Westfield, W. Branch, Massachusetts, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||66 fpm|
|Max Gradient||90 fpm|
|WEST BRANCH WESTFIELD RIVER AT HUNTINGTON, MA|
|usgs-01181000||800 - 9000 cfs||III-IV||00h27m||96 cfs (too low)|
The river is class III boogie water all the way from the put-in to the sixth
railroad bridge. After the bridge there’s a short calm stretch where you can gather up the
troops. Right after the next left turn is a short class IV rapid which is best run on the far
left. After the rapid there’s a short calm stretch then a second class IV rapid ending at
the next railroad bridge. Run this one on the far left also.
After the class IV rapids there is a pool where you should take out on the left and walk down to the next drop to scout. Here there is a vertical drop into a hole which is best run on the right edge. At the bottom of the drop Coles Brook enters from the left.
Hazard: After Hurricane Irene in 2011 there is the root end of a large tree extending out from the left shore two feet over the lip of the drop. It is possible to paddle around the end of the tree but you had better be sure that you can make the move or you will be in a world of hurt.
After Coles Brook it’s all boogie water again until the Bancroft Road Bridge which is the end of the upper section and the start of the lower section.
The lower section is easy paddling until Factory Book enters from the left. Below here the river splits. The left channel is usually blocked near the bottom so the right channel is the way to go. This is a short powerful class IV rapid with holes on the right. The rapid changed after Hurricane Irene so the best line now is down the center left. This short section ends with a steep chute in the center then is immediately followed by a class III-IV rapid.
The next rapid is a long, complex class III-IV rapid ending at the next railroad bridge. After the bridge the river is mostly class II-III until you get to a river wide ledge called Double Drop. You can’t see the ledge until you’re committed to the rapid so the best way to know where you are is to observe where the river turns. The ledge is located where the river turns left-right for the second time. Enter the rapid on the extreme left and eddy out in a long eddy on river left just above the ledge. Coming out of the eddy punch through a small hole and run the ledge on the far left.
From here to the take-out the river is mostly class II. The take-out is located on river left just below the Middlefield Road Bridge.
Westfield River (Huntington) U.S.G.S. gage