The Housatonic River

 
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Massachusetts towns in the Housatonic River Watershed:

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  • Alford

  • Becket

  • Cheshire

  • Dalton

  • Egremont

  • Great Barrington

  • ​Hancock

  • Hinsdale

  • Lanesboro

  • Lee

  • Lenox

  • Monterey

  • Mount Washington

  • New Marlboro

  • New Ashford

  • Windsor

  • Otis

  • Peru

  • Pittsfield

  • Richmond

  • Sandisfield

  • Sheffield

  • Stockbridge

  • Tyringham

  • Washington

  • West Stockbridge

  • Green River

  • Konkapot River

  • Naugatuck River

  • Pomperaug River

Major Tributaries:

  • Shepaug River

  • Still River

  • Ten Mile River

  • Williams River​

Organizations that work in the Housatonic River Watershed:

Housatonic River Activities
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Swimming
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Walk, Hike, Bike
Paddling
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Boating & Sailing
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Fishing
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Swimming

 

It is not advised that people swim in the Massachusetts portion of the Housatonic due to PCB contamination, but there are places where you can safely swim in tributaries such as the Konkapot and Green Rivers as well as in the watershed’s lakes.

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Walk, Hike, Bike

 

Walking, hiking, and biking locations:

  • Old Mill Trail (Hinsdale/Dalton). This trail is approximately 1.5 miles long and is suitable for walking, running, and snowshoeing. Commonly seen vegetation include hemlock trees, hobblebush, Canada yew, and long-growing needled evergreen. For location information, click here to be directed to the Housatonic Heritage website. About 75% of this trail is handicapped accessible.

  • Housatonic River Walk (Great Barrington). This trail is suitable for walking, nature viewing, exploring sites of interest, and offers canoe access. For more information, click here.

  • Laura’s Tower (Stockbridge). This trail is a 35-step steel fire tower that offers panoramic views of the central Berkshires. The path is 0.75 miles and is suitable for hiking/walking and wildlife viewing. For more information, click here to be directed to the Housatonic Heritage website.

  • Mary Flynn Trail (Stockbridge). This trail is 1.2 miles and follows the Old Berkshire Street Railway, which operated from 1902-1930. It is suitable for running, biking, and walking. It is handicapped accessible. For more information, click here to be directed to the Laurel Hill Association website.

  • Bartholomew’s Cobble (Sheffield). There are 5 miles of trails through a 329-acre property with open fields, transitional forests, freshwater marshes, a pair of small caves, and more. Admission is $5/adult nonmember and $1/child (ages 6-12) nonmember. Free admission for members. For more information, click here to be directed to The Trustees website.

For bike route maps in Litchfield County (CT) and Berkshire County (MA), click here to be directed to the Housatonic Heritage website. The Housatonic Watershed area also includes sections of the Western New England Greenway (WNEG).

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Paddling

 

Paddling locations:

  • Housatonic River Section A (Pittsfield and Lenox). Fred Garner Park, Pomeroy Avenue, Pittsfield to Decker Landing, New Lenox Road, Lenox. 6 miles long and takes about 3 to 4 hours to paddle the this flatwater section.

 

  • Housatonic River Section B (Lenox). Decker Landing on New Lenox Road, Lenox to Woods Pond Bridge on Crystal Street, Lenoxdale. 4.6 miles long and takes about 2 to 3 hours to navigate. Flatwater and easy paddling.

 

  • Housatonic River Section C (Lenox and Lee). Woods Pond Bridge on Crystal Street, Lenoxdale to Lee Athletic Field Access, Lee. 4.3 miles long and takes 1.5 hours to paddle.

 

  • Housatonic River Section D (Lee). Lee Athletic Field Access, Lee to HVA Office on 1383 Pleasant Street (Route 102), South Lee. This site is privately owned and may not always be accessible. Call HVA at 413-394-9796 for status and use. 4.7 miles long and takes about 2 to 3 hours to paddle.

 

  • Housatonic River Section E (Stockbridge). Park Street in Stockbridge to Glendale Dam in Glendale. 5 miles long and takes about 3 hours to paddle. 

 

  • Housatonic River Section F (Glendale and Housatonic). Below Glendale Dam in Glendale to Rising Pond Dam in Housatonic. 3.8 miles long and takes 1.5 hours to paddle.

 

  • Housatonic River Section G (Great Barrington). Division Street in Great Barrington to Bridge Street in Great Barrington. 3.5 miles long and takes 2 to 3 hours to paddle.

 

  • Housatonic River Section G (Great Barrington and Sheffield). Bridge Street in Great Barrington to Sheffield Covered Bridge in Sheffield. 6.6 miles long and takes 4 hours to paddle.

 

  • Housatonic River Section I (Sheffield and Ashley Falls). Sheffield Covered Bridge in Sheffield to Rannapo Road, Ashley Falls. 9.5 miles long and takes 4 to 5 hours to paddle.

  • East Branch Section A (Hinsdale). Bullard’s Crossing Road to Hinsdale Center in Hinsdale. 6.4 miles long and takes 4 to 5 hours to paddle.

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  • East Branch Section B (Dalton). Old Windsor Road to Center Pond in Dalton. 1.6 miles long and takes 1 to 1.5 hours to paddle.

 

  • East Branch Section C (Pittsfield). Hubbard Avenue to Fred Garner Park, Pomeroy Avenue in Pittsfield. 5.5 miles long and takes 3 to 4 hours to paddle.

 

  • West Branch Section (Pittsfield). Wahconah Park to Dorothy Amos Park in Pittsfield. 1 mile long and takes 1 hour to paddle.

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Boating & Sailing

 

Boating access locations: 

  • Fred Garner Park Access (Pittsfield). This access point was improved in 2008 upon the completion of the PCB-remediation of the two-mile stretch of the East Branch of the river above Fred Garner Park. 

    • Parking is off Pomeroy Avenue

    • Directions from the intersection of Route 7 and Holmes Road in Lenox: Travel 2.4 miles east along Holmes Road, then turn left onto Pomeroy Avenue and continue for 0.7 mile. Turn left into Fred Garner Park (just after going over the Housatonic River). The boat access is located on the left as you drive into the parking area.

 

  • Decker Landing Access (Lenox). This launch is very popular and can be busy on summer weekends. Be courteous towards the park and launch. In the event that the launch parking is full, drop your boat off at the access, then park in the overflow lot adjacent to Decker Landing.

    • Off-road parking for several cars

    • Directions from the intersection of Route 7 and New Lenox Road: Head east on New Lenox Road for 0.8 mile. Go straight at the intersection of New Lenox Road and East Street. Continue on New Lenox Road for 0.7 mile (over the railroad tracks. Turn right into the boat access area. Entrance to the boat access is located before the bridge and is not easily seen.

 

  • Woods Pond Bridge Access (Lenoxdale). This area is a 100-acre mill pond formed by a dam, once owned by General Electric, that once powered industry in Lenoxdale. While boating on the water is safe, boaters should limit contact with river sediments. Fishing is on a catch-and-release basis only.

    • Limited off-road parking

    • Directions from the intersection of Routes 7 & 20 and Housatonic Street: Head east on Housatonic Street for 1.4 miles to the intersection of Crystal Street and Housatonic Street in Lenoxdale. At the intersection of Crystal and Housatonic streets, go straight and continue over the railroad tracks. Park between the railroad tracks and the pond and stay to the right of the pedestrian bridge. 

 

  • Lee Athletic Field Access (Lee). Be prepared to carry your boat across the athletic fields to the access which is at the rear of the athletic field. Look for the access sign. Please be courteous if any recreational event is in progress on the field.

    • Directions from the intersection of Route 20 and Route 102: Head north on Route 20 along Housatonic Street for 0.5 mile. Turn left at the “Lee Athletic Field” sign and park outside the gate 

 

  • Park Street Access (Stockbridge). This access is the official site of the Massachusetts Office of Fishing and Boating Access. Take care launching as it can be muddy and slick and may be covered with a plant called stinging nettle.

    • Directions from Stockbridge Center: Head south on Route 7 (past the Red Lion Inn) towards Great Barrington. Continue on Route 7 south for 0.2 mile. Turn left onto Park Street and almost immediately turn right into the skateboard park parking area. It is a short walk to the access area – look for the information board. 

 

  • Sheffield Covered Bridge (Sheffield). Access is on the west bank of the river downstream of the Covered Bridge. This access consists of several wide granite steps and large rocks, providing good footing.

    • Directions from Sheffield Town Center: Travel approximately 1.0 mile north on Route 7. Turn right onto Covered Bridge Lane (look for Covered Bridge sign and Salisbury Bank at intersection). Travel 0.1 mile along Covered Bridge Lane. Turn right before the covered bridge into the Covered Bridge Riverside Park area.

  • Bullard’s Crossing Bridge (Hinsdale).  

    • Directions from the intersection of Routes 143 and 8 in Hinsdale Center: Travel south on Route 8 for 0.9 miles. Bear left onto the Middlefield/Skyline Trail and continue for 0.5 miles. Take the right fork onto Fassel Road, continue for 0.4 miles. Take a right onto East Washington Road. Drive 1.4 miles south on East Washington Road. Take a right onto Bullard’s Crossing Road, a dirt road. Continue 0.9 miles on Bullard’s Crossing Road to the East Branch river crossing. Put in on the downstream side of Bullard’s Crossing Road (the right side).

 

  • Maple Street (Hinsdale) Park at the end of the parking area near the river and the canoe access parking sign. Inform Ozzie’s staff that you are leaving a car there while paddling. The owners of Ozzie’s Restaurant have kindly granted permission for the public to access the river. Please use it respectfully. Visit their website here

 

  • Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (Dalton) These offices are your best source for local information on wildlife topics, fish stocking, and state wildlife lands.You can purchase a fishing license here as well.

    • Directions from the intersection of Routes 8 and 9 in Dalton: Head east on Route 8 S for 0.7 miles. Take the left fork onto Old Windsor Road. Continue on Old Windsor Road past the MA DFW District Office. Turn right into the dirt road (gated), just before the bridge over the Housatonic.

 

  • Center Pond (Dalton) Route 8 Bridge. Access out of Center Pond is on Route 8 between a bridge bulkhead and private property fence. The closest roadside parking is on Depot Street. This section is not currently maintained.

 

  • Hubbard Avenue (Pittsfield)

 

  • Wahconah Park Access (Pittsfield). Wahconah Park is one of the oldest and most historic baseball stadiums in the country. Constructed in 1919, it has been home to professional baseball for nearly 100 years and remains one of the last wooden grandstand pro ballparks in the country. Lou Gehrig played ball here and once hit a home run into the Housatonic River behind the right field fence.

 

  • Dorothy Amos Park (Pittsfield) Click here to view their website. 

    • Directions from Route 7 and Pittsfield Center: Travel west on West Street. Go straight at the traffic lights and pass Big Y on your right. Continue on West Street to the next traffic light intersection. Turn left onto West Street and continue for a few hundred feet. Dorothy Amos Park is on your right.

Check out this paddling guide for more information.

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Fishing

 

It is not safe to eat the fish in the Housatonic. Fish advisory warnings are currently in place.