Housatonic River Reach 1 

Last Updated: 3/2017
Muddy Pond to Hinsdale Public Library

      The Housatonic River’s three main branches rise out of three ponds in Berkshire County. The East Branch of the Housatonic begins at Muddy Pond in the towns Hinsdale and Washington, the West Branch begins at Pontoosuc Lake in Lanesborough and Pittsfield, and the Southwest Branch of the Housatonic begins at Richmond Pond, in the town of Richmond.
       Muddy Pond is the farthest distance from Long Island Sound via the river at 159 miles.  It is a real challenge to paddle the whole Housatonic River!  I encourage you to consider it either in sections or all  one trip.  See the publications by The Housatonic Valley Authority.
   If you do a web search, there are four Muddy Ponds in Massachusetts.  You will find them in the towns of Washington, Boxborough, Oakham, and Westminster.  The one in Berkshire County is unique, isolated, and seldom visited.  Access is not obvious and difficult because of railroad tracks that run north-south along the pond.

     It has been reported that from Bullards Crossing Road to the center of Hinsdale, there are numerous beaver dams that must be portaged.

Consider the description of Muddy Pond found under Berkshire County Lakes:
Skill Level:            Class 1
Estimated Time:    3.5 hours
Distance:               6.5 miles
USGS Map: Pittsfield East, MA (7.5’x15’)
[2] Bullards Crossing Road - Mile 157.3
Position: 42-23.82 N 73-06.49 W
Boat Launch:
This narrow dirt road may be unpassable at times.  If it is too rough for your vehicle, you will have to carry in for a good distance.  It is for car top boats at the bottom of the hill where the road crosses the river (more like a small stream).
Nearest Launch Address:  
Bullards Crossing Rd, Hinsdale, MA 01235
Put-In Directions (17.2 miles, 33 minutes):
Follow Steps 1 through 8 above and then do the following:
  1. At mile 13.6, turn right on Summit Hill Road.
  2. At mile 15.1, turn left on East Washington Road.
  3. At mile 16.3, turn left on Bullards Crossing Road.
  4. At mile 17.2, arrive at launch.
The bridge that is missing is over railroad tracks past the put-in.
The road can be impassable when wet and muddy. Use caution.
There is a culvert at the put-in.
In eary spring the water can be over the road.
Muddy Pond
[1] Muddy Pond - Mile 159.0
Position: 42.23.20 N 73-06.80 W
Boat Launch:
Car Top on Railroad Service Road.  You must parking off Railroad Property.  Cross over the railroad tracks and follow the gravel service road for half a mile. (Mile marker 14.3)  There is a grassy pull over where you can launch on the pond.  There is no formal boat-launching ramp, but it is possible to launch car to boats. 
Nearest Launch Address:  
550 Upper Valley Rd, Washington, MA 01223
Put-In Directions (14.3 miles, 28 minutes):
  1. From Exit 2 of the Massachusetts Turnpike (Rt. 90)
  2. At the end of the ramp turn left at the stoplight onto Route 20 East.
  3. Go through two more stoplights and continue through East Lee.
  4. At mile 4.1, turn left on Becket Road that climbs through woods.
  5. At mile 6.0, continue straight, this now Yokum Pond Road.
  6. At mile 7.7, merge onto County Road.
  7. At mile 8.6, turn right and then immediately left onto Route 8 North. 
  8. Pass through Becket Center and continue on Route 8 North.
  9. At mile 12.9, turn right onto Upper Valley Road.
  10. At mile 13.8, turn right into a gravel area near the double railroad tracks. (If the road turns 90 degrees left, turn back.)   
After crossing the tracks, follow the access road until you reach the pond.
There are two easy put-in locations along the tracks.
Paddle to the exit into the river in the southeast.
[3] Hinsdale Public Library - Mile 152.5
Position:  42-26.29 N 73-07.48 W
Boat Launch:
This take-out is right in town.
Nearest Launch Address:  
58 Maple St, Hinsdale, MA 01235 (Public Library)
Take-Out Directions ( 5.2 miles,  12 minutes):

From the Muddy Pond Put-In:
  1. Follow the service road 0.5 miles back to the railroad crossing and turn right onto Upper Valley Road.
  2. At mile 1.2, make a slight right onto Route 8 North.
  3. At mile 5.7, at the stop light in town, turn left onto Maple Street.
  4. The library is on the corner.  The take-out is just before the bridge on library property.
A nice little library with street parking.
Use this easy path opposite the library.