Connecticut is home to several New England Mountain Biking Association (NEMBA) chapters which provide a lot of energy for mountain biking throughout the state.
The Nutmeg State is home to all types of mountain bike trails – you can find tough climbs at Case Mountain State Park, singletrack with coastal views at Bluff Point, or lift-access downhill trails at Powder Ridge.
If your favorite part of a day on the mountain bike is the post-ride beers, Norbrook Brewery has you covered with a professionally built trail system on-site and freshly brewed beers. No matter what type of rider you are, there’s a trail system for you.
Since Connecticut has so many trail options, it can be hard to choose where to ride. Here are five must-ride mountain biking spots in the state that you’ll want to add to your ride list this summer.
Case Mountain State Park, Manchester
Case Mountain is one of the most well-known riding areas in Connecticut — and with good reason. The trails can be linked together to create some long loops of hilly, technical singletrack and doubletrack. A trip to Case Mountain will involve lots of climbing but rewards riders with great views and technical features. Most of the trails are rated as blue intermediate trails but you can still put together a beginner-friendly loop or check out the more advanced black trails if you’re looking for an extra challenge.
There are several parking areas at Case Mountain State Park, you should check out TrailForks to determine what trails you’d like to check out and choose your parking location accordingly. Be aware that this is a popular spot with mountain bikers and hikers, so the parking areas can get full.
Pomfret Forest, Pomfret
Thanks to the Quiet Corner NEMBA Chapter, Pomfret Forest is one of the newest riding areas in Connecticut. The trails include a variety of man-made and natural features for riders to test their skills, if you’re looking for skinnies and rock rolls then you’ll love Pomfest Forest. The trails are also well suited for beginners, with limited climbing and “go around” options for most features.
Riders should use TrailForks to navigate as the trails are currently unmarked. The Pomfret Forest trails can be accessed from the Airline Trail, a popular gravel rail trail that riders can also take to access the mountain bike trails at Goodwin State Forest. The main parking lot for the system is located on Wolf Den Road and from the parking area there is a singular trail that will bring you into the system.
Norbrook Brewery Trails, Colebrook
Norbrook Brewery Trails has a little something for every rider with a little over 11 miles of riding areas that range from technical hand-built trails to flowy machine-built trails. Riders will also find a range of tests for their skills, including drops and rock features. The trails were professionally designed by Pinnacle Trail Design and Construction, which means they were expertly planned for maximum fun. A ride at Norbrook Brewery Trails will include killer climbs and wickedly fun descents.
The trails are well signed, perfect for a first-time visitor, with signboards at key intersections but you can use TrailForks to plan your route ahead of time. Norbrook Brewery Trails are open during daylight hours and you can park right at the brewery. While no purchase is necessary to ride the trails, Norbrook Brewery provides the perfect venue for an after-ride hang.
Bluff Point, Groton
If you want coastal riding, look no further than Bluff Point. The trails feature a mix of old fire roads, which are perfect for beginners, and fun singletrack options. Blue Point consists of two areas: the state park, which hosts the smaller trail network, and the coastal reserve, which the locals consider to be “Bluff Point”. There are two parking areas, one in either section of the park that you can find on TrailForks.
Pro tip: plan a dawn patrol ride to catch the sunrise and experience some of the best views Bluff Point has to offer. Ride the “Bluff Point Trail Loop” to the bluff viewing point to catch the morning light before hitting the singletrack along the cliffs.
Powder Ridge, Middlefield
Powder Ridge has the only lift-service mountain biking in Connecticut and offers a progressive riding experience. The professionally built flow trails have a good variety of options for beginners and advanced riders. For example, the park has three jump lines — beginner, intermediate, and advanced — to help riders hone their skills. There is even a pump track located at the base of the mountain so you can warm up before jumping in the lift line.
Powder Ridge offers bike and gear rentals, perfect for those new to downhill mountain biking or who may want to rent a bike with a little more travel. For those seeking to level up their riding skills, lessons are available on Saturdays and Sundays. A lift ticket at Powder Ridge costs $45 and lessons come with lift tickets included.