HIGHLIGHTS: Pedaling this popular circuit, you will follow the serpentine course of the Farmington River and Sandy Brook for 17.5 miles. The tour begins and ends in Colebrook, one of the state's most authentically preserved post-revolutionary villages. In the the center of Colebrook, you will find colonial clapboard houses, the oldest general store in Connecticut, and a Greek Revival Congregational Church clustered around a picture perfect green. The town hall and Colebrook Historical Society are located together in the former Colebrook Inn, in the heart of this historic village. Roller coaster hills and backroads that wind their way through farms and woods, alongside rivers stocked with trout, and past well preserved colonial homes lead you to the storybook village of Riverton. After exploring the charms of this quiet hamlet, take the leisurely nine mile loop around the west branch of the Farmington River, one of four rivers in New England designated as a National Wild and Scenic River. If you don't want to make the complete circuit, from Colebrook to Riverton, park your car in Pleasant Valley to take the easy nine mile loop around the Farmington River.
PARKING:Behind the Colebrook Town Hall on Rte. 183, Colebrook, CT. ( Rte. 8 north to Winsted, Rte 44 west to Rte. 183 to Colebrook). To shorten your ride to the Farmington River Loop, park behind the School next to Barkhamsted Town Hall on Rte. 318, Pleasant Valley, CT. (take Rte. 8 north to Winsted to Rte. 44 east to Rte. 318).
Total Mileage: 24 miles Shortened Option: 9 miles
Terrain: Much of this tree shaded route is lightly traveled by cars. Make sure that your brakes are in good working order because the first part of this ride is all down hill including several steep descents and hairpin curves. For 17.5 miles, you will be riding on easy flat roads following the serpentine course of the Farmington River and Sandy Brook. The rest of the ride alternates between rolling country roads with some challenging short climbs and some gradual climbs. Most of these backcountry roads are narrow so extra precaution is advised.
LEVEL: Moderate to Difficult (the nine mile ride along the Farmington River is flat and easy, although the road is very narrow, extra caution is advised).
0.0 From Town Hall in the center of Colebrook facing the intersection of Rte. 182 A , Rte. 183 and Smith Hill Rd, in front of the Church, bear left onto Smith Hill Rd. which is noted for its rolling terrain.
2.0 The road begins to descend as you approach the sharp curve of Smith Hill Rd., bear left and continue to descend.
2.1 At the fork of Smith Hill Rd. and Deer Hill Rd., bear left onto Deer Hill Rd. and begin the steepest descent of the ride. Be extra careful of the winding curves of this narrow but lightly traveled road.
3.6 At the junction of Deer Hill Rd. (cemetery on your right) and Rte. 8 take a left onto Rte. 8 north. This section of Rte. 8 has two lanes and a wide shoulder.
4.6 Just after crossing the bridge, take your immediate right off Rte. 8 onto Riverton Rd. This relatively flat road follows the Farmington River into Riverton.
6.6 At the stop sign in the center of Riverton, continue straight over the bridge, crossing the Farmington River. If time allows, take a break to explore the charms of this riverside village.
6.8 At the intersection of Rte. 20 and East River Rd., in front of the Old Riverton Inn, take a right onto East River Rd. and follow the Farmington River as it winds its way through Peoples State Forest. Extra caution is advised on this narrow but very scenic road.
11.0 At the jct. of Rte. 318 and Rte. 181, take a right on Rte. 318/181, cross the bridge and take an immediate right onto West River Rd. and follow the river through American Legion State Forest back to Riverton.
15.2 At the jct. of West River Rd. and Rte. 20, take a right onto Rte. 20, cross a metal bridge and follow to the center of Riverton.
15.4 At the jct. of Rte. 20 and Robertsville Rd., in Riverton, take a left onto Robertsville Rd. which turns into Riverton Rd. and follow the Farmington River back to Rte. 8.
17.5 At the intersection of Riverton Rd. and Rte. 8, take a right onto Rte. 8 north.
18.2 Take your first left onto Sandy Brook Rd. which runs parallel to the rocky and scenic Sandy Brook and through Algonquin State Forest. Sandy Brook follows this beautifully shaded narrow country lane almost all the way back to the center of Colebrook.
22.7 At the junction of Colebrook Road ( Sandy Brook Rd. changes into Colebrook Rd. along the way ) and Rte. 183 take a left onto Rte. 183.
24.0 Arrive at the junction of Rte. 183 and Rte. 182A in the center of Colebrook where this loop began.