Trail runners will enjoy this section of the blue-blazed Metacomet trail through Penwood State Park, a 6 mile out and back. While there are some tough sections leading up to a traprock ridge, the views are worth it, and not all sections are challenging — other parts utilize an easy wide gravel path. You can park on either end of the out and back: at Wintonbury Road in the north, or Hartford/Simsbury Road in the south.
Other Metacomet Trail Routes
Want more trail running? The 60+ mile Metacomet Trail follows a south to north corridor just west of Hartford. Here are some more places you can pick it up:
West Hartford Reservoirs and Reservoir 6: See our Reservoirs route for more info.
Talcott Mountain: Talcott Mountain is one of the most popular sections of the Metacomet Trail, for its proximity to Hartford and its spectacular views looking out from the summit’s Heublein Tower. Although it can be busy in peak season, the trail to the tower is nice and wide, and the ~400 feet of elevation gain comes gradually — great for hill training! Start from the trailhead off Hartford/Simsbury Road and head south for a 2.5 mile out and back.
Rattlesnake Mountain: Another choice cut of the Metacomet Trail near Hartford, Rattlesnake Mountain in Farmington is a tough but rewarding 2.4 mile out and back. The section through the middle is a bit steep and rocky, but the remainder of the trail is runnable, and the views from the Rattlesnake Cliffs looking out on the Farmington River Valley are a nice respite from the city.
See the New England Trail website for a map and to learn more.