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Housatonic River Reach 9

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Last Updated: 9/2017
Glendale Middle Road above the Dam to 
Rising Pond Dam
 
Description
             
         This part of the river is more aggressive than any other section in Massachusetts. If you’re looking for a little challenge then this is the run for you.  Consider the following before you go:
  • Scout the river before you make a run.  If the river is showing lots of rocks and it is late in the season then half your run may be bumping and scraping.  That’s no fun!  Stop at the railroad bridge and make sure you can handle this section.
  • Use a whitewater style canoe or kayak when the river is up.  You will find these boats much easier to navigate with on this stretch.
  • Don’t do it alone.  Its just plain stupid!
  • Tie everything in.  I have gone over on this stretch when it was high and lost a paddle.  Use a dry bag tied to a thwart.  Bring an extra paddle and tie it to the boat.  Wear your PFD, don’t just use it for something to kneel on.
             Enough said.  This short stretch can be lots of fun.  There are a couple of rapids that in a river kayak you can play for hours.  Each year there seems to be more and more kayaks in the spring.  This run can be done many times in a day by having a couple of cars to ferry back and forth. Use the alternate take-out if you just want white water.
 
Glendale Dam to Power Plant
            For the purest who wants to cover the whole stretch, then putting in right below the dam is for you.  You will need to do some huffing and puffing.
STATISTICS 

Skill Level:            Class 1, 2, & 3
Estimated Time:    1.5 hours
Distance:               4.1 miles
USGS Map: Stockbridge, MA and Great Barrington, MA (7.5’x15’)
Glendale Middle Road above Dam - Mile 112.9
Position: 42-16.97 N 73-20.53 W
Boat Launch:
After parking, carry your car top boat over the railroad tracks and down the side of Glendale Middle Road bridge to the river.  This is mainly used as a take-out for river travelers but there may be a couple of boats there used for fishing by locals.
Nearest Launch Address:
99 Glendale Middle Rd, Glendale, MA 01229
Put-In Directions (6.3 miles, 10 minutes):
From Exit 2 of the Massachusetts Turnpike (Rt. 90)
  1. After the tollbooths, turn left at the stoplight onto Route 20 West then left again onto Route 102 West toward Stockbridge.​​
  2. At mile 4.7, you will pass the Red Lion Inn.  Continue straight on Route 102, Main Street Stockbridge.
  3. At mile 5.1, Route 102 goes right, you must go straight continuing on Main Street.
  4. Pass the Golf course on both sides of the road and pass over the Housatonic River.  At mile 5.4, turn right onto Glendale Middle Road.
  5. At mile 6.3, make a left into the pull over parking just before the railroad tracks at the corner of Castle Hill Road.
Take-Out just below Glendale Middle Road Bridge
Roadside Parking for Glendale Middle Road Take-Out
Glendale Dam Portage
 

       Take out on the right (west) side of the river and dam where the power canal begins (see image of map below).  Carry about 100 yards to the end of the canal and then back up the other side about halfway following the portage signs.  Take the trail down into the woods to the put-in below the dam.​
Portage Map is found on a kios in the parking area.
A view of the portage Take-Out
Take this steep trail down to the Put-In below the dam.
Be prepared to start in Class 2 rapids and more a short distance down river.  Stay middle to left as you approach and pass the power plant 1/2 mile below the Glendale Dam.
Glendale Dam Portage and Whitewater Launch - Mile 112.7
Position:  42-16.86 N 73-20.78 W
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Boat Launch:
From Glendale Middle Road Bridge travel south on Route 183. There is an unmarked gravel on your left.  It is difficult to see.  HINT: There is a 35 mph speed limit sign and a break in the guard rail at the turn.  Turn here and follow to the parking area a kios.
Nearest Launch Address:
30 Glendale Rd, Glendale, MA 01229
Housatonic Pumping Station - Mile 109.9
Position: 42-15.00 N 73-21.82 W
Boat Launch:
This take-out is roadside
Nearest Launch Address: 
362 Park St, Housatonic, MA 01236
On Route 183 across from Cone Avenue 
Take-Out Directions (9.6 miles, 17 minutes)
From Exit 2 of the Massachusetts Turnpike (Rt. 90)
  1. After the tollbooths, turn left at the stoplight onto Route 20 West then left again onto Route 102 West toward Stockbridge.​​
  2. At mile 4.7, you will pass the Red Lion Inn.  Continue straight on Route 102, Main Street Stockbridge.
  3. At mile 5.1, Route 102 goes right, you must go straight continuing on Main Street.
  4. Pass the Golf course on both sides of the road and pass over the Housatonic River.
  5. At mile 6.3, turn left on Route 183 South
  6. Follow along the Housatonic River into the village of Housatonic.  
  7. At mile 9.3, Route 183 South turns left and goes under some railroad tracks and immediately over the river.
  8. At mile 9.6, arrive at Pumping Station on right opposite Cone Avenue.
Pumping Station on Risingdale Pond
A view of the Put-In/Take-Out on Risingdale Pond
Power Plant to Railroad Bridge
           This is a part time power plant and has no known schedule of release at this writing.  Use care passing because water may rise quickly.
        The stretch after the plant is straight and follows the road.  You can launch along the road just below the plant as an alternate location.  Watch out for poison ivy.  On high water it will be class 1-2 rapids over a large rock garden.  When the river is lower you will find dodging large rocks a challenge.
          If this is your first trip here, take the left (east) side when hitting the rapids at the railroad bridge.  The right side may have a drop that can flip you.  It's a fun spot so enjoy.​
Railroad Bridge to Furnace District
           After passing the railroad bridge you will be in quick water for a stretch and then the river turns right.  The river goes straight and is easy passage.  As it turns right you will approach the Furnace area. The river drops and when low, can be a lot of scraping for a 100 meters.

Furnace District to Housatonic 183 Bridge
          After the Furnace District, the river turns left and then straight with some quick water.  Route 183 and the railroad tracks come back closer to the river on right.  The river narrows and becomes quicker.  You will see a large brick factory building on your right.  This is where the Back to the Future Ride was built for MGM. 
          Pay attention here.  When the river is high it gets fast.  You will be approaching a building that crosses the river called “The Bridge”.  There are two safe passages.  My office use to look at the downriver side about mid river.  I use to watch kayakers pass under it while doing software development.
"The Bridge"
        Get a thrill as you pass under a building that traverses the river.  Either side is just fine.
          The river continues in class 2 to 3 rapids for a straight stretch.  The Route 183 Bridge is directly ahead.  After the bridge, the river becomes Rising Pond and calms down to a placid ride.  The take-out is on the left bank just past Berkshire Mountain Bakery where all types of sourdough bread is baked.  Stop after your run and buy a loaf.
Pumping Station to Rising Paper Dam
           This pond is bordered by a few houses.  Woods dominate along the right (west) shore and home to wildlife.  At the end of this very wide section is the Rising Paper Plant on the left shore at the dam.   Take out is before the dam on the right (west) side of the river.  It is grass where you can drag your boat over and down to the river on the other side.