East Rock Park - Kayaking at Mill River

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Summary

Mills River, at East Rock Park, is great for the advanced enthusiast that loves to wake up early on weekends and catch a great ride down the river path. Mill River is great for the child who has just found his love for Kayaking, and is ready to make his first paddle movements on the stream.

Written by

Stephanie Chang

Distance

3.0 miles

It takes about 3 miles to complete the round trip on Mill River. The best launching site is at Orange Street Bridge and it is from here you head downstream. Mill River is best for beginners and advanced paddle boat users. However, it is important to acknowledge that with current change and weather change maneuvering downstream or upstream of the river can have its obstacles.

Destination Distance From Downtown

1.6 miles

Difficulty

3 of 5 diamonds

The difficult rating at Mill River on East Rock Park is 2 stars because of water changes every hour. Even though paddling on Mill River is easy and manageable, there is current that pushes against you and cause the journey upstream to be challenging. It is advisable to understand because of the changing currents the journey upstream will take you longer to complete. All those in paddle boats such as, Canoes and Kayaks, must be aware of the danger zone that is downstream from the launching site at Orange Street Bridge located right at the tide gate.

Time To Complete

1 hours

Kayaking on Mill River takes about an hour to complete for several reasons. The water levels of Mill River changes within every hour and the currents might make it a little bit more challenging to paddle upstream. Mill River is great for both beginners and advance paddle boat users.

Seasonality

All Seasons

The best experience on Mill River is the Spring, Summer, and Fall. In the spring you experience a variety of different views from blossoming wildlife to different species of birds. In the Summer the lake is the best escape from warm days, even though swimming is prohibited, one can enjoy the breeze from Mill River. The fall is where beautiful colors of leaves merge with the grayish blue water, its a site worth admiring.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

East Rock Park is a dog friendly, however, each dog must be on a leash at all times. Owners are responsible for removing the solid waste their pet might leave behind.

Fees Permits

No

There are no fees for using Mill River throughout the year. All paddle boat users must provided their own equipment and safety gear. The city of New Haven Park and Recreation does provide a tour and lessons through a community project called Outdoor Adventure. There are rental fees for Kayaks that range for a single $5 dollars, $10 dollars for a double, and for a triple $15 dollars for New haven residents, for non residents the prices increase.

Land Website

cityofnewhaven.com

Review

Intro

There is always a mixed sense of calm, and a rush of adventure when untying my green Eddyline Sky Kayak from the top of my car. It is like the challenging waters that push against your paddle on a shift current change. You think of all the possibilities that getting in the water might bring.

The willow trees surrounding Mill River at East Rock Park, New Haven, CT, rustle in the wind. Shaking their long branches as if say, “welcome.” As you push yourself into the water the sound of nature becomes your built in radio. With each paddle down stream, the chirping of birds, the splash of the board, the wind shifting, create a harmonious tune that allow you to not fear what is ahead, but rather head straight towards it.

And you are glad that you do. For the dark green water glistens from the sun and the Orange Street Bridge becomes smaller in your background. It is here that you leave behind the urban city and enter into your nature wonderland, enjoying the view of what seems like an abundant row of never ending trees leading you to Lake Whitney.

                                             

What Makes It Great

There are several things that make Mill River at East Rock Park a great location for both residents and visitors. Its location in itself gains the praise of most locals in Connecticut. It is a seven-minute drive away from downtown New Haven. It is an adventurous natural escape that can be accessed in a short amount of time. But beyond its location within a rather popular city, it is also known for its geographical water placement.

Mill River is a great location for beginners and advanced Paddleboard users because it is calm waters throughout your journey either upstream or downstream. However, this is not to imply that the waters are anything but challenging. At different hours of the day the water levels change and the current adds a certain push against your kayaks or other Paddleboard boats. This can make the journey upstream more difficult and time consuming.

 But this challenge is what makes Mill River great. It is this unexpected environment and changing expectations that make Mill River adventurous and fun to explore.

Another great resource available at Mill River is a Ranger Station that allows you to be able to rent either a Kayak or Canoe for a couple hours. The New Haven Parks and Recreation offers tours and classes for those who are either beginning to learn, or would like to learn canoeing or Kayaking.

But this challenge is what makes Mill River great. It is this unexpected environment and changing expectations that make Mill River adventurous and fun to explore.

Another great resource available at Mill River is a Ranger Station that allows you to be able to rent either a Kayak or Canoe for a couple hours. The New Haven Parks and Recreation offers tours and classes for those who are either beginning to learn, or would like to learn canoeing or Kayaking. Most of the classes take place at the start of the launching below the Orange Street Bridge.

Kayaking at Mill River allows you to admire the wildlife that is offered year-round and in the waters. Birds from black-crowned and the green-backed herons can be seen during different seasons such as, spring or fall.  If this is something that interests you than the migration of 20 species during the spring known as the Spring Warbler will be something that can be enjoyed and will be able to brag about with your fellow friends, family, and co-workers.

Who is Going to Love It

Mills River at East Rock Park is great for the advanced enthusiast that loves to wake up early on weekends and catch the early rising above the river path. Mill River is great for the child who has just found his love for Kayaking, and is ready to make his first paddle movements on the stream. But in short, Mill River is for those of us who want to escape the city life, the stuffy office, or the noisy sounds of traffic, but who don’t want to sacrifice and drive hours away. Mill River is for everyday people who want to immerse themselves in the water and love every moment of it because it is easy and fun to do.



Directions, Parking, & Regulations

There are many ways to access Mill River. The best option is through the launching site located on the bottom of Orange Street Bridge. There is no swimming within Mill River or operating Paddleboard boat under the influence for all alcohol beverages are prohibited throughout the park. The Outdoor Adventure is a great way to learn and begin using a Paddleboard boat onto Mill River. It is a great resource provided by the New Haven Parks and Recreation and is open to children, youth, and adults.  

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Location

East Rock Park

Cold Spring and Orange St
New Haven, CT, 06519
41.328882, -72.90619

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