Norwalk River Valley Trail Run & Salmon River Trail Run

Today was a trail running special edition Valentine’s Day for Debbie and me. We started the day relaxing in Prospect with the kids and Debbie’s parents, but then thinks picked up the from there. We drove to Cannondale to kick off an out and back run on the Norwalk River Valley Trail.

This is a hidden gem in Fairfield County. Eventually the trail will go for 30 miles, but the section we ran was a 5.6 miles “U.” It didn’t quite make a loop, so we turned back and repeated the route that we went out on. The trail abruptly ends at Skunk Lane in Wilton. That’s where we turned back.

The trail is a mix of road and trail. It’s hard to tell what the trail is like because it was covered in snow, but I suspect that it a mix of dirt and stone dust. The trail sections meander along the river, which is quite lovely. The road sections are a mix of busy suburban roads and nicer sections that wind through the quaint sections of Wilton. We loaded the course on our Garmin Fenix watches, and we still made a few wrong turns. The signage was sporadic.

Even still, this is a recommended trail. We chose this one because we figured that even with the snowpack, it would be runnable, and we were right. We didn’t use any traction. We enjoyed are run which took us 94.5 minutes for the 11.3 mile round trip. The route was nice and there are some scenic spots. It’s flat, so there isn’t any climbing or views, but for a nice trail close to civilization, this one is a winner.

After our Wilton adventure, we headed back towards home. The kids are spending a few days during winter break with their grandparents. We snacked in the car and scouted another trail to run. Again, we looked for a trail that we hadn’t done before that would be runable, even in the snow.

We chose the Salmon River Trail. It was an 80 minute drive from Wilton to Colchester. We did the Salmon River 5.5 Mile Run in 2007 with Shepard in the jog stroller. I recall arriving at the start late. The gun had already gone off. The race used a section of the Air Line Trail and a little bit of singletrack. So, we had been in the area, but we hadn’t done the complete “lollipop” that starts/ends at the famous Comstock Covered Bridge.

Unlike the Norwalk River Valley Trail, the Salmon River Trail is part of the Connecticut Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail system. Here is the CFPA’s Connecticut Walk Book description.

Towns: Colchester

Trail Overview: The Salmon River Trail in Colchester is within the Salmon River watershed and traverses a portion of Salmon River State Forest and loops through Day Pond State Park. Expect to see mixed hardwoods, beautiful views of the Salmon River, and an enormous glacial erratic. Day Pond State Park is wonderful for picnicking and Day Pond itself (regularly stocked with trout) is a great place for fishing and swimming. The trail’s Comstock Connector features historic Comstock Bridge, the only covered bridge in eastern Connecticut. A side trail, blazed blue/red, will take hikers to a waterfall.

Hunting is permitted in State Forests intersected by this trail. Please use caution and wear orange during hunting season. For Day Pond State Park parking info, a park map, and other park information, click here. Fore more info on Salmon River State Park, click here.

Allowed Uses: Hiking (all trails)/ Horseback riding (on yellow diamond trail only)

Partners: Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (CT DEEP)

Lee-Stuart Evans has an even better description on his website.

From Chatham Historical Society website, here is a description of the bridge:

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Comstock Bridge, also known as the Comstock Covered Bridge is one of the three remaining covered bridges left in the state of Connecticut – the other two being the Bulls Bridge in Kent and the West Cornwall Covered Bridge overlooking the Housatonic River in West Cornwall, Connecticut.

The course is rugged. It winds its way through Salmon River State Forest for 6.5 miles and gains nearly 1,300 feet in elevation. It’s a leg burner. There was more snow in Colchester than Wilton, so we used our Kahtoola MICROspikes and they helped. This run took just over 67 minutes and it really hurt the legs.

A second hard run with a drive in between is always a challenge, but we wanted to spend a bit more time in the woods, so it was worth the effort. We look forward to seeing this trail when it isn’t snow covered. It only took us 30 minutes to get home from where we parked near the bridge. We have a little bit of Sunday left to chill out before the work week ahead.

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A couple of trail runs along rivers with @trailrunningmom ❤️
#monadnock #mtmonadnock #newhampshire #hiking #teamhorstsports #shenipsitstriders #family @trailrunningmom ❄️ 🥾 🏔
#snowshoeing #ascutney
Scrooge Scramble 5K (Bolton Edition). We miss the Rockville Edition (cancelled) but will be back for 2021. #scroogescramble #5K #running #shenipsitstriders
Fun hike on the flanks of Mt. Nonotuck and near Goat Peak. Made a loop from the @newenglandtrail and McCool Trail. When @trailrunningmom and I were last on this section of the NET in June, it was blazing hot and we were two days into our thru-run. Celebrated today’s fun @pulsecafema where I had my best ever #acaibowl
@trailrunningmom and I keep checking @ctforestandparkassociation Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails off of our “to do” list. The #paugussetttrail is another gem. Only in CT can you get 5,000 feet of vert in 26 rugged miles all between 58 feet and 602 feet above sea level. Up and down and repeat. @fastestknowntime #fkt @shenipsitstriders #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports
Closed out Thanksgiving Weekend with a family tour of the state-of-the-art future factory of @horsteng at 141 Prestige Park Rd. We wrapped up as the full moon was rising, which is a good omen. 🏭 🌝 ###
Good fun on the #naugatuck trail today with @trailrunningmom We came up 18 seconds short after 6,382 seconds of running on the out and back route. Consolation prize might have been team honors for the one way west to east route. #fastestknowntime #fkt
Thankful for even this mini New England #cyclocross season. Good fun at today’s @the_ccap Mystic CX Week #1 with the #teamhorstjuniorsquad and #teamhorstsports @princetoncarbonworks campus. #crossspikes #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross #horstengineering @horstcycling

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