From the swift waters of the Lemon Fair river to the deep waters of Lake Dunmore, the region is full of opportunities for water recreation via canoe. Don’t forget to bring your sense of adventure, for you can spend hours exploring the islands and coves of Lake Champlain or the twists and turns of Otter Creek.
This is the longest river in Vermont and one of the few rivers in New England that flows northward for its entire length. It is possible to canoe 80 miles of Otter Creek, from South Wallingford all the way to rivers-end at Lake Champlain. The scenery is of rural Vermont, with good views of the Green Mountains.
Cornwall to Middlebury
Length: 11 miles
This is a favorite trip encompassing both flatwater and quickwater. Beautiful views abound of farming country and mountains. This route also passes under the Station Bridge, a 136 foot Towne Lattice covered bridge built in 1836.
Directions: Take Route. 30 South approximately 10 miles to Whiting. Take left onto Leicester Rd. Put in at Leicester Junction. Other car can be left at termination of South Street with junction of Morse Road in Middlebury. Put in at the bridge at the Leicester Junction and take out at the Threemile Bridge.
Weybridge to Vergennes.
Length: 11 miles
After putting in on the left about 1/2 mile downstream from the dam in Weybridge, this trip offers pleasant flatwater and quickwater paddling in a rural setting. The take out is above the dam in Vergennes on the right.
Directions: Take Route 23 (Weybridge Road) about 3 miles, turn right onto Village Road and proceed another 3 miles to put in at Weybridge Dam. Other car can be taken to the take out point by continuing on Village Road until it turns into Quaker-Village Road and then Hallock Road after crossing Route 17. Continue on Hallock Road into Vergennes, taking a left on Main Street and parking at the No. 9 Dam.
Vergennes to Lake Champlain
Length: 9 miles
The only problem with this canoe trip is that the river is navigable for larger boats in this area so waves can be a problem at times. This is offset by the beautiful views from the mouth of the river. It is enjoyable to paddle south along the shoreline of the lake past Basin Harbor to Button Bay from the mouth of Otter Creek, especially on calmer days. The lake is narrower here, making the peaks of the Adirondacks seem close. This side trip will add five miles to the adventure but it will be well worth it. It is also possible to camp out on several of Lake Champlain’s islands, as some are equipped with picnic tables and fire pits.
Directions: Follow the directions the No. 9 Dam above in Vergennes where the put in is located. Take out at the Fort Cassin Fishing Access in Lake Champlain. To arrive here by car, turn left off of Main Street onto Sand Road. Continue on Sand Road for 5 miles, turning left towards Fort Cassin Point.
Lemon Fair River
A wonderful little river for wildlife lovers. You can put in at West Cornwall and paddle the river to its confluence with Otter Creek, a trip of about 12 miles, and then on for another 18 miles to Lake Champlain. The river bottom is clay, making for a rich, turgid flow. You can count on seeing many turtles, birds, animals, and jumping fish. This is one river where you’ll really appreciate the stealthy quiet of your canoe.
Route. 74 bridge to Otter Creek
Length: 12 miles
This is an easy paddle through farming country. It should not be hard to spot many aquatic birds and animals.
Directions: Take Route 30 south, turning right onto Route 74 west and proceeding just over 3 miles to put in spot at bridge just west of West Cornwall at junction of Route 74 and the Lemon Fair. Take out is where the river joins Otter Creek, approximately 5 miles on Route. 23 (Weybridge Road) just before intersection with Thompson Hill Road.
And here’s a cheer to the night that’s gone
And may I go a roaming on
–until the day I die
-On a grave marker in the Adirondacks