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Mattabasset River in Connecticut

A self-supported trip created by mixwithh2o

Trip Overview

After having to go back to the reality of work this week the only thing that got me through was to think about going paddling some place new. I use my quiet waters book so much its dog eared and I didn't want to go too far away this day. In driving south in Ct I had noticed the sign at a couple bridges and glanced over quickly enough to say it looked worth trying. So I parked at Harbor Park and put-in in front of Wesleyan boat ramp.

Had to paddle upstream on the Ct. River and because of all the boat activity stayed toward the side. Took just short of 1/2 hr to get to the Mattabasset and my day just got nicer and nicer. The only reason I rated this as moderate is the rougher water on the Ct. and then as I was talking to some guy further up river I realized the tides have some play in this river. I found out later I was going in at just before high tide (little later here as you are so far from the coast) but it helped to have it going with me. It was a very peaceful paddle and this river borders a wildlife management area. There was a beaver dam, I saw the typical ducks, herons, egrets, hawks, and three deer. It also bordered someone's farm so saw some steer too.

The unusual thing I saw was a cat that walked down the bank and right into the water and swam across to the other side! Seriously! This is a nice winding river and I paddled about 3 hrs in past another possible put in I found out about at the Sawmill Pub in Cromwell. This I understand can be quite mucky if you don't catch the tides right but they had a board going out into the water so am not sure. They also have a notice board above that tells you facts about the river ( I drove there after I finished to check it out) I went a little further up from here when I decided to turn around.

I figured from the map at the pub (after) that the distance I had paddled up was about 5 miles and I would double that on the return so that was enough. There were some boats along the way but nothing that bothered you just fishermen doing their thing. I stopped long enough for the dog to get out and swim a bit and stretch our legs then headed back. This was very pleasant and close enough for me to take some new paddlers to for a first time out trip. When I paddle I definitely do not race- I am always on the look out for what I might see with my binoculars. I've decided every boat should have a set. This whole paddle took me about 51/2 hrs and that was probably including 3/4 hr of break time.

*** A little bit in to the river you will see a branch off to the left that is another river(Coginchaug) that I did not go up but will be checking out in the future.


I'm sure if you needed to use the facilities that the restaurant would let you. And actually if you come back hungry you might go get a burger or what ever there. They had a live band playing outside that day over looking the river. Makes for a draw in for the boaters.


Route 9 follow signs for Harbor Park area I parked in parking lot just before Harbor Park restaurant it was a small lot but was right next to the ramp for the university boat ramp ( I think its their boat house for their crew boats)


I have a CT and RI atlas and Gazetteer book that gave me a better idea of how the river flowed and it showed me to stay to the right and not take the left fork branch which is the Coginchaug River for another day.

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location