In 2012, the entire 410-mile length of the Connecticut River was named America's first National Blueway by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Efforts over the decadesmost notably by Riverfront Recapturehave led the flowing past Hartford to be cleaner and more user-friendly than it had been for many years.
South of downtown, the Riverwalk continues to Charter Oak Landing, its southern terminus on the western bank. While the path is not as groomed nor picturesque as its northern counterpart, it has a paved pathway that is accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists.
Where the Park Rver spills out into the Connecticut River, folks are often found fishing for northern pike, catfish, white perch, carp, blue gill and river bass. Several adventurous souls have made the two-mile underground trek along the Park River from where the culvert begins in Frog Hollow. Read of one account here.
At Charter Oak Landing, seasonal excursions by boat can be found for a fee. There is also a boat launch, picnic tables, a playground and a performance facilitiy. Stairway access to the Charter Oak bridge is available and there is a walkway across the bridge with the ability to reach the continuation of Riverwalk on the East Hartford side.
Beyond Charter Oak Landing, the river is virtually inaccessible due to security around Brainard Airport plus the location of the Metropolitan Water District's water pollution control plant and the Connecticut Light & Power Plant (which began in the riverfront location as the Hartford Electric Light Company, or HELCO).
This is good news for wildlife as the riverbank along this stretch is left in its natural state.
This section of the riverfront is very navigable by small watercraft and, aside from the boat cruises that leave Charter Oak Landing, it is common to see motorboats, canoes, kayaks and rowboats along the stretch.
Mouse over any thumbnail below for a larger view.