The Rattlesnake | Housatonic Whitewater Paddling by Jessie Stone | Aug 28, 2020 | JAdventures Main Banner, River Running, Whitewater Feature, WW Disciplines | 0 comments No matter how long you have been paddling, it is always so much fun to discover a new river or section of whitewater. This is especially true when you discover something (or are introduced to, as was the case for me) in your local paddling area. After paddling the Housatonic for 23 years, 10 days ago I was introduced to the Rattlesnake section of the Housatonic by my paddling buddy Andy Khulberg. What a fun, gorgeous and unique section of whitewater!! I was blown away. First, let’s start with the easy shuttle. Like much of the Housatonic, this run is all road accessible and the shuttle can be done on foot. Second, the put-in is spectacular. There is a waterfall upstream that you can paddle up to and under in some parts that is stunning! During the summer, the water is warm. Throughout the run, the scenery is beautiful. This section has everything you want in a river run – good whitewater, excellent play and some really fun drops – that you can run in a playboat! I have to say that I had no expectations as I had certainly heard of the Rattlesnake section but had never really given it a second thought. I have been running and loving the Bulls Bridge section of the Hous for years now, so did not feel the need to explore beyond that since Bulls does not run all the time and the Rattlesnake is farther away than the Bulls Bridge section for me. Though the Rattlesnake section of river is short according to the map, the snaking back and forth of the river gives much more river distance and rapids once on the water. You can easily see where this river gets its rattlesnake name. Thus, the rapids and play features are much longer and more numerous than you would imagine. The Housatonic is known for its remarkable river bed which creates a special soil ph that allows certain plant species to grow only there, and the Housatonic also has a certain character of river bed – lots of staircase like rapids and occasional potholes. This is extremely apparent on the rattlesnake section. The “rattle” ends up in the last rapid above the hydro dam, a large, impressive drop. Below the last big drop are more surf and play options on the way to the hydro dam. Throughout the run, there are more waves to catch and surf with eddy service and a good number of holes as well, that you could spend an entire day on this section of river. So if you are not totally worn out by the time you get to the power plant, you can work on your flat water tricks and then move on to the slalom course just below! Devon McEwan uses that course as his home training course and it’s easy to see why he lives right across the street. This is the prefect paddlers’ home – there is everything you could want in walking distance and its beautiful. Our first trip there was capped off by a beautiful black bear sighting nearby the take out! I should mention that the bird variety we saw was very impressive as well – herons, ospreys, eagles, and king fishers all doing their thing. The only caveat is that the Rattlesnake, like many rivers, does not always run. However, it seems to me that the run can be done at a variety of water levels making it likely to be paddleable more often than not! I highly recommend a visit to the Rattlesnake – it may just make your day! Submit a Comment Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.