Knightsville Dam and Indian Hollow Camping

Last Updated: 12/2017
      In conjunction with the dam at Littleville Lake, Knightville Dam provides flood protection to Huntington, Westfield, West Springfield, and other communities on the Westfield River. Knightville Dam also helps to reduce damages along the main stem of the Connecticut River.

      Construction of the project began in August 1939 and was completed in December 1941 at a cost of $3.3 million. Route 112 was relocated to accommodate the project. The project consists of an earthfill dam with stone slope protection measuring 1,200-feet long and 160-feet high; a gated circular concrete conduit founded on bedrock 605-feet long with a diameter of 16 feet; and a curved chute spillway cut in rock with a 410-foot-long concrete weir.  The weir’s crest elevation is 20 feet lower than the top of the dam.

        There is no lake at Knightville Dam. The flood storage area of the project covers 960 acres and extends about six miles upstream through Huntington and Chesterfield. It is normally empty and utilized only to store floodwaters. The project and all associated lands cover 2,688 acres. Knightville Dam can store up to 15.97 billion gallons of water for flood control purposes. This is equivalent to 5.6 inches of water covering its drainage area of 162 square miles.

        The Reservoir Control Center (RCC) is the "nerve center" for the New England flood risk management dams such as Knightville Dam. Using radio and satellite communications, the team constantly monitors river levels and weather conditions that influence flood control decisions. Corps personnel, in conjunction with RCC regulate the amount of water released downstream by raising or lowering the three gates located in the gatehouse at the dam. In a time of high water, the gates are lowered in order to hold back the water, only to be released when downstream river conditions begin to recede.

        In April 1987 a flood similar to that of 1936 occurred. Heavy rains fell on a deep snowpack causing rapid melting and run-off. Knightville Dam held back a record amount of flood waters. For only the second time in its history, water flowed over its spillway scouring a channel down to bedrock. However, Knightville slowed down the flow of water reducing serious flooding problems in communities downstream along the Westfield and Connecticut Rivers. This project has prevented $335.9 million in flood damages since it was built (as of September 2011).


Total Length: 95.4 miles

Main River before branching - 25.1 miles.
East Branch     - 34.9 miles
Middle Branch - 18.3 miles
West Branch    - 17.1 miles

Altitude drop: 1684 feet  (an average of 17.5 feet/mile)

Main River before branching - 298 feet. (11.87 ft/mile)
East Branch    -  1353 feet (39.80 feet/mile)
Middle Branch -  1112 feet (60.77 feet/mile)
West Branch    -   850 feet (49.71 feet/mile)

       The Westfield River is a major tributary of the Connecticut River located in Metropolitan Springfield, Massachusetts. With four major tributary branches that confluence in the City of Westfield, it flows 78.1 miles before its confluence with the 410 miles Connecticut River at Agawam, across from the City of Springfield's Metro Center district, and beside Six Flags New England. 
  • Main Branch is 25.2 miles long from Huntington through Russell, Westfield and ending in West Springfield/Agawam at Pynchom Point.
  • East Branch (sometimes called the North Branch), which has origins in the Berkshire Mountain hamlets of Savoy, Windsor, Cummington, Worthington, and Chesterfield. It fed is by Center Brook and Savoy Hollow Brook near the center of Savoy at mile 60.5.
  • Middle Branch, which has its origins in the Berkshire hamlet of Peru; The head waters is Trout Brook at mile 43.5.
  • West Branch, which has its origins in Washington and Becket. Mile 42.2 at the center of Becket where six brooks are the headwaters.
    • Morgan Brook
    • Savery Brook
    • Watson Brook
    • Shaker Mill Brook
    • Yokum Brook
    • Depot Brook

         Known for its whitewater rapids and scenic beauty, the Westfield River provides over 50 miles of whitewater canoeing and kayaking, in addition to one of the largest roadless wilderness areas remaining in the Commonwealth.

[1] Below Knightville Dam - Mile 29.6 - East
Position: 42-17.28 N 72-51.85 W
Altitude: 465 feet
Picnic area offers East Branch river access just downstream from Knightville Dam. On-road parking available adjacent to site with additional space in parking lot ¼ mile north of site. Available restrooms a short distance away.
Note: Potentially dangerous rapids at the launch area and both upstream and downstream. Read more below
Nearest Launch Address:  
1 Army Corps of Engineers Road, Huntington, MA 01050
Put-In Directions (17.8 miles, 30 minutes):
From the Mass Pike Exit 3, Westfield, MA:
  1. At the end of the ramp, turn right at the stop light.
  2. Head southwest on Southampton Road toward Westfield center on Route 202 South.
  3. At mile 1.5, turn right onto Franklin Street, Route 20 West, toward Russell/Pittsfield.
  4. Continue on Route 20 West through Russell to Huntington.
  5. At mile 13.4, turn right onto Route 112 North crossing over the river.
  6. At mile 17.3, turn slight right onto Knightville Dam Road.
  7. At mile 17.8, continue onto Army Corps of Engineers Road and immediately arrive at the launch area.
 Start of Expert Race 
{cke_protected}{C}%3C!%2D%2DStartFragment%2D%2D%3E          The Expert Race starts just below Knightville Dam and, due to the controlled release of water, has much more predictable conditions. There are class II rapids throughout most of the course until it joins the Novice Race course in the center of Huntington.{cke_protected}{C}%3C!%2D%2DEndFragment%2D%2D%3E
{cke_protected}{C}%3C!%2D%2DStartFragment%2D%2D%3EA few notable sections to watch for are: {cke_protected}{C}%3C!%2D%2DEndFragment%2D%2D%3E
  1.  The hard right-hand bend about a half-mile downstream of The Rapids restaurant.
  2. The "Drop" in the Gardner State Park gorge - the only class IV section on the race course
  3.  "Boulder Patch" - a long stretch of class III rapids, beginning at the Norwich Bridge and continuing for almost a mile to the swinging bridge.
  4. The West Branch joins the main river a quarter-mile below the swinging bridge. See the Novice Race description for the balance of the course.
Park roadside outside the barrier or down the road.
There are picnic tables and grills available.
The river is low here but in the Spring or during releases it is High.
[10] Army Corps - Indian Hollow Campground - Mile 34.2 East
Position: 42-20.50 N 72-50.80 W
Altitude: 558 feet
Use the Parking lot and access trails.
Nearest Launch Address:  
Army Corps of Engineers Road, Chesterfield, MA 01012
Put-In Directions (20.1 miles, 32 minutes):
From the intersection of Route 20 and Route 112 of in Huntington:
  1. Head northeast on Route112 North
  2. At mile 8.9, turn right onto Ireland Street.
  3. At mile 13.7, turn right onto Route143 East.
  4. At mile 15.9, turn right onto South Street. The Chesterfield library on the corner.
  5. At mile 18.3, turn right onto Indian Hollow Road. Look for a tiny brown sign indicating campground.
  6. At mile 19.7, Indian Hollow Road turns slightly left and becomes Army Corps of Engineers Road.
  7. At mile 20.1, arrive at the campground.
Indian Hollow Campground
      With abundant wildlife, lush scenery and coveted waterfront views, Indian Hollow group campsite, located at the Knightville Dam and Reservoir, offers groups and clubs a recreational oasis.
Natural Features:
         In summertime and early autumn the open areas of the basin have spectacular blooms of wildflowers. These old fields attract many species of songbirds and butterflies. The Knightville reservoir area is a Massachusetts Watchable Wildlife site, and visitors may catch a glimpse of deer, coyotes, beavers, grouse, turkeys or waterfowl while exploring the area.
         The rivers and streams at Knightville offer excellent trout fishing, and the river is stocked with trout in the spring. The surrounding hills provide prime upland game habitat, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts stocks pheasants in the fall. Hunting and fishing are permitted in the area in accordance with posted restrictions and Massachusetts laws. 
          Visitors can enjoy hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding along several miles of trails and old country roads. 
     Interpretive programs on the cultural and natural resources, water resources, water safety and flood control are provided by Park Rangers. Tours of Knightville Dam are also available.
        Indian Hollow accommodates community groups such as schools, scouts and clubs. Flush toilets, showers and drinking water create a comfortable camping atmosphere.

           For more information click below:
Army Corps of Engineers
Indian Hollow