The Northeast Kingdom provides a variety of opportunities for recreational canoe and kayak paddling, ranging from secluded lakes with nesting loons to the upper region of the Connecticut River and its tributaries with beautiful mountain views and abundant wildlife.
Many of the lakes are relatively small and uninhabited, while others serve as vacation destinations with beaches, campgrounds, cabin rentals, seasonal camps and inns and hotels. Some of the lakes are within or bordered by state parks, state forests and wildlife management areas. Lake Memphremagog on the Canadian border, and Lake Willoughby in the heart of the Kingdom, are large enough to be dangerous for paddlers in rough weather conditions. Willoughby, framed by Mt. Pisgah and Mt. Hor, is the deepest lake (at about 320 feet) entirely enclosed within Vermont.
Regarding rivers, care should be taken to learn about them and possible put-ins and take-outs before paddling because some contain dams and ledges and gorges. Some Northeast Kingdom rivers and ponds form part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.
Below are listings of Northeast Kingdom lakes and rivers suitable for paddling.
- Great Hosmer Pond (155 acres) and Little Hosmer Pond (183 acres), Craftsbury and Albany: Sculling activity associated with the Craftsbury Outdoor Center can be expected on Great Hosmer Pond.
- Mollys Falls Pond (411 acres), Cabot.
- Lake Mephremagog’s South Bay (745 acres), Newport and Coventry:
- Norton Pond (583 acres), Norton and Warren Gore:
- Holland Pond (334 acres), Holland:
- Little Averill Pond (483 acres) and Great Averill Pond (812 acres), Averill and Norton.
- Maidstone Lake (796 acres), Maidstone.
- Echo Lake (550 acres), Charleston.
- Lake Groton (422 acres), Groton.
Lake Seymour (1,769 acres), Morgan.
Harvey’s Lake (350 acres), Barnet.
Joe’s Pond (393 acres), Danville.
Island Pond (626 acres), Brighton.
Lake Willoughby (1,687 acres), Westmore.
Newark Pond (153 acres), Newark.
Lake Parker (250 acres), Glover.
Salem Lake (764 acres), Derby.
Shadow Lake (218 acres), Concord.
Peacham Pond (340 acres), Peacham.
The Connecticut River, which separates Vermont and New Hampshire, forms the eastern boundary of the Northeast Kingdom. The river is New England’s longest, originating in a series of protected lakes along the Canadian border and flowing more than 400 miles south to Long Island Sound.
The Passumpsic River flows south in two branches – one from Westmore, the other from Newark – that join in Lyndonville and continue through St. Johnsbury to Barnet where the Passumpsic flows into the Connecticut River. The upper portion requires high water for paddling, but the lower section can be run under most conditions.
The Moose River flows southwest from the Victory Bog Wildlife Management Area east through Concord to St. Johnsbury where it joins the Passumpsic River. High water is recommended for paddling.
Three Northeast Kingdom rivers flow north into Lake Memphremagog on the Canadian border – the Clyde River, which originates in Brighton, the Barton River, which originates in Glover and the Black River, which originates in Craftsbury. Some sections require relatively high water for paddling.
The Nulhegan River flows east out of Brighton through the least-inhabited part of the Northeast Kingdom to the Connecticut River. It can be paddled in medium water.
Northern Forest Canoe Trail
It is comprised of a navigable chain of rivers and lakes that runs from Old Forge, N.Y., through Vermont, Quebec, Canada, and New Hampshire to Fort Kent, Me. The canoe trail’s Northeast Kingdom lakes and rivers are Lake Memphremagog, the Clyde River, Clyde Pond, Salem Lake, Charleston Pond, Pensioner Pond, Island Pond, Spectacle Pond, Nulhegan Pond, the Nulhegan River and the Connecticut River.