paddling and kayaking in VT

Grab your oars, strap on your life jacket, and explore the Northeast Kingdom's vast network of waterways.

Explore NEK’s vast network of rivers and ponds, perfect for kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and bird watching. From multi-day trips across Vermont’s rivers to quaint half-day adventures on hidden ponds, the Northeast Kingdom has no shortage of opportunities for all ages and skill levels. Boaters, anglers, water trekkers, birdwatchers, and loon enthusiasts, we’ve got you covered!


Passumpsic River – West Burke and East Haven to East Barnet, VT

The Passumpsic River is 34 miles flowing from West Burke and East Haven in the north to East Barnet in the south. The Passumpsic River Paddler’s Guide includes maps of fishing, boat, and tubbing access points along the river starting on page 20.

Moose River – Victory to St. Johnsbury, VT

A challenging 18 mile journey from Victory Bog to Passumpsic River featuring a class I-IV section of whitewater. If you’re taking your time, pack your camping gear for an overnight.

Clyde River – Brighton to Newport, VT

An excellent paddle for all skill levels and ages, ranging from 5.5 to 16 mile paddle trips. Clyde River Recreation offers guided paddle trips, canoe, kayak, and paddle board rentals, as well as shuttle services.


Eligo Lake – Greensboro and Craftsboro, VT

Located between Craftsboro and Hardwick, Eligo Lake (182 acres) is a spring-fed lake perfect for swimming, boating, and water sports. Rent out the island cabin for a night, and take advantage of its complementary motor boat.

Hardwick Lake – Hardwick, VT

Situated at the northeast end of the Hardwick Trails, Hardwick Lake (197 acres) is a great spot for both hiking and paddling. If you’re feeling adventurous check out the ruined foundation, a spooky reminder of days past when villagers afflicted with smallpox, typhoid, or any number of contagious diseases were sent to a “Pest House” to avoid infecting others.

Capsian Lake – Greensboro, VT

Besides being famous for its quiet serenity and solitude, Caspian Lake (789 acres) is great for outdoor activities and even listening to music. Every Sunday evening in the summer, a long-standing tradition brings residents and visitors to their boats, docks, decks, and porches along the shoreline to hear the classical music concert played from the Landon Lake House. For the angler at heart, Caspian Lake brings fishermen seeking lake trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, and landlocked salmon.

Great Hosmer Pond – Craftsbury, VT

Though Great Hosmer Pond (150 acres) is small, it is home to an abundance of wildlife including many warmwater fish including Yellow Perch, Chain Pickerel, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Bullheads, among others. For boaters and anglers, the lake is accessible via the Gordon (PeeWee) Wing Access area at the southeastern end of the lake.


Northern Forest Canoe Trail

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a 740-mile water trail from Old Forge, New York to Fort Kent, Maine following traditional travel routes used by Native Americans, settlers, and guides. Vermont and Quebec host 174 miles touching the Clyde and Nulhegan Rivers.

Black RiverIrasburg to Newport, VT

Black River Reach 1 (Irasburg to Coventry) offers a lovely look at farmland and forest, along with a charming covered bridge. This paddle is best undertaken in moderate to high water and challenging at the portage around Little Falls. Black River Reach 2 (Coventry to Newport) features almost entirely flatwater with no rapids, making it ideal for beginner paddlers. Each reach can be completed in half a day.

Lakehopper – Norton, Averill, and Westmore, VT

A tour of the four best places to paddle in the Northeast Kingdom, including Norton Pond, the Averills, and Lake Willoughby.

Lower Barton RiverNewport, VT

An easy paddle that lends itself well to an out-and-back. If shuttling cars, Coventry Station Access offers an ideal put-in for a one-way (7.7 mile) paddle to South Bay Access on Lake Memphremagog in Newport. Along the way, enjoy views of the South Bay Wildlife Management Area, home to great blue herons, turtles, and many other creatures.

Missisquoi RiverWestfield, VT

This half day paddle (Rabion Farm to Lane Road) through the headwaters of the Missisquoi River takes you through beautiful mixed forests and lush open fields with great views of the northern Green Mountains. Quick water section and a short class II rapid provide some excitement, but remain within reach of beginner paddlers.