Norwalk River Valley Trail


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Norwalk River Valley Trail Facts

States: Connecticut
Counties: Fairfield
Length: 5.8 miles
Trail end points: Wilton High School (Wilton) and Oyster Shell Park (Norwalk)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6424723
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Norwalk River Valley Trail Description

When completed, the Norwalk River Valley Trail will run from Danbury to Long Island Sound in southwestern Connecticut, for a total of about 27 miles. Currently, several disconnected sections totaling nearly 6 miles are completed in Wilton and Norwalk.

In Wilton, at the current northern end of the trail, a segment goes from Wilton High School south to Ridgefield Road, paralleling Danbury Road. A highlight of this section is its passage through Lovers Lane Open Space and Merwin Meadows Park, where the trail is wooded and close to the Norwalk River.

After a short gap, the trail picks up again farther south at the Wilton River Park Shopping Center and closely follows River Road down to Horseshoe Park, which is centered around a large pond.

East of those segments, another portion of the trail picks up on the south side of Sharp Hill Road and winds through a heavily wooded corridor to its end at Danbury Road.

The segment in Norwalk is the trail’s longest completed portion. It begins in Union Park and traverses Mathews Park with access to several popular attractions, including the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, Stepping Stones Museum, and Center for Contemporary Print Making. From there, the trail heads south and continues through Oyster Shell Park, a sprawling riverfront greenspace dotted with public art. The trail ends near the southern tip of the park, at the intersection of N. Water Street and Ann Street, where travelers will find access to restaurants and entertainment.

In 2018, construction is expected to begin on Redding's first section of the trail. Dubbed the Redding Mile, it will run from Fire Hill to Pickett’s Ridge Road.

Parking and Trail Access

In Wilton, parking can be found in Merwin Meadows Park (180 School Road).

In Norwalk, the trail can be accessed on the north side of Norwalk Maritime Aquarium and also from Mathews Park and Union Park.

Norwalk River Valley Trail Reviews

It's grown since the last few comments you see. Norwalk is fairly well done, and the Wilton section is actually quite nice. it's funded by donation only, but I think they got a few public grants. The point being that it's slowly growing, and I am optimistic.

I started on Mott Ave. and continued to intersection at Matthews Mansion. OK so far- crossed the street, and followed green NVRT signs into Matthews Mansion and the trail abruptly stopped at a playground. I didn't realize I was supposed to stay on West Ave. at all. Disappointed.

This is a series of chopped up paths, sidewalks and parking lots. And prat along a dump throuh much of it, and expect to see tons of graffitt. Not kid friendly. Norwalk is not a bike friendly town, so watch carefully. Best to head to Westport if you want to ride on bike friendly roads.


It is not necessary to "cross 3 highway ramps" to proceed south from Mathews Park to the Maritime Center. Simply head east along the north side of I-95 to reach an underpass (you will, however, be at a waste transfer station entrance). Cross the tracks, and the trail goes due south on the east side of the tracks - straight to the Maritime Center.

I walked the center portion of this trail September 20, 2010.

Although the description lists this as a 2 mile path, the longest distance you can walk without leaving the trail and passing through a number of city streets is less than half a mile. The part of the trail from Union Park south to Matthews Park runs along US Route 7 and is paved, well marked and an interesting walk. The southern terminus at Matthews Park brings you to the Civil War era Matthews mansion that was featured in the two "Stepford Wives" movies. The mansion is open to the public for tours.

The Maritime Center portion of the trail runs along the Norwalk River near Long Island Sound. Getting there from Matthews Park is quite difficult. The connecting road goes under Interstate 95 and you need to negotiate across three highway entrances and exits. South of that is an urban renewal project with no sidewalks. You would need to walk in the heavily traveled street to reach the Maritime Center segment of the trail.

From Union Park north to the New Canaan Avenue-Broad Street portion of the trail is about a mile. The road is narrow, busy and there are no sidewalks. This is not a safe place to walk.

The concept of a walking trail from Long Island Sound north for five miles along the Norwalk River is very interesting. This is a densely populated area and the trail would be within 5 minutes walking distance for thousands of people. According to Connecticut DEP Bulletin 33 "Pathways through Connecticut," this trail was under design and construction 10 years ago. Let's hope they don't need another 10 years to complete the project.

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