It’s a walk with a view that attracts folks from surrounding towns looking for a place to enjoy nature. Located near the Route 6 North Windham Park and Ride Lot’s 52 paved parking spaces, finding a spot for your vehicle is never a problem even on beautiful days. Imagine walking down a paved path with the beautiful 500-acre Mansfield Hollow Lake on one side and majestic airplanes at Windham Airport on the other. Red airport lights dot the way to the majestic Mansfield Hollow Dam.
Nicknamed the “Flood Control Levee Trail”, the walkway is about one and a quarter miles long designed for foot traffic. It ends at a locked gate atop the dam. From here, walkers can peer down and enjoy this unique viewpoint of the lake.
I walked this pathway many times as a student at nearby Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic. Those looking to get some exercise without having to deal with rocky terrain, or the possibility of getting lost, should check it out. It’s certainly not far from civilization as its minutes away from Wal-Mart.
Those wanting to visit the other end of the park should drive to Route 195’s intersection with Bassett Bridge Road. Another paved parking lot is available here.
All parking areas are free.
There is an additional Flood Control Levee Trail on the north side of the dam spanning about 2 miles long. It’s not far from the three-quarter-mile “white” trail near Echo Lake and the 0.83-mile “red” trail near Bassett Bridge Road.
This portion of the park offers visitors a number of recreational activities such as boating, fishing, handicap-accessible field sports, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, picnicking, and hiking.
The park’s boat launch, owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is open year-round and has 50 dirt parking spaces with seasonal chemical toilets.
No swimming is allowed in the Mansfield Hollow Lake since it is used for the public water supply.
The 4.37-mile “yellow” trail goes around the upper portion of the Mansfield Hollow Lake.
The park’s 7.81-mile Nipmuck Trail starts at the Fenton River and ends at a parking area not far from Bassett Bridge Road.
I have walked the northern portion of Nipmuck Trail above Route 89 as part of a college Trail Walking class. This portion of the trail, along the Fenton River, can be wet and adventurous so be sure to wear appropriate clothes and shoes.
A parking area off Route 89 is near both trails and close to the 0.95-mile Fenton Trail.
There are additional unblazed trails throughout the park, according to a map donated by Friends of Mansfield Hollow, Inc.
The park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset and alcohol is prohibited in all areas.
Pets on a leash are permitted in picnic areas and on hiking trails.
Whether you like to take a calm walk along the Flood Control Levee or an adventurous trip along the Nipmuck Trail exploring the Fenton River, Mansfield Hollow Park has something for everybody.