New England's longest waterway, the Connecticut River, provides over four hundred miles of canoe and kayak exploration. With its consistently navigable waters, few portages or difficult rapids, and a rich and varied landscape, the Connecticut River provides a unique opportunity to paddle through the heart of New England.
The Connecticut River Paddlers' Trail is a series of primitive campsites and river access points spanning from the river's headwaters south to Long Island Sound. While most of the river shore is privately owned, a number of generous landowners have agreed to host the public at primitive campsites on their land.
In the early 1990s, the Upper Valley Land Trust was instrumental in establishing formal river campsites in Vermont and New Hampshire. Since their initial effort, many others have developed additional campsites and completed access improvement projects throughout the watershed. The Friends of the Connecticut River Paddlers' Trail, a collaborative of partner organizations and community members formed in 2009 to work together in trail planning and development, building and maintaining campsites, improving access points and portage trails, and disseminating information to visitors.
In 2012, through the leadership of the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Trust For Public Land, and the Silvio Conte Fish and Wildlife Refuge, an initiative to expand the trail south into Massachusetts and Connecticut was launched. The primary goal was to close the gaps in primitive campsite availability in MA and CT. The work to steward and expand the trail continues through this collaborative, which is now coordinated by a 7 person CRPT Executive Committee in partnership with members that represent state agencies, non-profit partners, and the general public.
If you'd like to support this work, join the Friends of the Paddlers' Trail today!
Purchase the official Map and Guide (VT and NH), and visit the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail website to learn more! In 2021 a new smartphone app and guide was released for the Paddlers’ Trail in partnership with FarOut Guides. Look for FarOut Guides in the app store of visit the web application here.
The future of the Paddlers’ Trail depends on good river etiquette and campsite stewardship. While most of the river shore is privately-owned, a number of generous landowners have agreed to host the public at primitive campsites on their land. Before heading out on the water, please review the trail’s paddler etiquette guidelines posted on the website and at many of the campsites. If you witness users disrespectful of these guidelines, please contact the appropriate site steward. Thank you!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
In 2021 the CRPT Executive Committee released a Paddlers’ Trail Smartphone guide and guide in partnership with FarOut Guides. It can be found in the App store, or by visiting the FarOut Webstore.
How big are the campsites? How many people can stay at the campsites?
Generally, the maximum group size at a river campsite is twelve people or 3 tents. However, many campsites are only suited for smaller groups. Check the list of campsites as you plan your trip. Please limit your stay to no more than two nights per site. If the campsite is full and you must find another place to camp for the night, request permission from the landowner. Parties of 10 or less will avoid special use permit requirements from the State of VT.
Is the trail complete?
No. Currently there are still a few gaps in the trail, the largest being an 27 mile gap in campsites between Longmeadow, MA, and Cromwell, Connecticut. Trail partners are working to develop new campsites to close this gap. Help support this effort!
Work to steward and expand the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail is coordinated in partnership by a seven person CRPT Executive Committee with members that represent state agencies, non-profit partners, and the general public. Visit the Connecticut River Paddlers' Trail for more information or reach out to the Vermont River Conservancy for stewardship questions and the Connecticut River Conservamcy for general inquiries, map orders or app questions using the contact information below.
Connecticut River access points within the states of VT and NH are depicted on Trail Finder's interactive map; access points have parking available.
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