Connecticut River Reach 19

Last Updated: 3/2016
Turners Falls Dam (121.6) to Sunderland (109.1)

Turners Falls Dam to Montague Put-In
     The area just below Turners Falls dam is very dangerous.  In spring flood and giant worldpool develops and the waters are completely unpredictable.  Take into account the power release and you have a possible death trap for boaters.  Use the link for the Montague river level on the river main page for predictions.  Avoid navigation above Smead Island.{cke_protected}{C}%3C!%2D%2DEndFragment%2D%2D%3E

Montague Put-In
    Just up stream of the put-in is where the Deerfield River enters.  Unusual currents can be expected.  If you wish to paddle up stream to view the the road bridge use great caution and consider staying close to the shore.
        Heading south the shoreline is covered in woods and farms. Much of the land on either side and the small island you pass is part of the new Connecticut Greenway State Park. One exception is just above the railroad bridge where East Deerfield Railyard is located.  You may here trains moving around from the water.  Check out the box and links on it below. Pass under the large Railroad bridge at mile 116.4.  After this the river is almost straight all the way to Third Island.
          The Saw Mill River enter on the left (east) bank at mile 113.8

Third Island - Mile 113.5
        Third Island is a 4-acre island in the Connecticut River in Deerfield, Massachusetts. The refuge was established when this island was donated to the Service from the Connecticut River Watershed Council in 1997.  The island is mostly hardwood forest, with some shallow water habitats. In recent years, bald eagles have nested here, and because of that, the island is closed to public entry from January 1 through July 31, until young eagles have fledged. Along with the other two islands, Third Island provides valuable shallow water habitats for spawning Atlantic sturgeon and both American shad and blueback herring. Mussels are common on the river bottom near Third Island.
        At mile 112.2 on the left (east) bank you can just makeout a small waterfall coming out of the small Whitmore Pond

Second Island - Mile 110.7
     This island can be passed on either side.  It is about 0.4 miles long and being a much larger island than Third, a short stop to explore might be fun. This is owned and managed by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.
      As you leave the island behind, look to the west at the rising land.  This is Sugarloaf State Reservation.  The furtherest steep peak has a summit house.

First Island - Mile 109.5
       This is also owned and managed by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.  Being 0.3 miles long it is smaller and not as wide as Second Island.

Sunderland Bridge
        The current Sunderland Bridge is a deck truss bridge completed in 1937. Reconstruction of the bridge was completed in 1994. Replacement of the original art deco railings by modern ones was controversial.

Sunderland Take-Out
          The take-out is fairly easy to find.  As you approach the Sunderland bridge head for the left bank where the boat ramp is just before the bridge.
    After you finish your paddle, consider climbing or driving up for the view at Mount Sugarloaf across the river in South Deerfield.  See Below for more.

Skill Level:            Class 1 & 2
Estimated Time:    3.5 hours
Reach Distance:  12.5 miles
Paddle Length:      9.1 miles
USGS Map: Greenfield, MA and Mount Toby, MA (7.5’x15’)

Montague Launch - Mile 118.2
Position: 42-34.80 N 72-34.50 W
Boat Launch:
Car top boat launch provided by Power Company.
Nearest Launch Address:
101 Poplar St, Turners Falls, MA 01376
Put-In/Take-Out Directions (3.9 miles, 9 minutes):
From Interstate 91 Exit 26 Greenfield 
  1. After getting off the highway, travel around the rotary and head northeast on MA-2A E toward Miner Street.
  2. At mile 0.4, at the stop light, turn right onto River Street passing under a railroad bridge.
  3. At mile 1.0, cross over the Green River.
  4. At mile 1.2, turn right onto Bank Row/Deerfield Street (Route 5 South).
  5. At mile 2.3, turn left onto Cheapside Street towards Turners Falls just before Route 5 South bridge that crosses the Deerfield River.
  6. Cheapside Street becomes  Montague City Road.
  7. At mile 3.1, turn right to cross over the Connecticut River.
  8. At mile 3.6, turn right onto Greenfield Road.
  9. At mile 3.7, turn right onto Poplar Street.
  10. Go to the end and enter the dirt parking area and car top launch area.
 Sunderland - Mile 109.1
Position: 42-28.04 N 72-35.00 W
Boat Launch:
Paved State Boat Ramp. Parking for at least 5 vehicles with more at the library.  Popular launch.
Nearest Launch Address: 
542 School St, Sunderland, MA 01375
Put-In/Take-Out Directions ( miles,  minutes)
From Interstate 91 Exit 24 Deerfield
  1. At the end of the ramp take Route 5 North toward Deerfield.
  2. At mile 0.1, at the stop light, turn right onto Route 116 South.
  3. At mile 1.6, Route 116 South crosses the Connecticut River.
  4. At mile 1.9, turn left onto Route 47 North.
  5. Almost immediately, turn left onto School Street.
  6. Pass the Library on your right and make a left down a gravel road that takes you to the boat ramp very close to the road bridge you just crossed.​​
Sunderland Launch
Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation
          Mt. Sugarloaf offers a commanding view of the Connecticut River, the Pioneer Valley, and the Pelham and Berkshire Hills. Consisting of two peaks, North and South Sugarloaf, the Reservation offers picnicking, scenic viewing and hiking. An auto road winds to the summit, making South Sugarloaf Mountain accessible by private automobiles. Available on the summit is a pavilion for scenic viewing and picnicking.
         Mt. Sugarloaf, composed of a prominent sandstone rock called Sugarloaf Arkose, is a fine example of the Connecticut Valley's geological history. From its summit can be seen some of the best scenic views of the broad agricultural landscape of the Connecticut River Valley.
Mount Sugarloaf
Turners Falls Dam in Spring
East Deerfield Railyard
     The site is located on Railroad Yard Road in a commercial/residential section of East Deerfield, Massachusetts. The Pan Am East Deerfield Rail yard property is approximately 129 acres, and is bounded to the north and east by open land and the Connecticut River, to the south by River Road, and to the west by the Deerfield River. Pan Am Railways owns the majority of the East Deerfield Rail Yard; however, a portion of the property is currently leased from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation and Construction (EOTC). The property has been a rail yard since the late 1800�s. Prior to its current use, the disposal site was either undeveloped or used as farmland. Check out the links below for more information.
E Deerfield Railyard
Railyard action on Youtube
Turners Falls Dam in Spring
Turners Falls-Gill Bridge
        Before the bridge was constructed, a ferry known as "Bissel's Ferry" operated approximately a quarter-mile upriver from this site. In 1878, the ferry was replaced by an earlier bridge, known as the Upper or 'Red' Suspension Bridge -- distinguishing it from the "Lower Suspension Bridge," at the current downriver site of the Turners Falls Road Bridge -- which was 563 feet long.  Damaged beyond repair in the devastating Connecticut Valley flood of 1936, it was replaced by the current bridge in 1938 and torn down in 1942 to recover materials for the war effort; its piers remain on the river banks.
       The current structure began construction on May 17, 1937 and was completed in September 1938. The bridge was dedicated on Saturday, September 10, 1938. By 2010, the road deck of the bridge had become riddled with potholes and uneven pavement. A major renovation project began in summer 2010 and finished in 2014 at an estimated cost of $40.7 million.