Connecticut River - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip
St. Johnsbury , VT, USA
Submitted by: pkm
The Commerford Reservior is created by two dams, the Moore to the north and the Commerford to the south. There are a couple of good put-ins on both sides of the river. My preference is the Recreation area put in near the Waterford/Barnet town line northeast of the Commerford (ref page 42 of the Delorme Vermont Gazetteer). The other options are the put in just below Moore under I93.
The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont is a special place and the paddling is very good and plentiful. The Commerford is a good paddle for both novice and expert the distance is what you make it. Paddle for an hour or a day. We have seen Bald Eagles and other predatory birds along this historic section of the river.
Before the dams the log drives busted through this once treacherous section of the CT every spring. The final destinations were as far south as the Long Island Sound. Now it is a peaceful tame reservoir. For a good history of the log drives and the men that made the trip read "Tall Trees Tough Men" or "Spiked Boots" both by Bob Pike.
The round trip distance to Moore is around 15 miles. There are plenty of sandy 'beaches' to pull up on and swim or stretch. The water is somewhat protected from the wind, or at least more so that the Moore. The power boat traffic is light.
At the recreation area put-in, there are tables and grills available for a picnic meal after a good paddle. The area is provided through the courtesy of the power company that owns the dam and they have done a fine job of providing the local area with a good resource.
There are chain hotels available in St. Johnsbury and Littleton. There are plenty of excellent local restaurants. On the weekends in Lyndonville VT the Trout River Brewery serves some of the best pizza on the planet with a good selection of hand crafted brews. Every general store in the Barnet, Danville and Waterford area believes they make the best grinder anywhere. I like them all but I am partial to Marty's in Danville.
From Rte 5 in East Barnet cross the Passumpsic River traveling north on Waterford Road just past the entrance to the dam on the right you will see the recreation area.
From Lower Waterford on Rte 18 turn south at the Rabbit Hill Inn and drive for 5-6 miles to the Recreation area on your left. Contrary to popular belief in Vermont you can get there from where ever you are. There aren't a lot of road signs but if you are on the one road between East Barnet and Lower Waterford you are all set. The Interstate exit for East Barnet is 18 off of I91 and for Lower Waterford and VT18 try Exit 44 by the Moore Dam.
The put-in is used to launch all type of craft, please be courteous of others utilizing the ramp and park only in the designated areas.
Resources: Quiet Water New Hampshire/Vermont: Canoe and Kayak Guide
Delorme Gazetteer (Vermont)
Any book by the late Bob Pike.
All of these are available at the Village book Store in Littleton NH.
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