Canoe & Kayaking

The upper Farmington River is an ideal destination for canoeing and kayaking. 

For Beginners

The stretch of river designated as 'Wild and Scenic' is a great spot to paddle. Much of it is quick-moving water, suitable for beginners, with the occasional class I and II rapids mixed in.

For Intermediates

The section of the river from Goodwin Dam to Riverton is a little more difficult - more rapids and less calm water, not an ideal place for beginners. Some rocks require maneuvering.

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The most challenging section of the Upper Farmington is called Satan's Kingdom. A class III drop near the top of the run and a couple of class II areas further down. Whitewater paddlers will like this section the best because there are areas for them to play in and surf the waves.

Although not part of the Wild and Scenic section of the Farmington River, Sandy Brook is a tributary and connects with the Still River to meet the Farmington just below Riverton. If you are an EXPERT whitewater kayaker, there is excellent class IV paddling on the upper Sandy Brook after the spring thaw and big rainstorms. ‍

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Reminders & Tips for Canoeing and Kayaking The Farmington River

Take Safety Precautions

Boaters should always wear a Personal Flotation Device (aka Life Preserver). Whitewater kayakers need to wear a helmet as well. Be aware that the current can get much stronger after lots of rain, and the rapids generally go up a class, so this is NOT the time recreational boaters should enter the water. People have drowned during high water levels on the Upper Farmington.

Wearing non-slip footwear is the safest choice. Cutting your feet or toes on things like glass or fish hooks is not uncommon. Rocks can be slippery and may cause falls and dangerous stuck feet in the current.  If you need to stand, make sure the water level is below your knees to provide the best protection from being pushed over by the water. Never stand up in quick-moving water.

Water levels

Optimum flow guidelines for paddling are 360 - 980 CFS: Here are links to three USGS gauges that you may find helpful in determining flows - Still River, Riverton, Unionville.

Be Mindful of Anglers

The Farmington River is a destination for canoeing and kayaking, and fishing. Be aware of those around you while enjoying the river and avoid any lines that are cast in your path.

Plan Your Route

Before you go, make sure to plan where you will get in and where you will get out of the river, including where to park. Be sure not to trespass on private property or create new trails, select areas already created for river access.

River Map

No Trash Left Behind

Anything that you bring with you should return home with you. As we say, "Pack it in? Pack it out!" Anything left behind can have profound effects on the environment. Use a backpack or bring a bag for trash, but make sure nothing stays in the woods, trails, or river.

Help Fight Invasive Didymo

Didymo is an invasive species of alga that can be detrimental to a river's ecosystem for several reasons. Extensive blooms can cover the river bottom for several miles and smother native plants and insects, affecting the whole food chain. Because the food chain is changed, trout populations are affected. Lures can become entangled. Rocks become slippery to walk on, and the esthetic beauty of the river is lessened.

  1. Inspect every inch of your boat, remove plants and mud before leaving the water.
  2. Drain all water from your boat and equipment on land before leaving the area;
  3. Do the following when away from direct drainage areas to lakes or rivers:
  4. Dump any leftover bait on land, especially if the live aquatic bait has been in contact with potentially infested waters.
  5. Disinfect live wells and bait wells, bilges, cooling systems, hulls, and decks with a 1:9 solution of household bleach and water, allowing at least 10 minutes contact time. Rinse well to remove all residual chlorine. An easy recipe is a half-gallon of bleach into a 5-gallon bucket, then fill with water (or a quart of bleach to a half bucket).
  6. Rinse your boat after use, preferably with hot water; allow to dry before entering a new water body.
  7. Do not transport any LIVE FISH, BAIT, OTHER CRITTERS, PLANTS, OR WATER from one body of water to another.

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