Trip OverviewPut in at the Long Pond boat ramp (wetsbound side of Rt 20) and across Brimfield Reservoir into the river. Water was a little higher than mid summer, but current was not a problem. The beaver have been hard at work, there are 2 dams you can still paddle over a section of, but they are still there. One new tree has fallen just before Canoe Rest Stop 3 (coming upriver - just after stop 3 going downriver) and it spans the whole river. This gave me a bit of a start, but a middle section of the tree has been removed allowing passage one abreast.
Otherwise, everything is as it has been for the 35 years I can remember paddling this river. I did follow a small inlet that ended up going quite a ways back into the marshes. I had to strain to get over 2 beaver dams that had small breaches - enough to get the kayak through with a good running start - then a 3rd dam brought my meandering to a halt. Would be tough to portage, because the area is all grassy wetland, little solid ground. But I was surprised since I have paddled there hundreds of times and never followed this path before, or it was previously inaccessible...? Not sure. It is between rest stops 2 and 3, if you are headed downriver, the river takes a right bend and this cove appears directly in front of you. I did disturb 2 pair of nesting wood ducks, and I suspect they don't get a lot of traffic down there, so be respectful if you traverse this small tributary.
Wildlife is plentiful. Birds are in breeding colors and leaves are still new, so spotting perched birds is still easy and you get close. Also spotted a beaver, a muskrat and a deer. Of course there are turtles just everywhere on a sunny day. No one else was on the river, so things were pretty quiet.
This is an easy trip to do in 2-4 hours, depending on your timeframe. There is another boat ramp in Holland, next to Holland Pond. Some people put in there and leave another car at Rt 20 ramps then just paddle downstream. Probably an hour max doing that. I paddle from Long Pond, up river, lunch at the Holland Ramp, maybe paddle around Holland Pond (Lake Siog) then back downriver. You can also spend some time paddling around the reservoir and Long Pond where you started out. So this really can be a full day paddle if you desire. Fishing here is also very good in all the ponds and the river if you are into fishing.
Accommodations:There is a boat ramp on the Eastbound and Westbound side. Eastbound puts you on Brimfield Reservoir, above the dam. Westbound puts you in Long Pond and you paddle through the culvert, west up the reservoir, then through the triple culvert into the river. Eastbound puts you right onto Brimfield Reservoir meaning a shorter paddle to the river. However, there is a porta potty and generally nicer facilities at the Long Pond (westbound) ramp. There is nothing at the eastbound side.
Fees:Nope, but DCR has a tendency to hang around the ramps and check life jackets, safety gear, etc. Not a problem as long as you are using common sense.
Directions:Mass. Pike to exit 9 Sturbridge. Then 20 West to Brimfield. Or take Rt 20 to Brimfield which is what I do from Worecster. Both ramps are right on Rt 20.
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water