PLACES TO PADDLE
The location of Collinsville Canoe & Kayak is central to the
many paddling opportunities of the Farmington River Valley. Aside
from the mile and half of flat water out in our backyard, there
are a few other spots of note. All can be reached in half an hour.
In Barkhamsted, the Metropolitan District Commission
operates the Lake McDonough reservoir facility. This offers
paddling on the impounded lower section of the East Branch of the
Farmington. One can paddle and fish on this reservoir and picnic
anywhere on its forested banks. Swimming is only allowed at the
beaches. There is a nominal parking and launching charge. A great
spot for lazy private days. Follow Route 44 West to New Hartford
and take route 219 North. The entrance is on the northern end of
Another flat-water lake is West Hill Pond in
New Hartford/Winsted. Sometimes there are a lot of boats on this
pond but horsepower is restricted during the summer. A good spot
to people watch and cottage watch. Also a good spot for an evening
paddle. Follow Route 44 West through New Hartford. After the Discount
Toy Store in Winsted watch for the state boat launch sign on the
right. The turn is to the left up a hill. Follow that road bearing
to the right until you reach the lake. Turn left and the launch
is on your right. Parking is on the left.
Good flat water river paddling can be had anywhere
on the Farmington River from the Route 4 bridge in Farmington
down to Curtiss Park in Simsbury (Route 315 off Route 10). Put-in
and take out spots are Route 4 in Farmington, Route 185 in Simsbury
and Curtiss Park. This whole 14-mile segment has moving current
but no rapids or tricky currents. This area is excellent for leisurely
floating or training for flat-water racing. The river flows North
through this section, don't be confused.
White water abounds on the Farmington River.
The easiest section is from Riverton to Pleasant Valley (Route 318
bridge), or for a longer trip continue to the Satan's Kingdom Area
(Route 44). Be sure to take out once you can see the parking lot.
This area is beautiful and has been approved as a Federal Wild and
The next most difficult whitewater stretch is five
minutes downstream from CCKS, known locally as Crystal Rapids.
Put in is at the wide spot in the road on 179 along the Farmington
River Trail. The take out is on River Road, the right on Route 179
before you cross the Route 4 Bridge next to Farmington Antiques.
Follow the road for about half a mile and find a dirt parking space
by the river. Or at the River Trail parking area. This section has
good class II rapids and you can make it very difficult by really
working all the routes.
The most difficult section is Tariffville Gorge.
It is one of the few spots in New England that has good flows year
round. This section is safely paddled only with an experienced group.
The sharp rocks and strong hydraulics have claimed many boats. From
CCKS take Maple Avenue to Route 44 East. In Avon, turn left onto
Route 10. In Simsbury take 315 to Tariffville. Turn right onto 189
and then left onto 187. Take the first right after the bridge, and
then take another right. Drive down under the bridge on Tunxis Avenue
and follow the road to the end. Walk down the path on the right
to the beach and check this great place out.
Good paddling is not very far away from CCKS. Save
the driving time and spend more time on the water!
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