Willimantic River Alliance
Tolland, Windham, Stafford, Mansfield, Coventry, Tolland
Man, this is a confusing one for me. This outfit oversees a water trail from Stafford Springs to Willimantic and some hiking trails in those towns plus the ones in between.
I never meant to include Connecticut’s river trails on CTMQ, but this one is a National Recreational Trail and… well, I never knew such designation existed until today, over 10 years since starting CTMQ.
This page is just for the hiking trails though.
The mission of the Alliance is to protect and preserve the Willimantic River through cooperative and educational activities that promote regional awareness, stewardship, and enjoyment of the river and its watershed.
Short and sweet… I like it.
I really have no clue who “owns/manages” all of these places but I do know it is a combination of many, many organizations from the state to the towns to various land trusts and such. So a bunch of these will appear on other pages on CTMQ, but that’s the web I’ve woven. Darnit.
Potter Meadow Preserve (Joshua’s Trust)
Merrow Meadow Park
River Park & Lynch Landing
Spring Manor Farm
CT DEEP Meadow
Riverview Trail Park
Cole W. Wilde Trout Management Area
Heron Cove Park
King Riverside Conservation Area
Kollar Wildlife Management Area
Nye-Holman State Forest
Willimantic River Trail
Willimantic Whitewater Park
Windham Mills State Heritage Park
Windham Garden on the Bridge
Willimantic River Alliance
CTMQ’s Land Trust Trails Page
Auntie Beak saysJanuary 5, 2017 at 11:47 am
I’ve been poking around trying to find a map of this hiking trail, and danged if I can. The Alliance keeps teasing me with links to “guides,” which, you would think, include maps, but NOOOOO, just a rambling word picture. Seems nuts to have to print maps from the 7,000 various preserves along the way. Sigh. Guess I’d better stock up on printer paper…
Nick C saysMay 9, 2018 at 9:49 am
For Auntie Beak / whoever else might find this page,
The Willimantic River Alliance (fairly poorly) maintains some (rather nice) hiking trails in and around the Mansfield / Tolland area.
There is a small section starting at River Park, but its a short trail through the woods and then a ways on Depot road.
I recommend instead you start at back of the parking lot of the old Mansfield depot Restaurant and follow the White trail through the UConn farm. From there things can get a bit tricky — the white marks can be difficult to follow as you get closer to the far side of the farm. Essentially you want to follow one of the old paved roads up and around a copse of trees heading generally north — if you lose the trail, don’t feel bad, it happened to me as well.
Eventually (if you manage to follow the trail) you’ll make it to the forest on the far side of the UConn farm, what follows is a lovely (if short) walk to Merrow Rd. and specifically Merrow Meadow Park. If you got lost on the farm, the way to figure it out is to start the next time at this spot and go south.
From there, there is a nice riverside walk for a mile or two, before … well the trail again turns into a road (I believe it’s Riverview Dr.). If you read the WRA website, you’ll be under the impression that there’s a “trail” that takes you north to the small preserves up in Tolland, but again you’d be wrong. It’s more like “walk a mile on a road, do 1/2 a mile of woods, repeat”. I haven’t bothered to keep going north at this point because who wants to walk on a road? The town’s riverside trail does continue for a bit past the point where the WRA trail turns off onto Riverview Dr. and is nice.
For what it is, it’s not a bad little trail — you should probably explore the Nipmunk and Natchaug trails if you’re in the area before doing the WRA’s trail, as they’re much better maintained, easier to follow, longer and have more nice spots. That said, the WRA trail stands as the only other long distance trek (the parts I’ve outlines are probably ~3-4 miles) in the area, and the section on the Farm walking into the Meadow is very nice