I love paddling the Lower Deerfield and it's one of my favorite rivers. It's simply beautiful. It's not uncommon to be the only one on the river or if you go on the weekend, it's never crowded. Most people are running the rapids and white water of the Upper Deerfield. The shores are tree lined and majestic and there are several places to pull over for lunch or swim or just sit and take it all in. Throughout most of it, the sound of traffic will come through only occasionally but even so, you never see a single car. I saw a Barred Owl, huge trout (I love watching fish swim), a muskrat and lots of birds. The cacophony of the birds was really incredible.
There are four to five sets of a cross section of riffles/rapids, nothing difficult and you will hit one set immediately after putting in. Follow the inverted V and it's nothing but fun. There are one or two places where the river gets shallow and hitting some of the gravel or rocks is unavoidable. The water gets squirrelly around a bend or two and definitely around the huge red boulders. Go with the current and you'll be fine. There are three islands that you'll pass and after the 2nd or 3rd one, the river smoothes out for the rest of the trip. You're done when you come to the overpass bridge. Pull out on the right.
This is a one way river. Either call a taxi (ACE) when you're done to take you back or place another car at the junction of river road and route 5 (about 4 miles past the Sunoco station, just before the bridge). There is a trail up from the river which is moderately steep.
Hotels in Greenfield or South Deerfield. Northampton is 20 minutes away, south.
From the south: exit 24/deerfield. at end of exit, turn right. Go straight through the light. Keep going until you see a Sunoco Gas Station on your left (be patient). Turn left a gas station then turn left again down the hill. Keep going (about 1 mile) until you see a sign for "stillwater Road" on your right. Turn right and go about 1/2 mile, until you see the underpass/highway. Turn right into parking lot.