Far Mill River, Connecticut, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||80 fpm|
|SAUGATUCK RIVER NEAR REDDING, CT.|
|usgs-01208990||125 - 350 cfs||IV||3y29d12h32m||cfs|
It may help to think about this river (really a creek) in two sections, the upper and lower.
The upper section is more continuous than the lower and is about a mile in length. The highlight of this section is the first real rapid, a 10 foot vertical waterfall, followed by a short pool and then a small dam feature that is best run hard left or right. There are several more rapids in the upper section that are all boat-scoutable. When an island separates the flow, follow the right channel into the last set of rapids: a fast approach into a pillow move, followed by a ledge that can be run by sliding down the middle or boofing off the right and then making a quick move to avoid a rock...not bad for Fairfield County whitewater. After passing under the road, take out on the right by the Dunkin Donuts to either go back up and run the upper again or to portage around a pipe and begin the lower section.
The lower basically consists of two very cool Class IV rapids, a few Class II's, and a lot of flatwater. Be prepared for some general unpleasantness associated with the water quality as well. The first Class IV comes at a bend in the creek and is very difficult to boat scout. At present, there is a sizable tree blocking the channel, so visual inspection is preferable. It is a fast, narrow drop that almost makes the flatwater and septic stench worthwhile.
The second Class IV comes towards the end of the run, shortly before the Far Mill empties into
the Housatonic. This 12-foot ledge can be run cleanly on the right or left, but the middle looks
shallow. One more small rapid and a couple hundred feet of flats brings you to the take-out just
upstream of a bridge on Rte. 110.
The Far Mill can be found off exit 12 on Rte. 8. To get to the upper put-in, head north on Old Stratford Rd., make a right after you pass the Dunkin Donuts (the take-out for the upper section), and then your first left after you cross the creek onto Mill Street. When the road forks, follow it to the left. You will shortly arrive at a small turn-off on the left for a park which is the put-in.
To get to the take-out for the lower section, head back towards the Rte. 8 on-ramps. Stay straight and follow Warner Hill Road down towards the Housatonic. Make a left onto Rte. 110 and look for a restaurant on the left side of the road after you cross over the Far Mill. There are "no trespassing" signs in the parking lot, but no one has ever given us a hard time, probably because it's a big parking lot, and the restaurant is always empty. Enjoy.
Check out excellent video of the Farmill and other cool rivers compliments of James Capozzi.
GPS coordinates of the putin and takeout are approximate, from Google Maps.