Tariffville Gorge / Cowles Park
in East Granby
- Main Lot: Medium lot near 238-266 S Main St, East Granby, CT
- Metacomet: Shoulder parking near 392-380 CT-189, East Granby, CT
- River Access: Shoulder parking near 1 Tunxis Way East Granby, CT
Trail Map Trails: 8 miles Rating: ★★★☆☆
Tariffville Gorge and its overlook is best accessed through Cowles Park. Trails connect all the way to the Farmington River and include a long stretch of the blue blaze Metacomet Trail.
On my first visit in 2017, there was only a hand drawn trail map done by local students and next to no information about how to get there. How far this property has come since then.
From Cowles Park there is a 1.1 mile yellow blazed loop which connects to the 1.3 mile orange South End loop. Trails were fairly flat easy walking through varied forest with greater changes past the utility corridor.
All the highlights of the area are away from these two main loops. In 2017 getting down to the Farmington River required a bit of guessing at random trails heading downhill from the main loop. Once along the river well-established paths hug the river bank.
A proliferation of mountain bike trails now criss-cross the property and while some work has been done identifying bikes vs hiking trails, I ended up on a couple mountain bike switch backs which just aren’t fun to hike in my opinion.
The Metacomet climbs from along the river up a steep climb (though not directly uphill) to the overlook before hooking north into the Hatchet Hill Wilderness Area.
Mountain Biking has really developed here in the last few years with at least 5 miles (likely much more) of trails complete with balance features, banked turns, and drops.
Accessed from the end of Tunxis Way, the Farmington River in this stretch is a popular whitewater spot for experienced kayakers and playboats. Beginners are cautioned here. It has some of Connecticut’s most consistent whitewater, with steady class II and III paddling and some more demanding features in the form of old concrete bridge abutments.
The area has held the Whitewater Triple Crown a couple times over the last decade.
Trail Forks – Mountain Biking Cowles Park
American Whitewater – Tariffville Park (Simsbury) to Highway 187 (Tariffville Gorge)
CTMQ – Cowles Park (2019)
Peter Marteka – Tariffville Gorge Area In Simsbury Offers A Challenging Hike (2011)
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Last updated March 20th, 2022
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