Farmington River Quickwater
Mileage: 2.5 miles
Time: 2 to 2.5 hours
Put-in Point: Satan's Kingdom State Recreation Area, Rte. 44, on the New Hartford/Canton line.
Take Out Point: Just before the Rte. 202 bridge in Canton.
Originally named Tunxis, meaning "the beautiful river that ripples down through the hills", the west branch of the Farmington River was designated a "National Wild and Scenic River" in 1994. This 14 mile stretch begins at the Hogback Dam in Colebrook, and wends its way through the Litchfield Hills to the New Hartford/Canton town line. The Farmington is the first river in Connecticut and the fourth in New England to be awarded this special status.The unspoiled tree lined banks of this scenic waterway form an unbroken bower of green, interspersed with golden meadows, charming villages, steep cliffs and craggy ledges, giving lovers of the great outdoors a sense of wilderness. The river is a recreational haven, offering canoeing, kayaking and tubing enthusiasts a diverse environment to explore, from quiet pools of slow moving water, to exhilarating Class I, II and III boulder strewn white water rapids. The Farmington, also popular with anglers, has the state's largest trout management area and is considered by many, to be one of the best trout streams in the state.
Experience the spine tingling thrill of Class I, II, and III whitewater rapids on this scenic and challenging stretch of river, best navigated by inner tube enthusiasts.
One of the greatest challenges on this trip, is the run through the boiling caldron known as Satan's Kingdom Gorge, characterized by a steep drop into a narrow serpentine chasm with partially submerged boulders positioned midstream.
After this, the river calms a bit, and is punctuated by pitches and pools, wide sections with riffles, narrow sluices with standing waves, smooth ledges and glacial boulders. The steep ledges and cliffs towering over the river and its tree lined banks give a feeling of remoteness.
Along the way, look for bald eagles, broad-wing or red-shouldered hawks, black ducks, wood ducks, mallards, great blue herons, and common loons.
An excursion along this moody stretch of river alternates between the tumultuous thunder of Class I, II and III white water rapids and water smooth enough to allow you to sit back and enjoy the lush woodland scenery, and wildlife that abounds in this unspoiled valley.
The river sets the pace, as it flows past the picnic areas of American Legion and Peoples State Forest and wends through the idyllic villages of Riverton and New Hartford.
Along the way, you will traverse several exciting sets of rapids as well as chart a course around the string of islands that punctuate the river. As a rule, passage to the right of the islands is shallow and wide, while passage to the left, is faster and rockier.
The most challenging spot lies just past the sharp left bend of the river known as "High Banks", a Class II or III stretch of boulder strewn rapids located 4.5 miles from Riverton.
As you approach this bend, be on the lookout for a narrow stand of tall straight pines, on your left, that serve as a reminder of the turbulent chute straight ahead.