Connecticut River Reach 20
​Sunderland to Elwell Recreation Area

Last Updated: 3/2018
      This long stretch of river is very beautiful and is lined with trees that border forest and the most fertile farm land in the Bay State.  
    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.

WIND - If the weather forcast includes a fair amount of wind, you may want to wait to paddle this section.  This section is wide and straight for 80 percent of the reach.  Wind can be a major factor to paddlers.

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.
Skill Level:            Class 1
Estimated Time:    4.5 hours (If windy longer)
Paddle Distance: 13.2 miles 
Reach Distance:  13.2 miles
USGS Map: Williamsburg, MA and Mount Holyoke, MA 
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
 [1] Sunderland - Mile 109.1
Position: 42-28.04 N 72-35.00 W 
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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 (2.1 miles, 5 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 just upstream of the bridge.
          The Put-In is fairly easy to find.  Parking may be difficult.  I suggest getting your boat(s) ready and then parking in the Library parking lot.
There are rest rooms and plenty of parking at the library.
        The river is nearly straight for the next 5 miles.  There are no bridges or islands of any kind.  The shoreline has trees and farmland on both banks.  Finally the river makes a turn to the west at mile 104.0 and then a long turn to the south about a mile long.​​
Canary and Scott Islands - Mile 97.9
       Canary island at mile 97.9 on your right and an Scott Island on your left begins the a 180 degree turn to the east.  Both these islands are extensions of private property on the shores.  They are extensively used in the warm weather.

Elwell Island - Mile 96.7 to 96.0
       This sixty acre island was owned by the city of Northampton but is now part of the Connecticut River Greenway State Park.  It is open to visits of all kinds except camping which is not allowed.
        If you intend to take-out before the Route 9 bridge, then you may want to travel to the right, narrow, side of the island.  Elwell Recreation Area is just after passing under the rail trail bridge (formerly railroad).
[3] Elwell Recreation Area, Route 9 Bridge in
                                      Northampton - Mile 95.9
Position: 42-20.10 N 72-37.25 W
Altitude: 102 feet
Boat Launch:
State Boat Launch for all types of boats.  University Crew boats also launch from here.  Parking is competitive because of the bicycle trail users.
Nearest Launch Address:
390 Damon Road, Northampton, MA 01060
Put-In/Take-Out Directions ( 0.1 miles  1 minutes)
From Interstate 91 Exit 19  Northampton.
  1. Go down the exit ramp to the stop light and continue straight onto Damon Road.
  2. Make an immediate right into the launch area.  This is part of the Connecticut Greenway State Park.
Elwell Recreation Area
Launch using the paved boat ramp or this dock along the river.
Follow the rules.
The beginning of the Rail Trail
[2] Hatfield Boat Launch - Mile 103.1
Position: 42-23.62 N 72-35.40 W 
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Boat Launch:
Unimproved gravel boat launch for all types of boats.  The area can flood in high water so be careful.  A portable toilet is available.
Nearest Launch Address:
Kellogg Hill Rd, Hatfield, MA 01038 
Put-In/Take-Out Directions (4.1 miles, 8 minutes)
From Interstate 91 Exit 22 Hatfield.
  1. At the end of the ramp turnonto Elm Street toward Hatfield.
  2. At mile 1.7, continue onto Maple Street.
  3. At mile 2.1,turn left onto becomes Main Street and pass through the center of Hatfield.
  4. At mile 4.1, turn right onto Kellogg Hill Road at the little brown Boat Access sign.

Hatfield Launch Turn Off - obscure
The launch is gravel with parking and a portable toilet nearby.
         You will have been paddling for about two hours by the time you reach here.  Located on the right (west) bank this informal boat launch has a portable toilet and an open area where you can stretch and take a break in the shade.
Norwottuck Rail Trail
          The Norwottuck Rail Trail is an 11 mile path linking Northampton, Hadley, and Amherst along the former Boston & Maine Railroad right-of-way. The path's level terrain provides safe passage for pedestrians, wheelchairs, joggers, skaters, bicyclists, and cross-country skiers of all ages and abilities. Motorized vehicles and horses are prohibited. Free parking is available for trail users at Elwell Recreation Area in Northampton, Railroad Street in Hadley, and Station Road in South Amherst. Public restrooms are seasonally available at the parking areas at Elwell Recreation Area and the Station Road in South Amherst.
Rail Trail
Hatfield Center Store - Mile 101.6
      If you are in need of a store, you can climb the bank and walk into town at about the same level as School Street.  Otherwise, you will not have an opportunity until the take out in Northampton.

Mile 100.0 - The river makes a long lazy turn to the west (right).