Barton Cove is a beautiful nook right on the Connecticut River above the Turner’s Falls dam. In addition to being a relatively small and quiet place to paddle, there are many places in the Cove where only kayaks or canoes can get into, which makes it a nice little place to escape the heavy weekend power-boating done on the river. Be sure to check out one of New England’s only Bald Eagle’s nests, located on the island in the center of the Cove (keep your distance, though!). For a little extra exercise, paddle out of the Cove through the Narrows and head up the Connecticut for some more scenery…maybe even a swim here or there. While it is a bit more of a challenge, paddling up to the French King Bridge will give you a better look at the famous King Rock than you can get from anywhere else.
For the best conditions, go during the work week to benefit from the calmer waters and less busy traffic.
From EMS Hadley, head east on Route 9 into Amherst and take a left onto North Pleasant Street. Go through UMass Amherst campus and get on Route 63, heading north. After getting into Miller’s Falls follow the signs to Route 2 west. Once you’re on Route 2, go over the French King Bridge and look for the public boat ramp on your left. Parking is free, but paddlers are encouraged to park on the grass. Enjoy!
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