Five Great Paddling Destinations on the Lower Connecticut River
Of the many activities available to the residents of the Lower Connecticut River Valley, one of the most popular is paddle sports. Our area’s ponds, lakes and streams offer the canoers and kayakers almost unlimited choices. But arguably the favorite venue for these watersport enthusiasts is the Connecticut River. Here, courtesy of Tidewaters of the Connecticut River, are five great paddling locations that are easy to get to and will satisfy even the most demanding paddler.
1. Chapman Pond (Lat: 41 26 21.714 Lon: 72 26 46.5036) Easily reached from the East Haddam boat ramp, Chapman Creek leads from the Connecticut River into lovely Chapman Pond, a freshwater tidal marsh that offers easy, current-free paddling. Be on the alert for ospreys as this is a favorite nesting area.
2. Whalebone Creek and Cove (Lat: 41 25. 4.911 Lon: 72 25 33.4266) Just a few hundred yards from the Gillette Castle State Park boat ramp, the mouth of this creek offers impressive granite outcroppings and lots of native hemlocks, as well as red maples and speckled alders. This is a favorite habitat for many small bird species, which come to dine on the native wild rice.
3. Selden Creek and Cove (Lat: 41 24 28.9938 Lon: 72 25 9.9438) About a mile downstream from the Chester-Hadlyme ferry landing, Selden Creek and Cove are well known for their abundant fish and wildlife. So don’t be surprised if you run into an angler or two. There are also a number of campsites along the creek, which is home to painted turtles and non-poisonous northern water snakes.
4. Hamburg Cove (Lat: 41 22 29.9598 Lon: 72 22 8.565) Probably the best known and best loved anchorage along the lower Connecticut, Hamburg Cove can get crowded with power and sailboats in season. But as you paddle farther on you come to the picturesque upper bay, which is accessible only by kayaks, canoes and small boats. Weekends can be crowded so try to visit in mid-week.
5. Lord Cove (Lat: 41 20 34.5804 Lon: 72 21 14.948) Guidebooks warn that Pilgrim’s Landing, the primary access to Lord Cove, gets pretty crowded and so recommend taking two cars and parking one in the Old Lyme commuter lot off I-95. The cove itself is dominated by cattails, which provide habitat for everything from march hens to muskrats.
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