Saturday, March 9, 2013

Wood/Pawcatuck Camping

I’ve been thinking about easy overnight camping, and for local trips you can’t beat the Wood/Pawcatuck.  There are actually three campsites on the Pawcatuck River - Stony Point on Worden Pond, Carolina Management Campsite below the Lower Shannock Falls, and the Burlingame Canoe Campsites.  There is also a bushwhack site at the convergence of the Wood and Pawcatuck and at the Grills Preserve of the Westerly Land Trust a couple of miles downstream from Bradford. As usual, spacing the camping out so you get a decent day paddling is the problem.

I think you could do a source-to-sea trip on the Pawcatuck that would take three days, two nights.  This is probably a spring trip so you can get through Great Swamp, and there are two long days of paddling.

Day 1 (6 miles)
  • Taylor Landing to Worden Pond – 6 miles
  • Camp at Stoney Point
Day 2 (18.5 miles)
  • Worden Pond to Biscuit City – 5 miles
  • Biscuit City to Shannock – 2.5 miles (portage Horseshoe Dam)
  • Shannonck to Richmond – 6 miles
  • Richmond to Burdickville – 5 miles
  • Camp at Burlingame
Day 3 (16 miles)
  • Burdickville to Bradford – 3 miles (portage Bradford Dam)
  • Bradford to Potter Hill – 7 miles (portage Potter Hill Dam)
  • Potter Hill to Westerly – 6 miles
There are no official campsites on the Wood River, but there are a couple of bootleg sites.  It looks like the best is about 2 miles down from the Route 165 on the left side of the river up a steep bank.  It is located where the river takes a sharp right turn just before it opens up and enters Frying Pan Pond.  You could do a three-day trip that includes the Wood River, but there are a lot of dams to portage.

Day 1 (2 miles)
  • Route 165 to bootleg site above Frying Pan Pond
  • Camp at bootleg site
Day 2 (17 miles)
  • Frying Pan Pond to Barberville – 2 miles (portage Barberville Dam)
  • Barberville to Wyoming – 3 miles (portage Wyoming Dam)
  • Wyoming to Switch Road – 1.5 miles (portage Hope Valley Mill Dam)
  • Switch Road to Woodville – 4.5 miles (portage Woodville Dam)
  • Woodville to Alton – 3 miles (portage Alton Dam)
  • Alton to Burdickville – 3 miles
  • Camp at Burlingame
Day 3 (16 miles)
  • Burdickville to Bradford – 3 miles (portage Bradford Dam)
  • Bradford to Potter Hill – 7 miles (portage Potter Hill Dam)
  • Potter Hill to Westerly – 6 miles
Overnight trips are easier.  I have put-in at Switch Road on the Wood River, camped at Burlingame (actually, we camped at the bushwhack site at the convergence of the Wood and Pawcatuck, but don’t tell anyone), and took out at Bradford – nice trip. You could put in at Shannock, camp at the Carolina Management Area or Burlingame, and continue down the Pawcatuck as far as you like. 

Lots of options – I’d like to do at least one overnight trip this summer.

Links:

3 comments:

  1. Hey man, love the blog. Im looking to get out this weekend for a simple over night. The burlingame site, with the rope swing, do you need to pay to get in there? Where would the most logical place to put in and take out putting the camp in the middle?

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  2. Put in at Alton or Richmond and take out at Bradford.

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  3. Long shot you see this but putting in at at switch road on the wood river and going to woodville road did you see any stealth camping spots for a solo person? Or possibly a little past the woodville road. Looking to do an over night trip but I need to paddle back to my car the next day. I have stayed at bootleg site you listed above frying pan pond but looking for other possible options. Thanks!

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