This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II-III+
Length Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 05/16/2018 3:18 pm

River Description

This run is best described in two sections. The upper section, from the dam at the putin down to essentially the Shell Station/Dunkin' Donuts when the river crosses under route 4 is very creeky. No particularly serious rapids, but beware of strainers -- there are often mandatory portages, but everything should be visible from above. Be subtle when portaging and stay as close to the river as possible -- you're right in people's backyards on this run. Mostly class II-III continous fun. There's one or two man-made drops in this section, but everthing is pretty small and straight forward.

The second section has two runnable dams in it. The first, shortly after the end of the creeky section is an 8-foot (appr.) slide with a lip that bottoms out and shoots you out into the pool. Beware at higher levels, the hole can get incredibly nasty (even terminal), but there is apparently a line (with no margin for error) on far river left where the lip is backed up by a rock shelf that you can ride past the hole -- don't try this without extensive scouting. At normal levels, run a little left of center. This drop is best scouted before you put on by turning south on Riverside Avenue at the traffic light on route 4 next to the Shell Station/Dunkin' Donuts. The dam is behind the Riverside Deli, a short ways down on your left.
The second dam is an 18-foot vertical drop that bottoms out nicely. Scout it on river left just above it (there's a huge, slow moving pool). At low water be very careful and consider portaging due to risk of pitoning (or just seriously scraping the bottom of your boat). Also, stay away from the river-left edge -- a rock wall sticks out a bit at the bottom.
The only major rapids in this half of the river are in a gorge in downtown Torrington. There are some fun class III rapids and a number of playable holes (that are usually fairly shallow, unfortunately). Beware of occasional bits of metal sticking out from the wall, particularly the river right one.

After the gorge, the river mellows out becoming class I-II for the rest of the run. A creek comes in on river right from under a bridge and there is some gravel piled up at the confluence. Another one comes in a little further down on river left. After passing a few shopping carts and mattresses you reach the takeout marked by a riverwide 2-3 foot drop made by two offset pipes -- hasn't seemed to be dangerous in the boat, but don't swim into it (there aren't really significant rapids above it so that shouldn't be an issue). Get out on river left just downstream of this feature and hike up a few yards to the parking lot.

Driving Directions
The putin is reached by turning north on 272 at the traffic light on Route 4 just west of Torrington (next to the Shell Station/Dunkin' Donuts and on river-right of a bridge crossing the Naugatuck). Take that road for a mile or two and turn right on a small road called "Brass Mill Dam Rd." Go a couple hundred yards to a dead end parking circle and hike up from there to the dam to put in. The takeout is on river left south of central Torrington. From the Shell Station/Dunkin' Donuts, go south at that light on Riverside Avenue. It becomes Church Street after 1.2 miles. After .2 miles, turn right onto Water Street. .3 miles later turn right onto Main Street. After .8 miles, turn left onto Palmer Bridge Street for .2 miles then right onto Perkins Street and then a quick right onto Davis Pass where you'll see a big lot on the right (baseball field on the left). Park there, there's a path up from the takeout just beyond it.

Rapid Descriptions


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paxton berardy
11 years ago

There is also now a lower section of the Naugatuck commonly kayaked. It is class I-II and starts in southern Waterbury on Platts Mills Street of off of exitt 29 of rt 8. You can put in Behind and across from an old howard johnson now called the brass city restraunt I believe at the intersection of Platts Mills Street and S Main Street for a Harder Class 2 Start or put in about a half mile below at a large fisherman park/pullover for a beginner start. There is a race on this section now every year.The take out is off off exit 24 of rt8 in beacon falls under the Depot St bridge near the rail road station. The run is about six miles long and there are lower and higher put ins and outs as well. Th river is at a fluid level at 3 and really fun around 4.

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David Paton
13 years ago

UPDATE: The gauge is at Thomaston which is a flood control dam miles downstream of the section we paddle. During last weeks flood they actually ponded up a few billion gallons to release later. The upper West branch is basically a small creek and will be up when the Hubbard and Sandy are running.

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David Paton
13 years ago

Warning- do not rely on the gauge information for the Naugatuck. Right now the river is too high to run safely-lots of trees and some nasty keepers- but the gauge says its only 240 cfs. The actual volume must be at least a thousand or more. Look at the dam behind the Riverside Deli in West Torrington. If there is a giant hole then the run is HIGH.

No Gage

Gage Descriptions

The gauge that was on this page previously is in fact a flood control dam miles downstream. So there's often very little correlation between that dam and the river -- it was running at 240cfs while the run itself was in total flood. Thanks to Dave Paton for the info.


The best way to tell if this is running is to look at the dam behind the Riverside Deli. If there's a big hole, it's very high. It usually runs after rains, and if other creeks come up this will definitely come up. It often holds longer than most creeks, because it's fed by a pond at the putin.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports



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Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1194626 03/06/08 n/a n/a
1195727 08/02/09 Skip Morris
1207439 04/10/17 Sam Southgate
1209507 05/04/18 Alex Barham Location
1209593 05/16/18 Alex Barham Name Changed