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Tags:
Level: Intermediate
Length: 8 mi (12.9 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +373/303 ft
Total: 73 riders
 

Mountain Biking Cowles Park

****   Add a review
#5 of 110 mountain bike trails in Connecticut
#703 in the world

Very well maintained trails with a great variety: some downhill, some hill ups and downs, flat technical sections, and fire roads. Just a fun wide range of trails. Would go back any day. Most of it is not too rocky but still has its technical sections.

First added by mitchp on May 10, 2020. Last updated May 10, 2020. → add an update
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Getting there
Hartford
1.Depart Hamilton St toward Hamilton Ct 0.1 mi
2.Turn left onto Zion St, and then immediately bear left onto Summit St 0.1 mi
3.Bear right onto Park Terrace 0.5 mi
4. Turn left onto Sigourney St 0.2 mi
5. Take ramp right and follow signs for I-84 East 1.0 mi
6. At exit 51, take ramp right for I-91 North toward Bradley Intl / Springfield 5.2 mi
7. At exit 36, take ramp right for CT-178 toward Bloomfield 0.5 mi
8.Turn left onto CT-178 / Park Ave 1.9 mi
9. Turn right onto CT-187 / Blue Hills Ave
Pass Cumberland Farms in 1.5 mi 4.8 mi
10. Keep left onto CT-187 N 2.4 mi
11. Arrive at CT-187 / S Main St
The last intersection is Eastfield Farms Dr
If you reach Glen Hollow, you've gone too far
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Cowles Park Trail map

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roguesherpa (on Jul 5, 2020)
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Dusty (on Aug 15, 2020)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near East Granby, Connecticut

| 1 mi
*****
Beginner | 3 mi

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Reviews

  • MTBboi
    ****

    The Trail is Awesome and a lot of choices for trails
    Short downhills. Dont ride After rain

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  • bikerag
    ***

    Mistake, meant to give it 3 stars. Did not want to diss the builders.

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  • bikerag
    **

    Pretty decent trails when dry, but they do not drain well. Some fun lines, some rock, some views. Builders did a great job.

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  • twentysixpride
    *****

    Very unique trails, Fast and fun. Nothing else like it in CT. Hats off to the builders - thank you.

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  • bikerag
    *****

    Certainly one of the best places to ride in CT. Really impressive flow.

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  • balancedrob
    ****

    Much more here than advertised! Think of it as a big hill bordered by Rt 189/Tarrifville to the Southwest, Rt 187/Bloomfield to the east, Hatchet Hill Rd/East Granby to the north. What is given here, is that you can access this park from 187 in East Granby, which is the best trailhead. Beginner flowy flat sections are a blast to warm up on. Head southwest toward power lines and you climb to the top of the hill. You are met with the Metacomet Trail, in which there are several trails that diverge off. The crown jewel is Smaug's Lair to Keg Roller! Perhaps the best downhill in CT! This takes you down to the Tarrifville side of the mountain where there are several XC trails that take you along Farmington River. There's even a hidden natural jump park to session! Climb back up to the ridge and head east on Metacomet for flows, some chunk, climbs and descents! Head back down to the power lines and look for Tobaggan Run back down to Cowles park. Looking for an epic ride in the Hartford area? Link the West Hartford Reserviors to Penwood State Park riding north via Metacomet Trail to Tarrifville. Cross bridge in Tarrifville center, immediately turn right into woods at Metacomet trailhead, ride along river and climb to the ridge, down to Cowles and return. Not for the feint of heart, and truly epic single track riding! I did this last week starting from West Hartford Reservior off Rt 4. Five hours of very challenging riding!

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  • Tower
    ****

    This place is much bigger than it seems from online descriptions. With the amount of connector trails and un-marked / named trails in the area, it's probably double the listed length. I was able to do 8 easy miles (with some backtracking) and felt I didn't see more than half the system.

    That leads me to my "con", the place isn't well marked. There are a few trails that are named and marked with signs at the trail head, but for the most part you need to know where you're going. There are blazes often enough but unless you know what they mean, it can be a pain. I was lucky enough to find a local who lead me to where I wanted to go (Smaug's Lair to Keg Roller) - but I shouldn't have to rely on that. Even the map at the parking lot seems like it's out of date / missing information. However, it's not the most confusing trail system i've even been to.

    As for the pros - the trails themselves are amazing. I would actually say, based on my limited experience so far, that I might prefer them to Rockland (mostly because of the scenery and speed). They are very well maintained and feature a large variety of styles and difficulties. It's the kind of trail system you could spend all day at and not get bored even though it's on the smaller side. Smaug's Lair and Keg Roller were phenomenal, and you don't find many trails like them in CT. Wish they were a little bit longer. The climb out of the valley was technical and challenging, but not so difficult or taxing that you hated it. I was blown away. The only part of the system that's a let down is having to go through the tall grass under the power lines, but it's more than made up for once you're back in the woods.

    Highly recommend this trail system to anyone who can make the drive.

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  • IRONMN
    ****

    Nice trails for all levels. Took my son on his bmx bike. Mtb, bmx, no matter. Just ride and pump those legs lol

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  • roguesherpa
    ****

    This is the first time I've really had time to explore more than an hour or so. I really like this place. However, it could really benefit from more signage and an updated map. I've met a number of riders who have difficulty finding trails. Whether this is on purpose I don't know, but if you want to find Smaugs lair stay right and hold on.

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  • variableconditions
    *****

    For a small place there's a lot to cover, lots of varying terrain, brutal climbs and fun downhills. The inner areas use space very well, nice tight weaving switchbacks. Hard to get lost as everything loops back into each other.

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  • mikereardon31
    *****

    Awesome trail system. Probably the best flowy riding in the state outside of Rockland. Trails are named and mapped out relatively well, there are well constructed berms and a few drops. Make sure to ride Smaug's Lair--challenging, but an absolute blast.

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  • Motobecaner
    *****

    Has a little bit of everything. Once you go over the fire road at the power lines keep going. Take a right at the small stone wall and there is alot.to offer down Smogs Lair. Obstacles and fun trails. Keg roller and Toboggan Run are my favorite trails
    If you want just a easy cruise hit exhibition and inside job Jñ the interior of the park.

    This is my go to park. I ride from Mass one a week to hit it up.

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  • MassHole
    *****

    Great ride! Best ride have had all season. There is so much here. This is my new favorite place to ride. Did 12 miles today and got the lay of the land. Some climbs definitely some fun down hills. Trails are in great shape. All the fun is across the power lines.

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  • Senor
    *****

    I went with my mom and the family dog. We had a lot of fun exploring the yellow trail for 2 hours. If you have the time I would recommend going to Grass Roots, an amazing ice cream place just 5 minutes from the the main parking lot.

    I can see some getting lost easily. all you have to do is mark where you came from at each intersection. All in all, an amazing trail.

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  • Virtualjsk
    *****

    Once you find your way to the power lines, you start finding great trails. Take the yellow trail and turn right at the bench. Lots of well maintained, swoopy trails. Toboggan is particularly fun. There are some rocks, and some are sharp, so it's probably a good idea to be prepared for flats.

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  • roguesherpa
    *****

    This is a great place for beginners to intermediate riders to practice their skills. Really lets you learn how to handle your bike. All in all a fun ride on posted trails.

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