Beginning in cold springs high in the Great
North Woods, the Connecticut
River quickly gathers volume and takes on multiple
personalities. It turns sedately through vast pools
and lazy eddies, then dashes down between boulders.
Canoeists and kayakers can choose either swift,
challenging water, or a quiet, flatwater paddle.
Paddling is a popular, inexpensive, and easy way to
enjoy this American Heritage River.
conditions on the Upper
- Be aware of changing water levels:
The Connecticut River's flow - and depth -
can change daily, and even hourly. Be alert!
Beach your craft high above the water line when
camping at night, and tie it up. Don't get
stranded or caught off guard. TransCanada
information on current and forecasted flows
below its dams, with instructions on the phone
number to call for the details at each dam.
- Plan on extra time if you encounter a
headwind: a brisk south wind isn't unusual,
and can blow you upstream as fast as the current
brings you down, particularly in flatwater and
- Riverbanks are prone to
erosion: avoid climbing on exposed or
steep banks or disturbing plants -they help hold
the bank in place. Launch your kayak or canoe at
a stable access.
- Pay attention to portages, especially
Falls, the breached
Wyoming Dam, and Sumner
the rights of riverfront
- use public
access sites to launch your craft
- use designated
campsites - access to these first-come-first
served sites is from the water only (please do
not attempt to reach a campsite by crossing
private land, or use a private site; sites open
to the public are clearly marked)
- carry out all of your trash
- respect fences, crops, and private
- treat the riverbank with care
- extinguish campfires thoroughly
- ask permission before crossing private
More riverfront landowners are driven to post
their land every year, frustrated by the damage
done by recreationists who use their property
without permission. Most landowners are glad to
have you enjoy their property. Be a good guest.
of the Upper River: Connecticut Lakes to the
Paddlers' links for the
River Primitive Canoe Campsites (from McIndoe
Falls, Monroe NH to the Massachusetts border)
Forest Canoe Trail (and North Country
College's Ledyard Canoe Club
Boston Canoe Chapter
Vermont Outdoor Guide