From Kenny Unser:
The Rattlesnake is west of Rt. 7 in Falls Village, CT. It is south of Canaan and north of Cornwall. Follow signs to Falls Village. When you see a small cluster of stores, continue under the railroad bridge and around the hydro plant. The Rattlesnake section ends at the Steel Bridge that crosses the river above the hydro plant. The run can be accessed on the river right shore just north of the steel bridge and just below Great Falls.
There is an annual Class-A slalom event on the Rattlesnake that draws boaters from around the country.
Lat/longitude coords are approximate, from TopoZone.
Also check out the Swift's Bridge and Bull's Bridge sections of the Housatonic.
Updated water level information: The Falls Village power plant takes approximately 1500 cfs away from the Rattlesnake section. If the river is running at 2000 cfs then the "Snake" will most likely be running at 500 cfs unless the plant is shut down. It can be run as low as 200 cfs which opens up the option of running the final drop of the great falls. (See video link below). At 500 cfs the run is fun with lots of surfing, and above 1000 it starts getting juicy. At levels over 2000 the hole at the big drop starts getting mean. You can call the local outfitters/ kayak shop in West Cornwall for info on the level and the power plant status. Clarke Outdoors 860-672-6365
Sez Kenny Unser: The Falls Village Hydro Plant releases water into the HACKS practice course (top of Swifts) but it bypasses the Rattlesnake section. That accounts for the difference between gauging the Swift's section and the Rattlesnake.
Enough water is needed to spill over the dam above Great Falls. The Rattlesnake might be running when the Bull's Bridge section is above 4 feet on the boater's gauge (that is a guess based on my limited experience). It runs time-to-time during dam maintenance and a release is scheduled during the annual slalom races in the spring. It's tough to gauge. Calling the River House is the best way to go (860-824-5899).
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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The Rattlesnake Drop
Rattlesnake Slalom race
Rattlesnake Slalom race shot 2
Great Falls on Housatonic,CT
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Denny Alsop, a 69-year old canoeist plans to repeat 1988 journey across Massachusetts to raise awareness for the importance of clean water in the northeast.
A hardy group of northeast boaters climbed into the natural river channel below a hydropower dam to participate in a flow study designed to assess whether whitewater flows should be restored to this dewatered river reach on the Connecticut River. While significant obstacles remain, this site has the potential for providing instruction, playboating, and a big water feature that that could be run throughout much of the year and provide a much needed boost to the local economy.
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