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Selden Creek / Connecticut River in Connecticut

Trip Overview

Let's just say you choose the weather. It would typically be an easy trip on a quiet river/creek, but such is not always the case in New England. This particular day, I wanted to go paddling and I wanted to try the river.

I am new to kayaking and had recently purchased an Old Town Cayuga 160(with rudder thankfully) and a fiberglass shaft paddle. Yes, I knew it was windy, and cool(cold) but I had these new toys.

I took the ferry across the river from Chester, just to the north of the ferry landing on the east side of the river is a parking area and ramp(dirt), no fees. Right below Gillettes Castle. I thought the wind was going downstream (pretty stiff breeze) but upon arriving at the parking area it had become a windward shore. Well this will be a new experience right from the get go, I thought.

I unhooked the rudder, first thing, I hadn't really been using it yet trying to learn technique. As I put the boat into the water I got wetter than I had been yet before even trying to get in. A little choppy out there, and the wind right in my face. I got in and pushed off, the wind got a hold of me and started to take control. I put the rudder down immediately and decided I would concentrate on stroke; leave edging for another day.

Downstream I headed past the entrance to Whalebone Cove, it's about a mile to the entrance to Selden Creek. A couple of interesting/exciting moments on the trip down, trying to figure if I was controlling the rudder or if the current of the river was controlling the rudder response of the boat, it does make a difference.

Upon entering the Creek a whole different experience began, everything slowed down, much narrower with banks and trees. The wind was unable to attack me, the water much subdued, I even raised the rudder.

It's a short distance in to Selden Cove, a lunch stop(with picnic table along the way). The cove is fair sized and a good paddle around and then out the downstream exit to the creek again (to much wind in the cove today anyway). The creek cuts Seldon Island off the mainland, used to be a granite quarry or 2 or 3 there in the late 1800 early 1900 time frame. A few side trips possible off the creek, but I haven't been able to explore them yet.

A nice flow in the creek, about 35 - 40' wide mostly. I was there a bit after high tide and didn't see any shallow spots. It's about 3 miles from entrance to mouth with a lot of beautiful scenery. A bit late in the year for the major portion of the nature trip, but I really enjoyed it and had more than enough to see and enjoy.

At the mouth of the stream I rejoined the CT river and paddled west across and downstream, enjoying the views and the river current and flow. I had out the rudder down again and was taking care in the wind. I paddled downstream to Essex, entering North Cove and paddling across to the town landing. I beached the kayak and got into the car I had parked there earlier.

I drove back up to the ferry in Chester, parked the car and rode across to my Volvo kayak transport and came back across the river on the ferry. Down to Essex to pick up my kayak, and then home for dinner.

A really fun trip, definitely glad I got out and did it, and great scenery. About 6 miles in the kayak, I estimate. On another day with calm winds, this whole trip was very easy to do, and equally enjoyable.


No facilities that I noticed particularly, a nice Italian resturant at the junction of 154 & 148, more in Chester. Check Chester and Deep River for over night accomodations, even Essex or Hadlyme.


No fees I noticed; there are supposed to be campsites on Seldon Island, I think, and there are picnic areas, but I didn't stop and see if there were any fees.


From the west side of the river: take Rt.154 to Chester Ct. and the junction of Rt 148. East on rt 148 (Ferry Rd.) to the ferry landing (April - Nov.)
From the east side of the river: take Rt. 151 to the junction of Rt. 148. Go west on Rt. 148 to the ferry landing, the parking area is on the right. It could be possible to put in on the west side of the river and paddle southeast across the river to the entrance of Selden creek, but there is no ramp and only parking for a few cars.
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip