New England's biggest river is four hundred miles of power and beauty - a special place to enjoy on your boat. Here's how and where. When you go,

  • understand the boating speed laws
  • help prevent bank erosion
  • respect the rights of riverfront landowners
  • help keep pests out of the watershed
  • watch for changes in water level
  • learn about boating safety, and
  • wear personal flotation devices.
The maps that follow show access sites and areas of the Connecticut River from the Canadian border to Massachusetts, keyed to width and allowable boat speed.

Boats may travel above headway speed, slowing for other boats, swimmers, bridge abutments or islands in the river.

Use caution! The river may be too narrow under some conditions to travel above headway speed, and/or major depth hazards exist.

Headway speed only; the river is too narrow for faster travel under law.

Access for cartop boats

Access for trailered boats

Our popular free boating guide is presently out of print; please see individual web pages for links to high quality, updated maps from this guide for download.
No depth maps are available for the Connecticut River. Depth varies widely, and is constantly changing on this dynamic river that is also managed for hydro power production.

For information on the river in Massachusetts and Connecticut, contact the Connecticut River Watershed Council.

Map 1 ~ The Connecticut Lakes

Map 2 ~ The North Country

Map 3 ~ Moore Reservoir

Map 4 ~ Lower Fifteen Mile Falls

Map 5 ~ Woodsville/Wells River

Map 6 ~ Orford/Fairlee

Map 7 ~ Lyme/Thetford

Map 8 ~ Upper Valley

Map 9 ~ In the Shadow of Mt. Ascutney

Map 10 ~ Weathersfield Bow Region

Map 11 ~ Bellows Falls Pool

Map 12 ~ Westminster/Westmoreland

Map 13 ~Mt. Wantastiquet Region


Map 1 ~ The Connecticut Lakes

Printer friendly map.

Welcome to the Headwaters region of the Connecticut River. Over 400 miles from the sea, the river is wild and cold, with trout to match. The Connecticut rises in tiny Fourth Lake, accessible by a footpath along the US/Canadian border and then through protected land. Which of several outlets actually becomes the river depends on the mood of resident beaver. Third, Second, and First Connecticut Lakes are next in the chain, offering fine, deep habitat for a renowned fishery that includes landlocked salmon and lake trout. A stiff breeze can raise a strong chop, so be careful if you are canoeing on a windy day.

The infant river is too small for navigation between the upper lakes. Watch the roadside wallows on your travels along Route 3, known as Moose Alley.

Enjoy the Common Loons, which nest throughout the region, from a distance. Get too close, and you could disturb the adults or threaten their young. If a loon starts to repeatedly dip its bill, splash in the water, or flash its white belly in your direction, back off. Artificial nesting islands set up on some of the lakes help loons raise their chicks away from nest predators and secure from water level changes. Keep your wake low near these structures, and respect warning buoys. Lead sinkers have been banned in NH to protect waterfowl like loons, which suffer from lead poisoning after ingesting them. Loons need their privacy, but aren’t shy about contributing to the night music of the lakes. To learn more about loons, contact the Audubon Society of NH’s Loon Preservation Committee at 603-476-5666.

Click here for printer friendly map of this region

The four Connecticut Lakes are natural impoundments along the river, although hydro dams have raised the levels of First and Second Lakes. Lake Francis was created in the 1940s to provide flood control. The three-mile stretch of river between First Lake and Lake Francis is expert canoeing and kayaking water only. Be aware of water releases from the dams. Thanks to a 1998 agreement with the hydro power company, some 3000 acres surrounding the lakes will be permanently protected from development and will continue to provide the beautiful backdrop you see today.

These pristine lakes deserve the utmost respect from boaters. If you have brought your boat from out of state, wash it carefully to avoid introducing aquatic exotics to the river system. For more information, see introduction.

Marine Patrol: Toll Free in NH (1-877-642-9700) or 603-293-2037. For the safety of all, please call if you observe illegal or dangerous boating activity.

Information on current and projected flows at Connecticut River mainstem dams is available through TransCanada Hydro Northeast.

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