The Best Paddling Along Route 100 in Northern Vermont

August 19, 2020


Paddle your way through Vermont’s majestic mountain views, breathe in the fresh air and cool off from the summer heat in the Stowe area’s many waterways. Whether you’re kayaking, canoeing or stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), the northern Vermont Route 100 region offers flowing rivers, quaint lakes and scenic reservoirs for paddlers of all experience levels. Paddling is not only a fun summer activity itself, but is also enjoyed while fishing and leaf peeping in the fall season as Route 100 was named one of “15 Incredible Spots to See Fall Foliage Across New England” by Town and Country Magazine. Read more about the Vermont paddling gems the Stowe, Waterbury and the Mad River Valley areas each have to offer.

Stowe Area

Paddling in the Stowe area is a memorable adventure with excellent options nearby. Shop for or rent assorted paddlecraft in Stowe, and follow a certified local guide who can instruct your paddle stroke and show you the hidden gem. There are river trips for everyone from beginners to seasoned experts. The nearby Lamoille and Winooski rivers wind through farms and forested countryside. The Waterbury Reservoir can be accessed several ways including Cotton Brook in Stowe. Beautiful Lake Elmore, about 20 minutes north of Stowe, also has beach access and campgrounds nearby. Even further north, the pristine and undeveloped Green River Reservoir is another picturesque spot in the area. These areas are perfect for swimming and fishing.


With “Water” in its name, here are many ways to experience the water in Waterbury. Whether you’re interested in cruising around on a motorboat or paddling around in your canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddle board, you can do it all at the Waterbury Reservoir! The reservoir was created by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and surrounds a 90-acre peninsula, on which the Waterbury Center State Park is located. Along another side of the reservoir sits the Little River State Park with hiking and mountain biking trail access for those who like dual adventures in a day. Both parks have launches for motorboats and paddlers to enter the water. Waterbury Center State Park also offers lessons and rentals for canoes, kayaks and SUPs through Umiak Outdoor Outfitters’ waterfront operation.

Mad River Valley

In the Mad River Valley, paddle through the mountains, under covered bridges and by pass swimming holes. This area gets its name from the Mad River that flows through the area towns. The Mad River allows for 36 miles of scenic kayaking and canoeing experience through the small towns and villages that make up the valley. For those interested in flat water paddling, Blueberry Lake is a spot where visitors can stand-up paddleboard, kayak and canoe with a beautiful mountain backdrop.

Learn about the best of Route 100 in Vermont with more paddling in Stowe, Waterbury and the Mad River Valley. For information on Stowe paddling, paddle rentals and guided tours, visit our Stowe paddling information page

Images courtesy of: Umiak Outdoor Outfitters/@tyke_dm, Go Stowe