The classic, Upper CT River paddling trip! 50-70 miles of paddling on moving water with a variety of scenery, lightly used campsites, and no major portages or rapids to content with.
Day One: Put in in Canaan, Vermont (RM 372), at a town owned park below the bridge to West Stewartstown. There is ample parking here and an improved access. Journey through a broad pastoral valley marked by quickwater and Class I rapids past the Johnson Farm Wildlife Management Area on right right. Stop for lunch and a swim at Picnic Rock. 10 miles in, the river slows as you'll pass by Colebrook (RM 363) and Monadnock Mountain, a rugged site hike with rewarding views. Spend the night at Holbrook Point (11 miles in, RMN 362), a small campsite nestled beneath Silver Maples or Columbia Meadows (14 miles in), a more open site at the edge of a hayfield.
Day Two: The river is quickwater here - delightful after rains but scratchy at low water. It is an easy, 10 mile (3-4 hr) paddle to Lyman Falls (RM 351), one of the finest campsites along the Upper River. Scout/line this rapid on river left. Camp at the state park (no reservations needed) on river right, or the island on the NH side. Enjoy catch and release fishing at this well known angling destination.
Day Three: Enjoy four miles of quickwater to Bloomfield. Resupply at general stores located both in Bloomfield and North Stratford, easy walks from landings at the confluence of the Nulhegan (VT) or a park in North Stratford (RM 347). Below Bloomfield you'll be paddling part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. The river is fairly flat, with occasional quickwater, and is well away from roads. The river braids around islands here; in general, stay river right. Stop for lunch and a swim at the Maine Central Campsite (RM 341), before carrying on to the Samuel Benton Campsite (RM 334). This campsite, managed by the NFCT, is situated beneath trees at the edge of a large farm field, 17 miles below Lyman Falls, and is suitable for large groups.
Day Four: Paddle through the Maidstone Bends - a series of old oxbows and wide meanders, and on to Guildhall. For a shorter day (or lunch break), stop at the Scott Devlin Campsite (RM 324), a pleasant campsite in a stand of pines. One mile downstream is the breached Wyoming Dam (RM 323) - take out on river right above the bridge to stretch your legs, and portage or scout. Rebar from the old dam creates hazards at low water or for accidental swimmers, and at high water this is a short Class II rapid. It is possible to end a trip here - please park by the town offices. Those carrying on should consider camping at the South Guildhall Campsite (RM 317), with splendid views of the Whites, or the less primitive Beaver Trails Campground near Lancaster (RM 313), where you can also take-out to end the trip.
Day Five: Its a mellow, ten mile paddle on from the South Guildhall Campsite to the Mt Orne Covered Bridge Access (RM 307). For a longer day, one hour further is the John's River Ramp on river left (RM 304).
Tue, 05/30/2017 - 10:53
Sat, 01/06/2018 - 11:49
Suggested trip Canaan to Gilman
Question. River miles on CRP Trail map equals 70 miles (mile 38 to mile 108). The posted trip summary states ~ 55 miles? Please clarify.
We are planning 50 mi trip w/scouts.
Mon, 02/12/2018 - 09:42
Thanks for the catch. From Canaan to Gilman (Best take-out is the John's River ramp is approx 68 miles. For a shorter trip, consider taking out in Guildhall or Lancaster.
Mon, 01/18/2021 - 08:50
One rarely sees rafts along the Connecticut, mostly because the rapids don't warrant it, the water is slow behind the dams, and the portages would be annoying. But I suppose this section would be doable, it is mostly moving water and there aren't any portages (in a raft). There are certainly slow sections, like above Maidstone and above Colebrook, but if you don't mind rowing, it should be ok, I've never seen big issues with wind. Another option is to start a bit higher - the river upstream from Pittsburg has some of the best current. There is a bit of a portage around the Canaan dam, but you could always run that stretch without gear.