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 we’ve come. 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. I’m sure it has been improved since 2017, but getting down to the Farmington River required guessing at random trails heading downhill from the main loop. Once along the River well established paths hug the river bank.
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 of trails dedicated with small drops and at least a few features.
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)