Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail


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Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail Facts

States: Connecticut
Counties: Hartford
Length: 5.4 miles
Trail end points: Franklin St/CT-190 (Suffield) and Main St & CT-140 (Windsor Locks)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Canal
ID: 6015440

Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail Description

Note: Per the State of Connecticut's website, the trail is open from dawn to dusk April 1–November 14. Eagle nesting activities can delay the opening of the southern trail head in Windsor Locks.


The Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail occupies a narrow strip of land between the Connecticut River and the eponymous canal. Also known as the Enfield Falls Canal, the waterway opened in 1829, allowing boats to avoid shallow water along this stretch of the adjacent river. Now operated as a state park, the 5.4-mile paved trail replaced the towpath once used by mules and their human drivers to tow freight along the canal until the system was rendered obsolete by railroads in the mid- to late 19th century.

About the Route

The trail’s isolation between two waterways, as well as its abundant vegetation, makes it the perfect place to spot wildlife. The natural beauty and tranquility, coupled with its convenience to large population centers in both Connecticut and Massachusetts, make the trail a popular destination. Families, many with leashed dogs, are particularly abundant. A short segment of the route built more recently extends the trail over the CT 190 bridge to the east, providing nonmotorized access to residents of Enfield and no doubt increasing the trail’s use even more.

The northern end of the trail is at the end of Canal Road in Suffield, where there is a large parking lot. Heading south, trail users are forced to navigate a narrow footbridge over the canal. Carefully avoid the fishermen who are almost guaranteed to be plying their craft—indeed, cyclists are often seen riding down the trail with rods slung over their shoulders en route to their favorite fishing spot—and then enter the comfortable shade of the official towpath.

The scenic, well-used path is a straight shot south, providing ample opportunities to take in expansive views of the Connecticut River to the left. Aggressive tree roots pushing up the asphalt can make for a bumpy ride, while the many geese who lay claim to the trail don’t like to clean up after themselves. Along the route, there is occasionally old stonework from the canal’s rich history.

Closer to the trail’s southern end, the route passes under Amtrak’s active New Haven–Springfield Line, which crosses the Connecticut River here—making the trail an ideal vantage point for railfans. Shortly thereafter, the southern end of the trail is at a nondescript parking lot and traversable gate intended to prevent cars from accessing the trail. The lot is located behind a vacant factory, one of many that once used water from the canal to power its mills after the waterway’s transportation use ceased. Continue down the paved access road behind the building to reach CT 140 and nearby civic facilities in Windsor Locks, or turn around and head back to the north end of the trail.

Parking and Trail Access

The Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail runs between Franklin St/CT-190 (Suffield) and Main St & CT-140 (Windsor Locks), with parking available at both ends. 

Visit the TrailLink map for detailed directions. 

Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail Reviews

Not for road bikes

This has the potential to be a special path with unobstructed views of the Connecticut river and distanced from development by the canal. Truly a touch of wilderness. Excellent access. Will be a favorite when it is repaved. Now it is just too bumpy. Maybe in the near future? Then it will be five stars. In the meantime, if you have the right bike or like to walk, this trail is magical.

I do my run here a few times a month, It is so beautiful I really like it. It is so green and right next to the CT River the air is so clean. It's good for a long run where you can get up to 10 miles and it's a well maintained trail.

I do my run here a few times a month, It is so beautiful I really like it. It is so green and right next to the CT River the air is so clean. It's good for a long run where you can get up to 10 miles and it's a well maintained trail.

A beautiful trail in need of resurfacing

My wife and I rode our recumbent trikes on the entirety of this trail on a Saturday evening. For the most part, we encountered only walkers. And based on the surface condition of the trail, I understand why. The pavement has deteriorated and is full of root-bumps and small dips. It was a very rough ride.

I would recommend this trail for walkers, joggers, or cyclists if you've got a bike/trike with a suspension. The bulk of the trail is on the old towpath between the river and the canal, so other than the north and south ends, you are separated by water from the rest of the world. This makes for a quiet, relaxing, and scenic trek. The northern terminus near the parking lot, which also forms a "T" with the CT 190 bridge, and the southern terminus by the renovated mill building are new and in great shape. All we need now is for Connecticut to resurface the original portion... even stone dust would be better than the broken pavement.

wow ¿

What a cool, beautiful, pleasant surprise. So glad I decided to check this trail out. Nice parking lot adjacent to the mill apartments on southern end. Road the entire thing including the T portion across the river to Enfield and to the west into Suffield. I will go again and bring some friends. So picturesque.


Bumpty Bump Bump

I road the entire nearly six mile trail today. The scenery was beautiful and the water views gorgeous, if you could look away from the trail surface. The asphalt is tired, cracked and roots cross it in many locations. I road a street bike with narrow tires which was a mistake. The trail surface is better suited to MT bike or larger tires.
I started at the southern end. Follow along the east side of the factory building to the newly refurbished parking lot with picnic tables. Then the trail goes north to the intersection with Route 190. Turn west to get to Route 159 and back track over the CT River to see the whole trail. At 14 MPH, I need to get my fillings replaced due to the rough surface. The CT Parks Division needs to put this trail on the rehab list. Despite my complaints, it's a pretty trail in need of work.

nice quick ride

Decent trail.. gets quite busy. To many people constantly stopping on trail . Biking is tough there on a busy day. Better in early morning or evening.

Windsor Locks Canal

This trail may closed for a period of time which may change due to raptor nesting. You don't find out till you get there. You can also take the new path over the river to connect to Route 190 East to the shopping area, there are no signs telling you which way to go once you cross the Ct River

Lovely Ride, a bit bumpy

Thursday, August 15, 2019
Weather upper 80's F, humid. Slightly cloudy.

I drove 2.5 hours last year to arrive here at a trail closed due to insurance problems. Grrrr....
This year it was great. A nice parking lot at either end, the trail between is a nice mix of sun & shade, seclusion and water views. Yes, the asphalt trail can be a bit bumpy, but it is still better than unpaved. I have to admit, the best time to view this trail would be in the autumn when the leaves are at peak color, or after they have fallen for the best views everywhere. But it is worth a visit. You can combine this trail with the Connecticut River Walk in Springfield, MA, which is a bit shorter, but rightr along the river and very nice. It's about a 15-20 minute drive between each trail. I had a wonderful day doing both trails.

Warning: some of the trail photos are not from the Windsor Locks trail that I rode 5 days ago. I do not recognize them.

Warning 2: don't trust the parking lot addresses on Traillink. If you are driving further than half and hour always bring several addresses to try.

Ok ride

The trail is very scenic but it is narrow and bumpy. Probably better for walking than riding.

very nice 5 mile trail. great for walking. surface is rather bumpy even on my hybrid. can't beat the views. lots of wildlife.

very nice 5 mile trail. great for walking. surface is rather bumpy even on my hybrid. can't beat the views. lots of wildlife.

Trail Closed

Went to the south access point in Warehouse Point and found no parking lot, no sign, and no trail! Drove through the building construction only to find a fence blocking the trail. So I went to the north end in Enfield and that too was blocked with a locked fence. No sign or other way to know it was closed. Hope someone will keep the status updated in the future!

Wait for 2nd Review

Always take the directions, address or GPS coordinates to at least 2 parking places from this site. Also, review the trail's site here before driving for any updates.

After waiting a year to go to the Windor Locks trail and driving 2.5 hours, I could not access from the southern parking lot. I asked at 2 stores and a town library about parking and no one could help me. So now I will have to go back another time. That's a long drive for just 11 miles roundtrip bike ride.

Bumpy but nice ride by river

As others mentioned a little bumpy from roots. Parking on south end is just beyond an old factory building. Turn down single lane road just before canal. There looks to be a gate across the trail, but there is a bike opening to the right. North end has nicer parking in a small park. Some historical info about canal in park. Trail continues north beyond park. Not sure how far it goes.

Beautiful but rough

Beautiful ride along the river BUT you better have a very soft seat to absorb the rough surface!!

More Cons than Pros

Pros: Clean toilets. Clean parking lot. View of the Connecticut River and bridges. Not much traffic. Cons: Bumpy trail. Geese on the trail. Goose poop covered trail. Geese will not let you go by if their goslings are with them. The smell of the canal in some locations. Water flowing on both sides of the trail (not for children).

Closed for Eagle Nesting

The trail is closed from November to April for Eagle nesting! Happy for the birds. Made me bike somewhere else and find some delicious roadside turnips.

bumpy for skinny tires

nice trail just bumpy for my bike. skinny tires, also part of it is closed because of Eagle nesting. found out after about 3/4 of my trip. happy riding

views of ct. river

trail is a nice trail for views of the ct. river but it is bumpy. the asphalt needs replacing. Also better for walking than biking due to the short length. Part of the trail is closed for eagle nesting.

Those are bumps?

Canal trail is beautiful for its variety of scenery. It may not be perfectly paved, and since I ride a cruising bike with balloon style tires, the few "rough" spots are meaningless little bumps. I see speed bikes all the time and they move along at a good pace so I don't think bumps are really an issue. Both parking lot entrances could use a little repaving though.

Nice starter ride

Started at the south end near Rte 140. parking is up a narrow driveway with vicious speed bumps. Recommend starting at the north end. Trail is well maintained with reasonable views of the river and constant view of the canal. Interesting overlooks and birds, rabbits turtles etc. appear when you are quiet. Found wild grapes to eat and assume wild fruit are available seasonally. Lunch at the Maine State restaurant in Windsor locks, rte 140 is great, and just over the river from the South entrance. Had a great time. About 9 miles back and forth. Porta potty at north end. Family level ride.

Shorter than planned

Access from south end of the trail is blocked. Drove up to north access area and rode the trail south. paved and kinda rough; definitely not a road bike trail. Due to eagle nesting; the trail is fenced off and access blocked starting at the railroad bridge on south to Windsor Locks. Only about 1/2 of the trail is open. Signs said that part of the trail was closed until Jul 15th

I love this trail.

I have been walking and biking this trail for years. It just opened for the season a couple of weeks ago, and there was a bit of much needed upkeep done to it before opening, whether pruning back some of the bushes that had started encroaching on the trail, or fixing some of the crumbling parts of the roadway, and it even looks like a trail down to the water for fishermen and women near the northern entrance has been added. It has beautiful views, though sometimes the southern end is closed due to the bald eagles nesting. Depending on time of day, there can be little to no shade over the trail itself, despite all of the trees, so do not forget your sunscreen!


Trail is fun but rough, areas are tilted towards the canal side. Needs to be repaved

Path for hikers only

The trail is kind of pretty, really short.

The south entrance should be avoided unless you are in a suv with great ground clearance. My camry bottomed out and had a hole put in my exhaust that costed two hundred bucks to repair.

Expensive bike ride that didn't even last an hour.

Not only does the road leading to the southern entrance need repair, the path is all cracked and uneven.

I would rather they close the southern entrance than let people like me damage their vehicle.

WL Canal

I walk this trail several times a week. It is open from April 1 to November 14. However, over the last few years eagles have nested in the south end of the park, and the southernmost mile has been closed off until July.

The trail is 4.25 miles from gate to gate. It might be 4.5 miles from the far end of the Suffield lot.

The parking lot on the north end is spacious. The one on the south side is adequate, but the road leading to it is in disgraceful condition (as of August 2014).

The trail is asphalt that is cracked in many places. Nevertheless bike traffic equals pedestrian traffic. Volunteers do a good job of keeping the path free from debris.

By summertime the foliage is so dense that the views are minimal. In April or May you might see a beaver or two. Otherwise, you can expect to see rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, and all kinds of birds. The variety of flora is unmatched in CT. Fishermen are common on both banks, in boats, and on King's island.

The trail is almost perfectly flat and straight, and the mileage is marked in paint from both ends. Most markings are fairly accurate.

first trail ride

The parking area in Suffield was clean and safe, although I was disappointed that the trail abruptly stopped, I found it wonderful. There is such history in this area... it is so worth exploring!

Trail closed

I wanted to run the trail on the 31st of December only to get there and find its closed until April 1st!

okay for walking

took ride today, the asphalt is in need of repair, rough riding for bikes, many rots lifting the pavement and cracks but nice trail for walking

Beautiful day, beautiful ride

This is a wonderful trail - enough for a nice hour long ride. Lots of people out birdwatching, biking and walking. It's really neat having two very different bodies of water on both sides of you. The road wasn't butter-smooth, but I was able to keep up a nice pace.

Peaceful, Relaxing Ride

The trail was well-maintained, scenic and easy to ride. The canal is on one side of the trail and the CT River is through the trees on the other. We met the town historian at the lock, and got a nice history of the area and the canal. Well worth the time and effort!

Always a nice ride

This is one of the most scenic trails I've been on around here. It's got the canal on one side and the river on the other. There's a whole bunch of photo ops, I always take my camera with me on this ride. The canal has a lot of fallen trees, so the reflections in the water are striking. There's a few bumps, but its not horrible. The Windsor Locks end has a entry road in that's in bad shape, go slow on it. O.

Fantastic trail!

The Windsor Locks Canal trail is a beautifully maintained bike trail. It features some great views and excellent opportunities for viewing river wildlife. The only problem I had with it was that despite the fact that it's paved, it is a tad bit bumpy. Overall, a great bike trail with easy access to main roads.

Beautiful Trail

The trail is re-opened, and it's pretty phenomenal. We biked from the Windsor Locks end yesterday, and had perfect weather for such an event. It'swater on both sides...definitely worth the trip. It's a short trail, but has active train bridges overhead, and beautiful scenery! A must-do for certain. A great place for nature photography and a nice quiet ride.


Why is the Canal bike path still closed? Why was it closed to begin with? Because of the nesting eagles? WHy? Noise from people biking; from bird watchers? What about the VERY LOUD trains that go by the path more than several times per day? I have biked that path seven days per week for many months in a row and there are absolutely no loud sounds or other disturbances about. Is it that eagle gawkers would swarm the area? DEP, please open the trail!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Portion of Canal Trail is closed until July 1, 2011

May 3, 2011 Windsor Locks side is closed you can go to the Suffield side.
We could only go 2 miles in the direction of Windsor Locks. Temporary gate preventing people to go any farther. The southern portion of the Windsor Locks Canal Trail is closed until July 1 because a pair of nesting bald eagles has taken up residence there.
"Bald eagles are a threatened species in Connecticut according to Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Dan Esty, the trail will be closed until the young eagles can fly or the nest fails. If either event occurs before July 1 the trail will open earlier, according to a press release from the DEP."
“Disturbance can cause the adult eagles to abandon their nest, causing the eggs or chicks to die,” Esty said in the press release.

early April?

Does anyone know what the exact date is for this trail to open?

First Ride on the Last Weekend

Decided to try out the WL Canal Trail today on the last weekend before closing. The trail is closed the trail to protect nesting birds over the winter. This trail had very light use today and with the canal on one side and the fiver on the other provided some peaceful riding and solitude. Scenery was very nice with the contrasting waters on either side and late fall foliage adding color. The trail itself is narrower and surface is a little rougher than the Farmington Canal and rode a bit slower. Nice river views the whole way and plenty of birds and squirrels gathering food for the winter. I caught the train passing over the trestle as I rode by, not a usual sight on most trails. Glad I tried this trail, it was a nice change.

CT River Bridge Bike/Ped Crossing Opened

They finally removed the closed for construction signs and cones on the Bridge crossing from Enfield Perl St to RT 159 in Suffield (end of June 2010). They still have the short connecting path down under the bridge to the Windsor Locks Canal path closed, but have ignored the signs and it is passable if you are willing to risk being caught. Alternately you can go out to 159 then back down canal road (much scarier with all the traffic).

Extension and Bike/Ped Access to 190

I rode this trail last week and let me say, it was very nice. A little bumpy at times but the 4.5 miles feels like 10. It parallels the canal and then eventually winds up on the main road, Rt 5 and ends at a private property's driveway. Lots of folks on this trail on a weekday afternoon.

At the parking lot, they were doing construction under the 190 bridge and locals told me they were extending it a bit.

On the northern edge of the bridge for peds and cyclists, they have finally added a bike/ped walkway from Enfield to Windsor Locks. Should make for a much safer crossing.

Great ride

Biked from windsor up almost to the North end today with my grandson. This trail is not for young children unless you caution them and keep a close eye on them. No rails and a very steep drop to the river. I was impressed with the aquaduct over the Farmington River and the views of the Conn. River. as soon as the leaves fall this will be even more spectacular.

Needs repaving

"It seems it's about time the State of Connecticut repaved this trail. I was out the other day and it was quite bumpy and rough.

And as it is mentioned under the ""Seasonal Restrictions"" section for this trail, the Towpath is closed to all uses from mid-November until early April of each year. This is to protect the nesting habitat for endangered birds of prey."

Nice views of the Connecticut River

Trail is now paved. There are some nice views of the Connecticut River on one side and the canal on the other. There's also some wildlife to see -- lots of turtles and birds. I saw some fisherman on the canal that hooked a few fish too.

Smooth Ride

This trail has been renovated and is now a smooth ride that includes travel over an aquaduct.

Windsor Locks canal

"A good place for kids bikes, not so great fo blades. Nice view of CT. River and fishing along the canal. Not so easy to find without a map. Large dirt parking lot, no facilities, but stores can be found at the southern end after crossing the Bridge. Trail end near some factories, follow road to rt 140 turn left over bridge to store 1/4 mile away"

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