About The Farmington River & Map
Description of Section 7
Rainbow Reservoir, Windsor, CT to Connecticut River, Windsor, CT
(Text and Map printed with permission from Farmington River Watershed Association)
Distance: 9 miles
Time: 2-3 hours
Tributaries: Mill Brook
USGS Maps: Windsor Locks, Hartford North
Access Points: 30-32
Difficulty: Class II
Note: Due to choppy water, avoid paddling the Connecticut River section on a windy day. Use the Pleasant Street Park (Access Point 31) as a take-out to avoid the Connecticut River.
Access Point 30, River Street Boat Launch, Windsor, CT
From Rt. 20, take Rt. 75 to the Poquonock section of Windsor. In the center of Poquonock at the traffic light, turn left onto River Street. Follow River Street for approximately .3 mile. Turn right into Strawberry Hills Park. During periods of low water, this area can be “scratchy.” Better launching times may be around 12:00 p.m. when water is typically released from the reservoir.
NOTE: If you wish to run the rapids: In Poquonock, turn right onto Niles Road and continue to Welch Park. At the back of this town park there is a difficult carry to access the river and no formal boat launch.
Access Point 32, East Barber Street Boat Launch, Windsor, CT
This take-out is on the Connecticut River just past the Bissell Bridge on river right. From Rt. 91, go east on Rt. 218. Follow Rt. 218 for 1.5 miles to Rt. 159. Go south on Rt. 159 for about .3 a mile to East Barber Street. Turn left onto East Barber Street. The boat launch is at end of the street.
INTERMITTENT ACCESS POINTS
Access Point 31, Pleasant Street Park, Windsor, CT This asphalt launch ramp is behind Bart’s Bait and Sporting Goods Store on Rt. 159, located one mile north from jct. Rt. 75/305/159 in the center of Windsor. Note: Put in here only after 12:00 p.m. Due to the release from the hydro facility upstream, there typically is not enough water to boat here before noon.
“Rainbow” is the name given to that portion of Poquonock (the northernmost village at Windsor) where the Farmington River makes its most graceful curve. Below Rainbow Dam, the water level is dependent on the schedule of water releases from the dam - there can be good paddling when the water level is high. From the dam, it is 1.5 miles to the Rt. 75 bridge in Poquonock. Directly downstream of the bridge is an interesting set of ledgy Class II rapids with access from River Street on the left. A paddle of 3.0 miles, meandering through twisting flatwater including an “S” turn, will get you to the Rt. 91 bridge. In 2.5 miles you will come to two bridges in Windsor; first a railroad bridge, then the Rt. 159 bridge. From the Rt. 159 bridge, it is 1.5 miles to the Connecticut River. Loomis Chaffee School is on the right bank. From Loomis Chaffee, it is 3.0 miles to the Bissell Bridge take-out. Passing Loomis Chaffee, in .3 mile you will come to the end of the Farmington River, marked by a long island. Paddling either right or left around the island will lead you to the Connecticut River which, at this point, is about 400 feet wide.
You will see the Bissell Bridge long before you get there. From here to the bridge, stay as close to the right shore as possible to avoid the riffles and choppy water in the Connecticut River. The take-out at the state boat launch is just past the Bissell Bridge on river right.