About the Trail: The Connecticut River Paddlers Trail is a series of primitive campsites and river access points spanning 400 miles of the Connecticut River from its headwaters at the US/ Canadian border to its terminus at the Long Island Sound. Mostly meandering, but at times rushing forcefully, the Connecticut River flows past a diverse landscape of rich agricultural lands, rural communities, urban centers, and tidal marshes. With its consistently navigable waters, few portages or difficult rapids, a rich cultural history and a varied natural landscape, the Connecticut River provides a unique opportunity to paddle through the heart of New England. Traveling through four New England states (NH, VT, MA, and CT) the Connecticut River offers endless exploration opportunities for any paddler that comes along! Visit connecticutriverpaddlerstrail.org for more info and to plan your adventure! To purchase a CT River map, guidebook or smartphone app visit the CRC store!
Paddlers Trail History: 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, a rich cultural history and a varied natural landscape, the Connecticut River provides a unique opportunity to paddle through the heart of New England. 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, over twenty other groups have joined together to develop additional campsites and completed access improvement projects. In 2012, through the leadership of the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Connecticut River Conservancy, the Silvio Conte Fish and Wildlife Refuge, and the Trust for Public Land, an initiative to expand the trail south into Massachusetts and Connecticut was launched. The primary goal of this expanded effort was to close the gaps in primitive campsite availability from source to sea. While most of the river shore is privately owned, several generous landowners have agreed to host the public at primitive campsites on their land. As a result, the river provides one of the northeast’s best options for multi- day paddling trips, with over 50 camping destinations and over 150 access points.
About the Partners: No single entity manages the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail. Instead, the trail is managed as a collaborative effort of partner organizations and community members who aid in trail planning and development, building and maintaining campsites, improving access points and portage trails, and disseminating information to visitors. Trail efforts are coordinated by a 7 person CRPT Executive Committee composed of members that represent state agencies, non-profit partners, and the general public. For a full list of trail partners visit connecticutriverpaddlerstrail.org. CRC currently acts as fiscal sponsor of the Trail.
Traveling Through Indigenous Land: As paddlers travel along the Connecticut River, they move through land that has been occupied and stewarded by indigenous people for thousands of years. The word Connecticut, as the southernmost state in the watershed is currently called, is alternatively spelled Quinnehtukut or “place of the long river.” Historically, the Abenaki, or “people of the dawn lands,” occupied the northern two thirds of the watershed from Canada into northern MA, while the Pequot occupied what is now the state of CT. The Nipmuc, or “fresh water people,” lived in numerous band encampments near bodies of fresh water in a territory that extended from the present-day Vermont and New Hampshire borders, through MA and into northern CT. The Native Americans of MA – the Pocumtuck, Norwottuck, and Agawam – were a mixed group of Abenaki, Pequot, and Nipmuc. Thousands of people in the Connecticut River Valley are of indigenous heritage and continue to live in parts of VT, NH, MA and CT where their ancestors have lived for over 10,000 years.
Are YOU interested in taking this epic journey? Visit the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail to plan your trip and visit the CRC store if you need to get a copy of the NH/VT Paddlers’ Trail map, our Boating Guide or other resources!
Have you ALREADY completed this journey? If so, congratulations! Visit the Paddlers’ Recognition page to be recognized for your hard work and share your story.