail end points: Main St. (Moosup) and CT/RI Border
Trail surfaces: Ballast, Crushed Stone, Dirt, Grass, Gravel, Sand
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015468
Trail activities: Fishing, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Moosup Valley State Park Trail Description

This 5.8-mile trail is part of the planned East Coast Greenway, an off-road path that will eventually run from Calais, Maine, to Key West, Florida. The Moosup Valley State Park Trail will connect with Rhode Island's Washington Secondary Bike Path that stretches from the state border east toward Providence.

The Moosup Valley State Park Trail follows the bed of the former New Haven Railroad, which operated this line from 1898 until 1968, when it began pulling up tracks. Wide and flat, the trail is suitable for riders of all levels though it is not pristinely manicured. Its surface is largely hard-packed dirt, but this varies, and the trail is not recommended for road bikes. A hybrid or a mountain bike would be ideal.

Head out on this bucolic, scenic trail and you'll feel as though you have left civilization far behind. Much of the trail follows the Moosup River on its course past rural Moosup and Sterling on into Rhode Island. The trail begins with a large, re-decked trestle bridge. After 1 mile, a second bridge, as well as a dam and falls, come into view, and the trail becomes increasingly rural and wooded. You'll spot a quarry to the right, around the 2-mile point.

There's no clear line of demarcation between the end of the Moosup Valley State Park Trail and the start of the Coventry Greenway, the path's name once it enters Rhode Island. Determine your own best turnaround point.

If you plan to use the trail in autumn or early winter, beware that hunting is popular here. In season, you're advised to wear blaze orange. (Note: Hunting is not permitted on Sundays.)

Parking and Trail Access

To reach Moosup from Rhode Island, follow State Route 14 west from the state line; to reach it from Connecticut, take Interstate 395 to Exit 89 and follow Route 14 east toward Moosup/Sterling. The trailhead lies near the junction of Main Street/Route 14, South Main, Ward Avenue and Prospect Street (also Route 14). It begins at the large railroad trestle on dead-end Village Center Circle, on the same side of the street as the river. Park at the Moosup Adult Learning Lab.

Moosup Valley State Park Trail Reviews

Wish I had read the reviews before wasting my time driving out. Maybe someday this will be a nice bike trail, but that day is a long way off for it's current condition. It is basically an abandoned rail trail that locals must use for dirt bikes and some mountain biking. There is no established, groomed trail, it is sandy, rocky, and muddy. There are trees across the trail in some areas. It does start off paved for maybe a half mile, but that paved section is full of graffiti. Once you get to the end of the paved section, you have to figure out where to pick the trail back up as there are no signs anywhere. If I could have given a negative star, I would have.

This trail starts off with a nice railroad bridge then after crossing the road, continues paved for a short ride, then turns to mush. I followed a side trail (mean for a mountain bike) up the hill to the west side and followed the trail which seems to be muddy in some spots, not paved and in poor shape.

Like everyone else stated, skip that part for now.

Attempted to ride this on September 28, 2016, It is a disaster. The first half mile or so is paved. The trail then intersects a rode and disappears. We rode around for a while and then asked a local resident for info. He directed us around an old building to where we eventually found the trail. There are no signs anywhere on the entire trail!! Once we got back on the trail, it was very narrow and and full of rocks for a while, then it turned swampy, then got wider, but had the roller coaster effect from too much ATV usage. Don't bother trying to ride this on any bike. Walk it instead.

Accordion

After inspections on the Washington Secondary to the east, I decided to follow up with some further recon of parts of this trail. My first stop was Spring Lake Road in Sterling where I understood that paved trail ran from there west to the Providence St. bridge. That proved to be true and a nice ride through the woods. The trail had obviously been used, but pine needles covered much of the width. A sweeping would reveal more pavement. The existence of this half mile paved section and the nice bridge over Providence Street with rough trail either side is a little strange.
I then went to Moosup and rode the paved trail east from the river bridge 0.7 miles to Barber Hill Road where the pavement ended and rough trail began. The East Coast Greenway followed the trail from Moosup to Barber Hill Road, but left the trail there. So, on this trail, there are two paved sections with rough trail the rest of the way. Strange, but I'll accept pieces as building blocks to the future.

I've been investigating this trail as it is part of the developing link between Providence, RI and Putnam, CT. and a segment of the East Coast Greenway. It needs lots of work which I understand the state of Connecticut plans to do in 2017. Yesterday (9/4/16), I visited all the road crossings between the RI line and Providence St. I have previously visited the west end of the trail at the Moosup river bridge. All of the road crossings were overgrown and rough. I rate this trail as a fair hiking trail, but not good for bicycles. It appears to be more used by motorcycles and ATVs. These will disappear if a good trail surface and parking are installed. The Providence Road bridge is interesting as it is a nice 80 to 100 foot, weathering steel, bikeway span over the road with badly whaled trail on the west side. With clearance, trail surfacing, and provision of parking this trail could be as popular as the Washington Secondary trail in Rhode Island to the east with which it connects. But, it isn't there now.

We attempted to bike this trail from Sterling to Route 117. This trail is in horrible condition. Large sand pits and rolling coaster path. We had several dirt bike and ATV's run us off the trail. We even had two jeeps run us off the trail. This trial should be re-named the Moosup Valley Off Road Trail.

Unfortunately I agree with most of the lower star opinions. I attempted to ride here today after riding on other trails for a long while and this one stunk. Many areas are overgrown and dirt bikes have done considerable damage that would take a lot to over haul. I was hoping to use this trail to get to the trail in RI but I guess I'll be using my car to get their first and then ride. it's too bad because there is some areas with a lot of potential here.

I rode the western part of this trail again on 7/23/14 to check conditions and to see if any new construction had taken place, after not having visited in about 5 years. No construction or upgrade activity has happened recently, so the trail remains as I last saw it - paved for the first mile, then unimproved dirt. It had been cleared some years back, but doesn’t look like much has happened recently. Would be fun on a mountain bike, or walking though. The unimproved portions are continually wet and dark in the summer - unless you are very well prepared with mosquito defenses, consider not doing this trail on hot humid summer days due to the emerging presence of mosquito borne diseases in this area of New England. Cool dry days, however - have a great time walking or on a mountain bike. Looking forward to this trail connecting with its sibling in Rhode Island!

Rode this today looking for new trails in the area I have not yet seen. Some recon done on Google maps made it appear like a nice paved trail. Boy was I in for a surprise. It starts nice enough but quickly deteriorates to an unloved unmaintained mess. The unpaved portions are either loose sand, moguls or deep wet mud. Many crossings aren't terribly clear, one looked like I was entering someone's side yard and had to make my way around a group of parked/junked cars. As I crossed the street there was no clear path to continue, I switched to a short run on the streets until I managed to find the trail again. Little glimpses of very old crumbling asphalt connect to what looked like a somewhat recent street overpass but then back to loose sand and washboard terrain. I ended up giving up about 9 miles from the trailhead in sterling.

I brought the hybrid as it appeared to be smooth on Google but with all the sand the 29er wouldn't have been much better.

Scenery wasn't anything impressive except one pass through a marsh area. I encountered maybe 3 other people on a beautiful day and after experiencing the trail now I know why.

I can't seem to find much history on this trail but it really felt like to me a trail that had a little early development maybe 20 years ago and then it has been abandoned. Other than the one somewhat newish looking bridge (which creaked and groaned as I rode over it, so maybe next not that new?) There were 0 signs of any improvements.

Stick to airline south hop river or the canal trails instead of this disappointment.

I think the walking trails are nice, but I would rather have the trains back. With the increasing cost of fuel and the lack of public transportation, trains would help many people in rural areas move about. I still cannot believe they would ripp up rails that took years to install to make a walking path? How about transportation? I think we need to take another look at bringing the trains back. What do you think?

As a youngster I remember exploring the abandoned moosup/ sterling rail bed many times(pre-rails to trails). I have recently returned to the trail, this time visiting with my children with the hopes of them having the same experience I did. I was sadly disappointed with the condition of the trail, and found it no longer enjoyable due to the moguls carved into the rail bed. I believe this was done to discourage motorcycle and ATV use on the trail, but unfortunately it had the opposite result. It discouraged the intended users from using the trail. I found the trail very uncomfortable walking as well as biking on due to annoying sinusoidal topography of the moosup to sterling section of the trail. I would hope someone from rails to trails would see that a mistake was made with the mogul idea and re-grade the trail to is previous state so the trail could be once again be enjoyed by its intended users.

Granted, we went on a pretty damp day, but this trail needs to be leveled. Riding on it was like riding the tops of waves, and it got pretty sandy at parts. I'm really glad we explored it but I'm not sure I would go again.

This trail was one section of my bike ride from Providence, RI to Moosup, CT. I thoroughly enjoyed this trail and thought the landscape was interesting with many bogs, ponds, rivers, hilly sections, rock cut-outs and there is a beautiful waterfall(dam) next to a abandoned mill bldg. The trail runs along side the Moosup River offering pleasant views and tranquility. There were many deer tracks on trail and thru much of the trail the forest gives you the feeling of being miles from civilization. The bridges are all in very good condition and there are two paved sections of trail. There are some moguls but not nearly as many as the RI side of trail. I would highly recommend this trail to anyone using a mountain bike, loves nature and is in good physical condition.

It’s been a while since I last rode this trail, but here is what you can expect on your next ride. The trail surface varies greatly from paved in two short sections, hard packed dirt, sand, grass and gravel. Drainage is generally good, but there are a many sections that are likely to be wet if it has rained in the past few days. Bring a towel to wipe down with after the ride.

Despite gates that attempt to restrict motorized trail access, there has been a great deal of ATV and motorcycle traffic on the trail. Since the recreational vehicles always find a way around the gates, the trail would be better served by posts which keep out automobiles and allow bicycles pass freely. You will have to slow and or stop to safely get around the gates.

As other reviewers have noted, maintenance on the trail is minimal. I only found one small tree down over the trail and I easily rode past it. There were no major areas of standing water where I felt I had to get off the trail to avoid. I am willing to ride through a small amount of water (below my bottom bracket) and I found the trail to be firm underneath, and not muddy.

The trail is very rideable by mountain bike if you have a few skills and are in reasonable shape. You will encounter sections of trail that rise and fall regularly. This is caused by ATV and motorcycle traffic when they illegally use the trail. Bring plenty of water and some food before you leave from Moosup. The next store on the trail is about 10 miles from Moosup in Summit, RI on the connecting and undeveloped Trestle Trail. I rode the trail to Summit, RI and back.

This is not a trail for small children or the occasional recreational rider. The irregular surface requires additional energy to traverse, it also requires the rider to pay attention and choose an appropriate line to avoid minor obstacles along the way. Riders should be on the lookout for low branches and sticks. I strongly recommend helmets and glasses be worn. Despite these challenges, the trail does have some scenic river crossings and solitude one does not get on the very popular paved rail trails.

Last week while vacationing in Connecticut, we found this trail in the New England rail trails guide and decided to give it a try. It was a disappointment. It looked promising as we started on the paved section. Within a mile we encountered a blockade across the trail. We continued around it. The trail was littered with fallen branches and had not bee maintained. After another mile we came upon a nice dam on the river. At this point, the trail was blocked again and appeared to be in worse shape as it continued. We opted to turn around and return to our car. What a shame, the little bit of scenery that we saw of this trail was quite beautiful. I hope that the folks in Connecticut can get this trail up and running again. We encountered another couple who had driven 1 ½ hours to ride it. I am sure the community would find this to be a tourist destination that would help their economy. We were disappointed but learned a good lesson: always check www.traillink.org before we venture out on a trail.

The trail opened as a lovely and well thought out trail with fabulous bridges, etc. Even terminates at a Coffee Shop.

But, within one year it is hardly there. Dirt bikes have climbed the sides and erosion has done the rest. Too bad. It was beautiful and very historical. Don't know what can be done for these trails.

I have been enjoying many of the rail trails in CT and RI recently. So I ventured up to Moosup with high expectations. They were quickly dashed. The trail has not been maintained at all. It begins as asphalt (which was littered with a potato chip bag, pizza box and cans) and then became compacted gravel which quickly became dirt, sand and finally huge sections with mud and standing water. The path was so difficult to navigate we couldn't enjoy the view -- constantly on the lookout for large rocks, fallen branches, holes, mud and sand. We turned around after less than two miles. Too bad, it had potential.

" I have purchased property that abbuts the trail here in Moosup, CT. and I am looking for folks interested in getting this trail paved and landscaped. I believe this would be an important step in bringing more tourist into the nearby businesses and to begin the clean up of this area in general.
Let me know your ideas."

"Yesterday, 12 Sept 05, my wife and I rode from Plainfield terminus to very near the RI border in Sterling. The Sterling section is better than Plainfield but we will never ride there again until condition improves - too dangerous due to loose uneven surface due to heavy ATV use. we avg 3mph vs our normal 10mph."

"If you’re traveling on Interstate Route 395 near Moosup, CT you might want to stop and give this trail a try. The Moosup trailhead is located directly on Route 14, about 5 minutes from the exit 89 on the Interstate.

The trail begins in Moosup on a railroad truss bridge restored with a nice wooden deck. Following the truss bridge, you’ll find a short, well-paved trail segment. Beyond a gate where the pavement ends, the primary trail surface begins. One the day of my visit I encountered quite rustic trail surface conditions; loads of loose dirt, many eroded trail segments, countless exposed rocks, and quite a bit of standing water and mud. ATV and dirt bike riders frequent this trail, so use caution if you’re either on foot or a bicycle.

I rode from Moosup to a point where the railroad crossed a road on a now missing elevated bridge, just beyond the center of Sterling. The trail continues beyond this point but for how long I don’t know. Views along the Moosup to Sterling segment were somewhat less than breathtaking. There is a nice waterfall between Moosup and Sterling, but really not much else to see except a few abandoned factories and gravel pits, these mixed in with the heavily wooded countryside.

If you’re nearby, stop. Don’t travel too far though unless truss bridges strike your fancy."

"I just completed the trail from Moosup to near Greene, RI. It was a great day, but the trail is in decline, primarily due to heavy use by ATV's. The trail surface has many ruts and holes and mounds that are created when motorized vehicles speed, causing them to dig into the surface. It seems like a difficult problem. Riders on these vehicles go around, over, and through most natural and human made obstacles, creating extensive erosion and damage to the trail. Liter and trash are a common sight as well. Are there any strategies for dealing with this problem? I'd be willing to help.
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From TrailLink.com Staff: According to our records here at Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in Washington, DC, this trail is not designated for use by motorized vehicles. The next step should be contacting Scott Dawley at the Pachaug State Forest; he is the manager of this trail and can be reached at (860) 376-4075. The Pachaug State Forest staff will need to be involved in the development of strategies to mitigate the use of motorized vehicles on this trail."

I just rode the Moosup Valley Trail. I'm not that impressed because the trail has had a lot of motorcycle/quad use and is pretty torn up. It's an intermediate-level trail with conditions ranging from mud to deep dry sand. It was worth the ride there but wouldn't do it again. KK

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