This is a 3-mile stretch of slow-moving river that starts just upstream from Putts Bridge in Ludlow and ends at the Cottage Street dam. Given the limited access over this reach, and the short distance, I usually just put in downstream, paddle up, then turn around and paddle down. It's about 90-120 minutes round trip. The river averages about 200-feet wide, and there is very little boat traffic. I usually encounter none. Occasionally I'll see a bass boat or a canoe.
You put in on the Wilbraham side of the river. On Stony River Road is a small unpaved parking area suitable for 3-4 cars and an unimproved dirt ramp.
The scenery varies pleasantly along this short reach. Directly across from the dirt ramp are the hulking brick buildings of the Ludlow Mills, formerly one of the largest producers of jute rope in the world. At .85 miles you've passed the mills and you go under an old unused train trestle. For the next 3/4 of a mile it's woods on both sides of the river, and you can usually see Great Blue Herons, hawks, and occasionally an eagle.
Next you pass the Ludlow Country club, where you can see duffers just a few steps from the edge of the river. After the country club it's forest on the Ludlow (left) side, and a gravel bank on the Wilbraham side. You'll pass the Ludlow Elk's club, and at this point the current picks up a little for the last 1/3 mi of the reach up to the dam. You can paddle right up the rocks at the foot of the dam.
There are no facilities along the route, but nearby Ludlow, Wilbraham, and Indian Orchard (Springfield) abound with restaurants and hotels.
From MA pike:
Take exit 7 and turn left onto route 21 (Center Street, Ludlow). Continue straight on Route 21 for a mile until you come to Putts Bridge, known locally as the Ludlow Bridge. Take a right to go over the bridge, and get into the left lane. At the end of the bridge immediately turn left onto Stony Hill Road, and right away turn left again onto Stony River rd.
The ramp is approx. .25 down the road, on the left.
There is one put-in/take out for this reach. A small dirt parking lot with an unimproved dirt ramp.