Willimantic River Water Trail - Headwaters

Stafford Springs, Ellington, Willington, Tolland

Map numbers refer to river features and launch sites listed below. Be sure to check the USGS Willimantic River real-time stream gauge when you are planning a trip. Because river conditions and launches may change over time, using information in this guide is at the sole risk of the user.

Map of Boat Launches and River Features in the Willimantic River Headwaters

Quick Water Section

for experienced river paddlers

River Features

  1. Narrow channel, good only in high water.
  2. Warning: Two-foot drop over dam (.9m). Scout before putting in. Can portage.
  3. Large boulder and "Rock Garden"
  4. Large boulder midstream
  5. Large boulder and "Rock Garden." CAUTION: Watch for fly-fisherman year-round in the 3 miles between Roaring Brook and Route 74. Let them know you are coming and paddle behind them.
  6. Warning: At Interstate 84, go through RIGHT culvert (LEFT culvert is dead-end)
  7. Warning: Sharp bend. Do not go straight. Turn hard RIGHT, then use caution in fast, narrow channel.


Stafford Springs Commuter Lot (L 0.0 miles)

Location: East side of Route 32, at commuter lot; Distance from Start: 0 miles; Vehicle Parking: Large area, excellent; River Access: Excellent; Comments: Narrow section, good only with high water. 2 foot drop about .9 miles downstream. Use on weekends only.

Nye Holman State Forest in Tolland (L 5.9 miles)

Location: North side of Route 74, .3 miles west of Route 32 (Nye-Holman State Forest entrance); Distance from Start: 5.9 miles; Vehicle Parking: Good; River Access: Fair/Good; Comments: Best access is .1 miles north of Route 74; brush and steep bank.

Heron Cove Park in Tolland (L 6.5 miles)

Location: South River Road, .5 miles south of Route 74.; Distance from Start: 6.5 miles; Vehicle Parking: Excellent; River Access: Excellent; Comments: Park at north end of lot and carry 200 feet on gravel road to launch site.

Canoe and kayak features provided by the Willimantic River Yacht Club in May, 2010. Additional information provided by the Willimantic River Alliance.