The stream headwaters arise at  at an elevation of 305 ft (93 m). The stream flows to the southwest and enters the Connecticut River just northwest of East Hartford at Coordinates: and an elevation of 7 ft (2.1 m).
The name is derived from the Algonquin words pod for low and unk for beyond or "the low land beyond" or along the Connecticut and its tributary the Podunk River where they farmed the fertile soil along the streams.
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Podunk River
- Hartford North CT, 7.5 Minute Topographic Quadrangle, USGS, 1964 (1992 rev.)
- Manchester, CT, 7.5 Minute Topographic Quadrangle, USGS, 1963 (1992 rev.)
- Jim Shea, Proud to be Podunk, The Hartford Courant, January 22, 2007