Escape the pavement and road traffic to find a slower, more peaceful pace, where eagles fly overhead and farm animals come to graze at the water’s edge. Enjoy the Connecticut River Byway from a kayak or canoe.
Length: 8 or 10 miles (4 or 5 hours including rest stops for a relative beginner)
Start: Begin your trip at the Canaan, Vermont access area. Just below the Route 114 bridge which connects Canaan to West Stewartstown, New Hampshire. There is a small public loop road between Power House Road and School Street.
On the waterway: This is the northern most stretch of the river with consistently navigable waters. The river alternates between swift and flat waters as it meanders through a series of agricultural valleys. “Lunch Rock,” a popular resting point, is located 3.5 miles into your paddle. The coordinates for this point are 44.963908°, -71.523175°.
Finish: You can end your trip in one of two places:
- Colebrook, NH Waypoint Center, GPS coordinates of 44.924354° and -71.509452° has car-top only access. The set-in can be found via a dirt road leading west of US 3 across from the Connecticut River Byway Waypoint Center. Please park well away from the boat ramp to leave room for those retrieving trailered boats.
- The Colebrook Bridge Access, GPS coordinates of 44.898737° and -71.507413°, can be accessed from Bridge Street in Colebrook, NH. Approximately 200 yards before the bridge to Vermont, turn left on Bill Bromage Drive. Park in the large parking lot on the right, near a Northern Forest Canoe Trail kiosk.
Along the River
Vermont’s Mount Monadnock on the western side of the river, local wildlife and pastures, photography and fishing. Tie up along the riverbank under a hanging tree to enjoy a serene picnic lunch or snack. Please note at the moment there are no river campsites or privies along the route.
- Do not depend upon a cell phone for emergency use; cell coverage is very unreliable.
- River banks may be slippery or knee deep with clay. Watch your footing!
- Carry a map of the river with you, and know the location of dams and other hazards. If you are unsure of conditions ahead, pull to shore and scout. Some breached dams must be portaged.
- While spring is a beautiful time to boat, currents are fast moving due to snow melt and spring rain.
- While canoeing/kayaking with others creates a safer experience, be sure to let someone know where and when you are planning to paddle should you go it alone.
- Be sure your vessel has a personal flotation device for each person on board. Better yet, wear it!!
- Always secure your canoe or kayak; don’t simply “beach” it. River flows are affected by operations at dams. Water levels can fluctuate several feet during the course of the day or night. See below for details about water flow.
- Don’t drink untreated river water. Bring your own water, or plan to filter or boil river water before use.
- To report boating safety concerns, contact the Marine Patrol toll free within NH: 877-642-9700, or outside NH call 603-293-2037.
Please be aware that the Connecticut River has several dams along its length which can significantly affect the flow of water on the river. There is no warning, other than the rise of the water level at shore, to indicate a dam has been opened. There are also several more difficult sections, including whitewater areas, along the river. For more information about local water flow rates, check out:
Waterline for the New England Region
or call TransCanada’s toll free hotline 1-800-452-1737 or talk to a local river outfitter. For more paddler safety tips, check see Paddler’s Safety Checklist
Where can I stop along the way and access facilities?
The number of in-river campsites available along the Connecticut River are expanding all the time. Campsites are good for both overnights as well as picnic sites and some have bathroom facilities. Please do not use private land for getting in or out of the water, or for rest areas. For more information about current campsites and access points, please refer to the resources updated by the Connecticut River Paddlers Trail and also the Upper Valley Land Trust for information in the White River Junction, Vermont and Hanover, New Hampshire areas.
Where can I rent equipment?
There are a variety of outfitters along the Connecticut River which have equipment to rent and more detailed information about local river conditions. Please check out the Connecticut River Paddlers Trail website and Northern Forest Canoe Trail website for more information.
Connecticut River Paddlers
Connecticut River Watershed Council
Connecticut River Watershed Council’s:
The Connecticut River Boating Guide Source to Sea, 3rd edition, 2007.
Northern Forest Canoe Trail
Vermont River Conservancy
Waterways of the Northeast Kingdom