Sandy Brook, Connecticut, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||80 fpm|
|Max Gradient||100 fpm|
|HUBBARD RIVER NEAR WEST HARTLAND, CT|
|usgs-01187300||3.00 - 5.50 ft||IV||01h13m||1.04 ft (too low)|
The put-in is at the junction of Sandy Brook Road and Phelps Flat Road. From
here to the second bridge the river is a nice class II-III warm-up. As soon as you pass
under the second bridge there’s a sharp, almost vertical drop punctuated with several rocks
and holes. After this drop the river stays a solid class IV for a third of a
mile. The rapid ends at the “Block” which is a huge boulder sitting
in the center of the river. It’s possible to pass to either side of the boulder but
if you go right make sure that you’re as close to the right shore as possible. On the
right side of the boulder and right next to it is a wicked hole that has trapped many
paddlers. Immediately after the Block there’s a small pool where everyone
gathers. When the river level is high many paddlers elect to put in here instead of
Below the pool the river is not quite as tough as the previous section but still pretty meaty and non-stop until a small bridge. Right after the bridge there’s a wonderful surfing wave with a large calm eddy on river left. From here to where the river crosses under Sandy Brook Road there’s more non-stop rapids.
After crossing under Sandy Brook Road the river is mild for a short way, ending in a left turn. Almost immediately after this left turn is a sharp right turn. Right after this turn the river squeezes down and in the narrow spot there’s a big hole. It’s best to pass by this hole on the far right. Center Brook then enters from the right and adds a significant amount of water to the Sandy. Some hardy souls carry their boats up Center Brook and run the last few rapids (class V).
The next left turn is the start of the second hardest rapid on the river. It starts off with a couple of wide holes and has large boulders, tough cross currents and more holes. The rapid lasts for around 100 yards and is about the half way point of the run. After this rapid the river gets more relaxing but there’s still sections that get your attention. It’s a good place to put in if you’re not sure of your abilities on the previous sections.
After about a mile and a half you’ll come to a very calm section in the river. Coming out of this calm section is a left bend which puts you at the head of a short significant rapid right above a bridge. It’s only possible to see this bridge ahead of time if you’re next to the right shore in the calm section. This rapid contains lots of rocks and holes with two very large rocks about 10 to 15 feet apart in the center of the rapid. The best route is to pass between the two large rocks. Right above the bridge is a large eddy on river left. On a wall in this eddy is a hand painted river gage.
Good rapids continue until near the end of the run. When the river becomes class II keep an lookout for a left channel after you pass a footbridge. Take this left channel instead of following the main channel on the right. At this writing the right channel is blocked by two large trees that fell across the river. The Take-out is on river left after passing under the route 8 bridge.