The Willimantic River Hiking Trail follows the river seven miles north from Mansfield to Tolland. I hiked the length of the trail in spring 2021 and was able to easily navigate the entire length. Surprisingly the first view of the river is over a half mile into the trail and the first time you can touch the water is over two miles in.
Unfortunately the Willimantic River Alliance seems to be inactive, so development of the trail is on pause. However, hopefully at some point in the future the trail can be extended in either direction.
Connecting north to Tolland’s Heron Cove Park and then to the Nye Holman State Forest. There are about 4 parcels of private property that would require easements but would lengthen the trail by at least 2.5 miles.
Heading south could be a short road walk to Coventry’s Williams Preserve and the adjacent Joshua’s Trust Couch Preserve then on to the Eagleville Preserve and state property. You could connect this without easements right now and add 3 miles of trail. Pulling off both would double the total length of the trail to about 12 miles.