Connecticut River

The Connecticut River

The headwaters of the Connecticut River start in a small pond 300 yards south of the Canadian Border in New Hampshire and runs 406 miles to Long Island Sound. The Connecticut section of the river is 65.5 miles from the Massachusetts border to the headwaters at Old Saybrook Point.

“Connecticut” is a French corruption of the Mohegan word ‘quinetucket’, which means “beside the long, tidal river”.  The first document exploration was by Adriaen Block in 1614 who made it as far north as what is now the Enfield Dam.

Quick Links

I kayaked the Connecticut section over three days in the summer of 2019 starting at the Massachusett’s border to the Old Saybrook lighthouse camping along the way.

The Connecticut was named an American Heritage River on July 27th, 1998 by then Vice-President Al Gore. As an American Heritage River, the Connecticut and surrounding environs (most notably wetlands) received federal protections, and future cleanup and conservation efforts became eligible for special federal funding.

Al Gore, American Heritage Rivers announcement (video), C-SPAN

Section List

(North to South, miles to the mouth of the river)

  • Nearest boat launch north of Connecticut is 2.4 miles away at Riverfront Conservation Area in Longmeadow
  • 65.5 miles – Massachusett’s Border
  • 63.5 miles – Barnes Boat Launch in Thompsonville
  • 61.5 – Kings Island Boat Launch
  • 61 miles – Kings Island
    • Camping Area
  • Windsor Locks Public Ram – 1530 Palisado Ave Windsor, CT
  • Linear Park Launch – 4 Vibert Rd South Windsor, CT
  • Windsor Meadows State Park
  • Riverside Park
  • Great River Park
  • Charter Oak Landing
  • Wethersfield Cove Public Ramp
  • Keeney Cove
  • Glastonbury Rivefront Park
  • Rocky Hill Public Ramp
  • River Highlands State Park
    • Camping Area
  • Harbor Park
  • Hurd State Park
    • Camping Area
  • Haddam Meadows State Park
  • Salmon River Ramp
  • East Haddam Town Landing
  • Chester Town Boat Landing
  • Chapman Pond
    • Camping Area
  • Gillette Castle State Park
    • Camping Area
  • Deep River Town Landing
  • Selden Neck State Park
    • Camping Areas
  • Pratt Cove
  • Lyme Town Boat Access
  • Little Point Street Ramp
  • Bushnell Park
  • Essex Town Dock
  • Novelty Lane Water Access Area
  • Scholes Lane Sater Access Area
  • Middle Cove, Essex Town Park
  • Nott Lane Open Space Access
  • Alt Water Access
  • Mack Lane Access Area
  • Essex Town Dock
  • Baldwin Bridge State Boat Launch
  • North Cove Town Ramp
  • Lynde Point Light
  • Saybrook Breakwater Light

Kings Island Boat Launch

★☆☆☆☆

41.963199, -72.607073

Kings Island Boat Launch / Angelo Sferrazza Memorial Park DEEP Water Access / Enfield Town Park 17 acres in Enfield, CT Parking: Medium sized lot near 49…

Kings Island

★★★☆☆

41.954496, -72.612596

Kings Island Eversource Land Trust 120 acres in Enfield and Suffield, CT Parking: Access by water only, nearest boat launch is Kings Island Boat Launch Boat launch… Read more…

Windsor Meadows State Park

★★☆☆☆

41.813168, -72.647661

Windsor Meadows State Park Connecticut State Park 155 acres in Windsor, CT Parking: Medium sized lot near E Barber St, Windsor, CT Trail Map       …

Haddam Meadows State Park

★★☆☆☆

41.481174, -72.510483

Haddam Meadows State Park Connecticut State Park 175 acres in Haddam, CT Parking: Several lots near 20 Parmelee Rd, Haddam, CT Trail Map        Trails:…

Ferry Landing State Park

★★☆☆☆

41.311537, -72.346463

Ferry Landing State Park Connecticut State Park 1 acre in Old Lyme, CT Parking: Small lot near 398 Ferry Rd, Old Lyme, CT Trail Map     …

Eagle Landing State Park

Unexplored

41.449621, -72.465022

Eagle Landing State Park Connecticut State Park 16 acres in Haddam, CT Parking: Large lot near 14 Little Meadow Rd, Haddam, CT Park Map      Trails:…

Dart Island State Park

Unexplored

41.552445, -72.561355

Dart Island State Park Connecticut State Park / Scenic Reserve 19 acres in Middletown, CT Parking: Accessible from the water only Trail Map       Trails: Unknown …

River Highlands State Park

★★★☆☆

41.619244, -72.630702

River Highlands State Park Connecticut State Park 177 acres in Cromwell, CT Parking: Medium sized lot near 115 Field Rd Cromwell, CT Trail Map      Trails: 8…

Barnes Boat Launch

★★☆☆☆

41.998262, -72.605292

Donald W. Barnes Boat Launch Connecticut River Boat Launch in Enfield, CT Parking: Medium sized lot near S River St, Enfield, CT Trail Map Barnes Boat launch… Read more…