motorcycle destinations

Best Motorcycle Roads & Destinations in Connecticut

Best Motorcycle Roads & Destinations in Connecticut

1. Introduction

If you are an out-of-state tourist looking to visit a new region or a resident of “the Constitution State” wanting to explore your home, this article will help you plan out your motorcycle trip through Connecticut. If you travel to the northern area, you will encounter Litchfield Hills, rolling landscape, countryside villages, and abundant antique shops. Navigating in the central area, you will discover the Connecticut River Valley and what is left of old tobacco farms. Traversing the eastern area, you will ride alongside the edges of the Atlantic Coast.

This article is intended to provide a list of Connecticut’s famous motorcycle roads and destinations including supplementary information on this state’s motorcycle laws and possible luggage options.

2. Best Roads and Destinations in Connecticut

2.1 Northern CT Appalachian Mountains Ride

Northern CT Appalachian Mountains Ride- Best Roads and Destinations
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Departing westward from Granby via CT Route 219, you will pass by and through Salmon Brook Park, Enders State Forest, Enders Waterfalls, and Indian Council Caves. As you transition onto CT Route 318, you will pass in between Barkhamsted Reservoir and Lake Mcdonough.

Distance: 80 miles
Time: 2 hours 1 minute
Start: Granby
End: New Milford

While you are on U.S. Route 44, you will have the chance to check out the exhibits at the American Museum of Tort Law while you are passing through Winsted. Further along as you head northwest, you can check out the Norfolk Historical Society or Haystack Mountain Tower.

Turning southward, you may be able to spot the race cars on the track located in Lime Rock Park. As you are on Cornwall Bridge Road, you will pass by the outskirts of Housatonic Meadows State Park which has the Hatch Brook Falls and Pine Knob Loop Trail.

As you travel parallel to the Housatonic River, you will continue to wind southward towards New Milford. You will pass by Kent Falls State Park, Pond Mountain Natural Area, and Emery Park.

2.2 The Northern CT Border Run

As you ride westward from North Woodstock via CT Route 197, you will pass within close proximity to Chamberlain and Black Ponds. Swerving onto CT Route 171, you will pass by Bigelow Hollow State Park and Bigelow Pond.

Distance: 41 miles
Time: 1 hour 11 minutes
Start: North Woodstock
End: Suffield

Continuing to head west on CT Route 190, you will pass by Nipmuck State Forest and Shenipsit State Forest. You can take a hike through Mountain Laurel Sanctuary if you wish to get a closer look at the greenery. If you wish to watch race cars tearing through asphalt, you can check them out at Stafford Motor Speedway.

If you are looking to have fun, you can check out the small attractions at Sonny’s Place. As you continue to travel via CT Route 190, you will ride beside Somersville Pond, Scantic River, and Powder Hollow Park.

Getting closer to Suffield, you will cross over Enfield-Suffield Veterans Bridge which will help you bypass the Connecticut River. You will also be able to spot Enfield Dam in the distance.

2.3 Durham to Old Saybrook

Durham to Old Saybrook - Best Roads and Destinations
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Leaving Durham, you will head southeast until you reach the bend on CT Route 148. Along the way, you may find stands set up at the Durham Fair Grounds if you happen to be visiting during the right season. You will pass by Durham Meadows Hunting Area and Chatfield Hollow State Park.

Distance: 40 miles
Time: 1 hour 7 minutes
Start: Durham
End: Old Saybrook

You will then turn east while still staying on CT Route 148, you will pass by the bottom region of Cockaponset State Forest. When you meet CT Route 154, you will turn northward until you have to cross the Connecticut River by using East Haddam Swing Bridge.

On the other side, you will head southeast via CT Route 82 which will take you beside Palmer-Warner House, East Haddam Historical Society, Banningwood Preserve, and Mt. Archer. Turning south on CT Route 156, you will travel beside Beckett Hill State Park Preserve.

As you draw closer to Old Saybrook, you will cross the Connecticut River by traveling on Raymond E. Baldwin Bridge. Most of your surroundings will be farms, lakes, rivers, small towns, and villages.

2.4 The Western RI & Eastern CT Loop

The Western RI & Eastern CT Loop - Best Roads and Destinations
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In Newport, there are many historical establishments for you to check out including the Marble House, Seaview Terrace-Carey Mansion, the Breakers, Belcourt of Newport, Newport Art Museum, and Chateau-sur-Mer. Heading west via CT Route 138, you will cross the East Passage of the Narragansett Bay by utilizing Claiborne Pell/Newport Bridge.

Distance: 83 miles
Time: 2 hours 1 minute
Start: Newport, RI
End: Newport, RI

After clearing Colonel Rodman Highway, you will head west via CT Route 102 which will take you beside Cuttyhunk Brook Preserve, Queen’s River Preserve, and Big River Management Area. You will then head northward on the right side of the loop which will pass by Audubon Maxwell Mays Wildlife Refuge.

Traveling on the top side of the loop, you will crest around the northern tip of Nicholas Farm Management Area and get close to the entrance to the Moosup Valley State Park Trail. Moving down on the left side of the loop, you will travel along the eastern edge of Pachaug State Forest. Close to the bottom, you will head up to the Beachdale Pond Observation Deck to get a good look of the surrounding wilderness.

Heading east on the bottom side of the loop, you will pass by Beach Pond and Hemlock Ledges Overlook. There are also plenty of trails to hike up such as Tippecansett Trailhead, Mt. Tom Trailhead, and J.B. Hudson Trailhead. You will then take the exact route back towards the start at Newport.

2.5 Lovely Litchfield Route

Lovely Litchfield Route - Best Roads and Destinations
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Departing westward from Litchfield, you will find plenty of food establishments where you can grab a quick meal including Dunkin’, Toast & Co., and Bohemian Pizza & Tacos. If you are interested in admiring greenery, you can stop at the Litchfield Community Garden.

Distance: 57 miles
Time: 1 hour 21 minutes
Start: Litchfield
End: Norfolk Historic District

Traveling down on U.S. Route 202, you will come close to the outer edges of Mt. Tom State Park and should be able to make out the remains of Mt. Tom Tower in the distance. Turning around the bend onto CT Route 45, you will travel beside Lake Waramaug.

Continuing on the same route, you will clear another bend towards the northeast after you have passed through the town of Warren. You will pass in between both North and South Spectacle Ponds plus pass within the vicinity of Emery Park.

Turning towards the northwest, you will travel on U.S. Route 7 as you make the final push towards Norfolk Historic District. You will pass through Kent Falls State Park and Housatonic Meadows State Park.

2.6 Northeast CT Country Loop

Northeast CT Country Loop - Best Roads and Destinations
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Heading northeast as you embark from West Ashford, you will pass through the northwestern corner of the Natchaug State Forest You will then turn northward via CT Routes 198 and 171 which will take you to the left side of the loop. At the end, you will be in close proximity to the southeastern edge of Bigelow Hollow State Park.

Distance: 60 miles
Time: 1 hour 32 minutes
Start: West Ashford
End: West Ashford

Heading east on the top side of the loop, you will pass in between Black and Chamberlain Ponds. Turning southeast on the right side of the loop, you will pass by Roseland Cottage. When you have made it to South Woodstock, you will temporarily leave the loop.

When you are traveling up W Thompson Road, you will pass by West Thompson Dam and the bottom of West Thompson Lake. After making your way northward until you make it to Thompson, you will then begin to return using the same way you came without a slight alteration.

Making the return trip, you will head onto the bottom side of the loop along CT Route 171. You will travel within close proximity to Linda J. Rapoport Memorial Preserve, Upper Bungee Lake, and Witches Woods Lake. The rest of the route should take you back through familiar territory.

2.7 Connecticut Coastline Tour

Connecticut Coastline Tour - Best Roads and Destinations
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While you are still in Stonington, you can check out the exhibits at the Stonington Lighthouse Museum and Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer House Museum. After you leave the city behind, you will begin to head west on Interstate 95.

Distance: 106 miles
Time: 1 hour 54 minutes
Start: Stonington
End: Greenwich

While you are still closer to the mainland, you can visit Mystic Aquarium which is close to the Mystic River. You will pass by the Copp Family Park, Poheganut Reservoir, Smith Lake, and Groton Reservoir while you travel on the Jewish War Veterans Memorial Highway.

After crossing the Thames River by going over the Gold Star Memorial Bridge, you will continue following Interstate 95. Later on, you will cross the Connecticut River by going over the Raymond E. Baldwin Bridge.

As you continue on your way towards Greenwich, you will find many beachfronts that face the Long Island Sound. These include West Beach, Jacobs Beach, Short Beach, Jennings Beach, Burying Hill Beach, West Beach, etc.

Upon arriving in Greenwich, you can check out the art exhibits at Bruce Museum or you can check out the shopping district along Greenwich Avenue.

2.8 CT Route 89 North

CT Route 89 North - Best Roads and Destinations
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As soon as you leave Mansfield Center, you will find that the nearby area is full of natural scenery including Mansfield Hollow State Park, Schoolhouse Brook Park, Spring Hill Tract, Lion’s Memorial Park, and Mansfield Hollow Lake.

Distance: 16 miles
Time: 24 minutes
Start: Mansfield Center
End: Mountain Laurel Sanctuary

Heading north, you will encounter Mt. Hope Park as you travel parallel to Mt. Hope River. Further along, you will pass by the Church Farm Blue Trail, Rankin Preserve, Iron Mine Valley Preserve while skirting outside of Yale-Myers Forest. The remainder of the trip will take you straight up to Mountain Laurel Sanctuary after you have passed Lake Chafee and Morey Pond.

2.9 CT Route 20

CT Route 20 - Best Roads and Destinations
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Heading east in the direction of CT Route 8, you will pass by the northern edge of Burr Pond State Park. After you transition onto CT Route 8, you will be able to admire the natural scenery of Sue Grossman Still River Greenway.

Distance: 47 miles
Time: 1 hour 8 minutes
Start: Winchester
End: Windsor

Finally making it onto CT Route 20, you should be able to make out Algonquin State Forest and Charles Arnold Recreation Area in the distance. You will pass through Tunxis State Forest which is where you can find Falls Brook Falls. You will clear the northern bend around the northern point of Barkhamsted Reservoir.

Heading southeast towards Windsor, you will pass through and beside Hartland Recreation Area and Enders State Forest. Winding down towards Windsor, you can take a slight detour to check out the exhibits at the New England Air Museum.

3. Motorcycle Laws in Connecticut

3.1. Connecticut Motorcycle Helmet Laws

All motorcyclists under the age of 18 are required by law to wear an approved motorcycle helmet while traveling on Connecticut’s roads and highways. If you are above the age restriction, you are allowed to ride a motorcycle without having a motorcycle helmet strapped on. However, it is best that you have protective headgear since it will help prevent severe or fatal head injuries.

The types of motorcycle helmets accepted in Connecticut are three-quarter and full-face helmets. These models have been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, were manufactured by the Snell Memorial Foundation, and provide both ample protection and visibility.

As you select your motorcycle helmet, check that they meet the following requirements and are designed with the proper features:

  • Has a Department of Transportation (DOT) sticker
  • Can be fitted around your head snugly
  • No visible signs of damage
  • Has a face shield with no scratches (Full-face helmet only)
  • Requires separate eye protection with no scratches (Three-quarter helmet only)
  • Has a hard and durable outer shell that is shatter-resistant
  • Gives you a clear, peripheral view
  • Can be fastened with a neck- or chin-strap
  • Allows airflow without fogging up
  • Can allow you to wear sunglasses or goggles underneath

3.2 Connecticut Motorcycle Passenger Laws

If you wish to transport another person on your vehicle, keep in mind that there is no minimum age requirement for motorcycle passengers in Connecticut. However, any passengers under the age of 18 must wear an approved motorcycle helmet if they wish to ride behind you.

It is only legal to transport a passenger on your motorcycle if it is fitted with the following equipment: a designated passenger seat, handholds, and footrests.

The passenger seat can either be fixed to the side as a sidecar, at the rear as a separate saddle, or at the back of a large driver’s seat.

Characteristics to look for in passengers are individuals who listen to directions, follow your movements, cannot be carrying packages in their arms, are wearing protective attire, and can reach the footrests.

3.3 Connecticut Motorcycle Equipment Requirements

In Connecticut, it is not mandatory for your motorcycle to be subject to periodic vehicle and safety inspections. However, it is recommended that you make a habit of examining the condition of your vehicle before every ride. Maintaining the upkeep of your motorcycle’s primary components will help you when applying repairs, replacing broken parts, and ensuring your vehicle’s overall functionality.

You need the following minimum requirements fitted to your motorcycle for the vehicle to meet the safety requirements in Connecticut. They must be working at optimal capacity to help you quickly avoid obstacles, improve your visibility to other drivers, and increase awareness of your surroundings:

  • Horn
  • Wheels
  • Tires
  • Handlebars
  • Front & Rear Brakes
  • Controls
  • Headlight
  • Rear light
  • Brake Light
  • Turn Signals
  • Exhaust System
  • Muffler
  • Rearview Mirrors
  • Fenders
  • Footrests

3.4 Connecticut Lane Splitting Laws

In Connecticut, lane splitting is deemed an illegal practice and forbidden for motorcyclists to attempt. You cannot ride on top of the dividing lines in between traffic lanes, ride in between adjacent rows of stopped vehicles, nor attempt to overtake a larger vehicle in front of you while both of you are traveling in the same lane.

You should act with just as much caution when it comes to lane sharing. Motorcyclists are entitled to make full use of the space within their current lane. They can also share a lane with another motorcycle so long as the vehicles stay apart at least two abreast and both parties consent beforehand. You should refrain from engaging in this practice unless you are alongside someone you trust with riding experience.

4. Motorcycle Luggage for Connecticut Motorcycle Tour

Even if you do not take frequent rest stops throughout your entire Connecticut motorcycle tour, it helps to have a means of storage secured on your vehicle. Whether on the handlebars, windshield, side, or rear, you want a form of baggage that is going to keep your belongings from getting lost in the wind. Though you will spend most of your time on the road, it is a good idea to have utilities and conveniences with you just in case.

Listed below are the motorcycle luggage options you can choose from. All of them have zippered and/or mesh pockets, are made of durable and weather-resistant materials, and come with an installation guide for easy mounting. They differ in terms of design, color, size, and placement position to offer you diverse choices:

5. Parting Words

Before you head out on your Connecticut motorcycle trip, you should first be mindful of safety by making sure you prepare the necessary protective gear and motorcycle equipment. You should also keep in mind your passenger’s well-being if you carry one with you and what maneuvers on the road are considered legal or illegal.

As you travel via popular routes and visit promising locations in Connecticut, you will not just have the opportunity to test out your riding skills. You will also be able to admire this state’s natural scenery, places of historical significance, and roadside attractions. While you are operating your vehicle, do not be afraid to take slight detours if you think you are heading to places that will enhance your riding experience.

Remember to be responsible when handling your motorcycle and try to have fun as you prepare to head out on your Connecticut motorcycle trip.

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