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Ride Description/Data Sheet

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CTBikeRoutes.com Ride Description

Bethlehem and Back


Total Distance: 30.3 miles                   Elevation Gain:  2242 feet  


Degree of Difficulty Index:  2242 ft / 30.3 mi = 73.97 ft/mi              Terrain: Very Hilly


Killer Hills: One short, very steep hill @ 12.4 mi (+/-) and several other longer, but less steep, hilly stretches


Geographical Region: Northwestern Connecticut


City/Town: Litchfield


Starting Location:  Topsmead State Forest parking area in Litchfield; Take Rt. 8 Exit 42 (Rt. 118 Harwinton/Litchfield); go west on Rt. 118 toward Litchfield for about two miles; turn left on Clark Rd (sign for Wisdom House); go right at end onto East Litchfield Rd; take first left (about 1 mile) onto Buell Rd; then first right (about 0.3 mi.) onto Chase Rd and into Topsmead.  Parking area is on right in about 0.2 miles.  


Ride Description:  This is a very scenic ride over rolling to hilly terrain through the towns of             Litchfield, Morris and Bethlehem, with a possible visit to the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem. There are several short stretches on dirt roads (see route sheet), but they are easily navigable on road bikes. In early spring there are some lovely daffodil displays en route.  It would be especially enjoyable during the fall leaf change season, generally around the second week of October.  This ride has several hilly sections and should be attempted only by those bicyclists who are very fit.  Be forewarned.


Facilities and Points of Interest:    


            Facilities - Points of Interest


Topsmead State Forest estate and grounds. Topsmead State Forest is the former summer estate of Miss Edith Morton Chase, daughter of Henry Sabin Chase and Alice Morton Chase. Henry Sabin Chase was the first President of Chase Brass and Copper Company in Waterbury. Chase Brass was one of the leaders in the brass industry when Waterbury was the Brass Capital of the world.

The English Tudor style house was completed in 1925. The exterior woodwork is of cypress, the downspouts are lead, the walls of brick and stucco, and the roof is slate. The interior woodwork is oak, as is most of the flooring. The foyer, hallway and dining room floors are of polished terra cotta tile. Most of the interior walls are of the same type of stucco as is found on the exterior. Fine craftsmanship, an eye for detail and understated wealth are evident throughout the house, which is tastefully and simply furnished with 17th and 18th century English country antiques.

Free guided tours of the residence are offered from June through October on the 2nd and 4th weekends of each month. Reservations are not required. On open weekends, tours are available from 12:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M.

Nestled in the Litchfield Hills, Topsmead State Forest remains a precious piece of an era past.


Bethlehem: Market and various facilities


Start of possible off-course excursion to Abbey of Regina Laudis (access may be restricted)


Intersection of Rt. 109 and 63: Convenience store on left


Windmill on left


Topsmead State Forest; estate and grounds





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DISCLAIMER: While every attempt has been made to assure that the Route Sheets (Cue Sheets) and the Ride Descriptions are accurate, the volume and nature of the information precludes any guarantees.  Mistakes will happen, various road/street signs will get changed, become obscured or disappear, etc. In general, Murphy's Law will prevail.  For this reason, use the ride information provided at your own risk. We suggest that, in addition to the Route Sheets provided here, that you also bring with you a detailed street map of the area in which you will be riding. And, we hope that you will take the time to report any problems you find. Also, this website has been developed voluntarily; no one is profiting from its use.  Email us with any comments or feedback to