Bantam River, Litchfield, CT

The section of the Bantam River flowing through White Memorial Conservation Center property offers delightful -- and popular -- paddling trips on brownwater (that is, moving water with no rapids). The river flows serenely past marshes and forests, and often provides glimpses of beavers, birds, turtles, frogs, fish, and dragonflies. If you're lucky, you might even see a river otter. The Bantam River flows into and out of Bantam Lake, Connecticut's largest natural lake. You have the option of paddling on the inflow or the outflow section, or from one to the other by paddling across part of Bantam Lake. A few cautions: (1) Depending on the water level, you may need to carry your boat over a beaver dam or two; (2) although the current in the river is usually gentle, allowing you to paddle either up- or downstream, it can be strong in high-water situations, especially where the river becomes narrow and winding; and (3) if you paddle into Bantam Lake, be prepared to deal with wakes from motorboats and personal watercraft (e.g., Jet Skis).

Bantam River Inflow: Put-in at Whites' Woods Road Bridge

Access to this put-in is from a short gravel driveway just south of the bridge on Whites' Woods Road. The parking area can accommodate several vehicles. From the put-in, you can paddle either downstream or upstream. Heading Downstream: You can paddle to the lake and back, or continue paddling on the lake, heading southwest past the Litchfield Town Beach and boat launch, then turning right into Kilbourne's Cove and into the Bantam River outflow (see below).  Heading Upstream: You can paddle to Little Pond. If the water level permits, you can continue paddling out of the southeastern side of Little Pond, where the Bantam River leaves the pond.

Bantam River Outflow Put-in: North Shore Road Bridge