Housatonic River Reach 8  

Last Updated: 3/2018
Willow St Bridge below Dam to
                  Glendale Middle Road above Dam
          The Housatonic River is very flat through Stockbridge.  It is a great trip for someone who is making their first river paddle.
South Lee to the Park in Stockbridge
         This two mile stretch follows the railroad on your left.  It first goes straight with Beartown State Forest on the left and several homes on the right.  You will come to a footbridge at mile 117.8 at the end of Park Street.  This bridge leads to Laura's Tower and Ice Glen trails. If you have time and want a hike, try these trails (See Below).  After passing 3 houses set back on your right, you will come to a park.  This alternate put-in is just before the Route 7 Bridge on your right at mile  117.4. This is a good place to stop and stretch and hit the convenience store for a snack or drink. Be careful of poison ivy!
Stockbridge Park to Glendale Middle Road Bridge
          The next 1.6 mile stretch is a quiet ride through some fields and land with leaning trees.  At mile 116.3, you will approach the first footbridge in the golf course.  The next road bridge will be West Main Street at mile 115.9.
WARNING: If the water is high, be very careful.  When the river floods the golf course in the spring, you may not be able to pass under this and the next three footbridges
West Main Street Bridge to Butler Road Bridge
        The next two miles brings you through the golf course.  Trees and grass land borders each side.  If you are a golfer, then look for balls in the water.  The current record is held by my son who retrieved 96 golf balls one day.  Let me know if you beat it!
         Next, you will be passing under three suspension footbridges just like the first one.  As the golf course ends, woods and farm fields dominate.
         A former road bridge on Butler Road at mile 113.9 is now closed to vehicle traffic.  This is another good spot to take a break.  Pull out just past the bridge on you left.  There is a bench to sit on or you can just bide away your time staring at the water off the bridge on a lazy summer day.  On the opposite side, the Norman Rockwell Museum comes down to the river.
Butler Road to Glendale Middle Road Bridge Take-out
       As you leave the Butler Road bridge the river first goes straight and then turns right.  Look left (east) and you will see a very modern house with large windows.  Just past this on the same side is a piece of land that has a hiking trails called Lower Bowker's Woods owned by Laurel Hill Association. See below for more information.
        You will pass a small island (pass on either side).  Look for bridge abutments.  These are from a trolley car train the ran many years ago.
       The river widens now almost into a lake.  There are wetlands to the left with tall grass.  The take out is just the other side of the Glendale Middle Road bridge on the left (east) shore.  Usually there are a few boats pulled ashore there.

Skill Level:            Class 1 - 2
Estimated Time:    2.5 hours
Distance:               6.4 miles
USGS Map: Stockbridge, MA (7.5’x15’)
The Park on Park Street Stockbridge - Mile 117.4
Position: 42-16.74 N 73-18.82 W
Boat Launch:
Park in gravel parking lot for the skate park area.  Carry car top boats on grass next to the Route 7 bridge that passes over the river.
Nearest Launch Address:
12 Park Street, Stockbridge, MA 01262
Put-In Directions (4.9 miles, 8 minutes):
From Exit 2 of the Massachusetts Turnpike (Rt. 90)
  1. At the end of the ramp turn left at the stoplight onto Route 20 West then left again onto Route 102 West toward Stockbridge.​​
  2. At mile 4.7, at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, turn left on Route 7 South.
  3. At mile 4.9, turn left onto Park Street with a gas station on the corner.  Turn immediately right into the Skate Park parking.  There is a state Canoe Access sign.
Put-In next to Route 7 bridge in the Park
The new boat launch is excellent.
More towns should follow Stockbridge!

Hiking activities nearby
Laura's Tower
       A quiet, wooded assent, starting out through old stand pine and hemlock. Midway up, a boulder outcropping gives a hint of the wonders of Ice Glen. Nearing the end of the climb is a large section of birch interspersed with mountain laurel. A metal tower at the summit provides a panoramic view of the middle Berkshires, including Mount Greylock to the north, the highest point in Massachusetts. On a clear day, one can see 68 miles west to the New York Catskills, and 50 miles north to the Green Mountains in southern Vermont.
Ice Glen 
        A clamber over, under and around giant boulders in a glacial ravine. The sides of the glen are covered with old stand pine and hemlock. The crags and crannies of the rocks are said to harbor ice and snow into the summer. At the north end of the glen is a flat rock face with an inscription from the donor, David Dudley Field. At the south end of the glen is reputedly the tallest pine in Massachusetts.
Lower Bowker's Woods
Lower Bowkers Woods is a cool, gently sloping stand in the oxbow of the Housatonic River. The railroad arcs east and west through the property. Just north of the railroad are the remnants of the old Berkshire Street Railway line. This 39.5 acre property comprises three of several parcels acquired via trust from the will of Robert R. Bowker, one of the founders of the American Library Association. The parcels were conveyed to the Association on November 27, 1941.
Laura's Tower
Ice Glen
Bowker's Woods
Glendale Middle Road above Dam - Mile 112.9
Position: 42-16.97 N 73-20.53 W
Boat Launch:
After parking, carry your car top boat over the railroad tracks and down the side of Glendale Middle Road bridge to the river.  This is mainly used as a take-out for river travelers but there may be a couple of boats there used for fishing by locals.
Nearest Launch Address:
99 Glendale Middle Rd, Glendale, MA 01229
Put-In Directions (6.3 miles, 10 minutes):
From Exit 2 of the Massachusetts Turnpike (Rt. 90)
  1. At the end of the ramp turn left at the stoplight onto Route 20 West then left again onto Route 102 West toward Stockbridge.​​
  2. At mile 4.7, you will pass the Red Lion Inn.  Continue straight on Route 102, Main Street Stockbridge.
  3. At mile 5.1, Route 102 goes right, you must go straight continuing on Main Street.
  4. Pass the Golf course on both sides of the road and pass over the Housatonic River.  At mile 5.4, turn right onto Glendale Middle Road.
  5. At mile 6.3, make a left into the pull over parking just before the railroad tracks at the corner of Castle Hill Road.
Take-Out just below Glendale Middle Road Bridge
Roadside Parking for Glendale Middle Road Take-Out
Willow Street Bridge below Dam - Mile 119.3
Position: 42-16.97 N 73-20.53 W
Boat Launch:
Car Top launch near the bridge.  Park on street because ONYXY does not allow parking in their lot.  The put-in is below the bridge that is just below the dam on the grassy and then rock area.  If ONXY request you don't launch, then you must put-in at Park Street Stockbridge.
Nearest Launch Address:  
31 Willow St, South Lee, MA 01260
Put-In Directions (3.1 miles, 5 minutes):
From Exit 2 of the Massachusetts Turnpike (Rt. 90)
  1. After the tollbooths, turn left at the stoplight onto Route 20 West then left again onto Route 102 West toward Stockbridge.​​
  2. At mile 3.1, stop at the corner of Route 102 and Willow Street.
Willow Street - Onyx Paper South Lee Dam
Willow Street - Onyx Paper South Lee Below Dam
Norman Rockwell Museum
        Norman Rockwell Museum presents the world’s largest collection of original Norman Rockwell art, including beloved paintings from The Saturday Evening Post and the Four Freedoms, and the best in the field of American illustration. Experience Rockwell’s art, life and legacy in the artist’s picturesque New England hometown of Stockbridge, Massachusetts nestled in the culturally rich Berkshires.
Norman Rockwell Museum