Linear trails have become immensely popular places for people to be active and enjoy the outdoors. They provide natural corridors for birds and wildlife. They offer commuters with a healthy alternative to car travel. They connect people to parks, historic sites, and other special places. And they connect people to each other.
Trail associations in the towns of Meriden, Wallingford and North Haven have a shared vision to develop a linear trail connecting the three towns, providing continuous pedestrian passage along the Quinnipiac for at least 15 miles. Over the last decade, each town has made strides in making this vision a reality and in the process, created trails that can be enjoyed today.
Quinnipiac Linear Trail
Trail access: Lakeside Park: Hall Ave. and River Rd.
Despite its proximity to the Wilbur Cross Parkway, Wallingford’s Quinnipiac Linear Trail offers more than a mile of scenic serenity…and will soon have even more. A fully-funded trail extension, slated to begin by the spring of 2015, will add another 1 ¼ mile for pedestrian recreation and travel and reconnect downtown Wallingford and Yalesville, which were separated by the Wilbur Cross Parkway.
Wallingford’s current trail begins at Community Lake and runs north along the Quinnipiac River. Predominantly paved, the trail passes through cedar junipers and red maples, by one of the state's largest red oaks, and ends after crossing under the parkway. Visitors can also visit a labyrinth nestled in manicured gardens or explore the unmarked trails of the Emerson Leonard Wildlife Area, which encompasses the land between the linear path and the river.
Quinnipiac River Gorge Trail
Trail access: Red Bridge at Lions Club Park: Oregon Road and Route 70
The 1.3-mile Quinnipiac River Gorge Trail begins at the Red Bridge near Hanover Pond and travels north to the Cheshire/Meriden border, providing nearly uninterrupted river views and access to stocked fishing. Informational kiosks provide histories for the Red Bridge, Oregon Dam, Toboggan Bridge, Boy Scout Island, and the Meriden-Cromwell Connecticut River railroad bed (circa 1890), on which the trail is built.
In 2013, Meriden added another .9 mile to its pedestrian trail system, with the construction of a paved path following Hanover Pond and Sodom Brook, which feeds the pond and river.
Quinnipiac Blue Trail
Trail access: Quinnipiac River State Park: Toelles Road (north) Banton Street (south)
You’ll want your hiking boots for this trail. In the north, a four-mile section runs through Quinnipiac State Park on the west side of the river. Part of the floodplain, the path can be wet and difficult to navigate through overgrowth. A bridge built in 2013 by the Boy Scouts in 2013 has helped cross Pine Brook..
In the south, a footpath behind Target extends nearly a mile south on the Quinnipiac’s eastern bank, offering panoramic views and bird-watching opportunities. The North Haven Trail Association is working to improve the trail to become the first official section of North Haven’s Quinnipiac Linear Trail.
Quinnipiac Avenue and Front Street
In New Haven, a 1.5 mile loop traverses the nationally and locally recognized Quinnipiac River Historic District. The walkway provides panoramic views of the river and the historic buildings along its shores. The route passes over two historic bridges and through the Quinnipiac River Park.