UVLT River Access, Picnic Areas, and Campsites
Since 1992, the Upper Valley Land Trust has managed a series of primitive canoe campsites along the Connecticut River. Many of these campsites are made possible by private landowners and are maintained by volunteers for the enjoyment of the public. Please follow the guidelines at right.
We also ensure public access to a small picnic area off of the Mascoma River near Hardy Road in Enfield, which is only accessible from the river and which is managed by the Enfield Conservation Commission. A sign on the river welcomes boaters to the spot.
You can find an overview of our Connecticut River campsites and boat launches on the map below. For information about a specific site, scroll down and toggle the site name: a description and information will drop down from a menu.
Knoxland Farm Cartop Boat Launch – Newbury, VT – River Mile 260
Overnight camping is not allowed at this site.
Knoxland Farm provides a public boat launch site for muscle powered cartop boats such as canoes and kayaks. Please note that when we say “muscle-powered,” we mean it! While this is a great place to leave your car as you start a paddle, the actual access to the river is very steep and may not be suitable for all. Taking out is particularly difficult.
The surrounding 280 acres of farmland has a historic round barn and currently operates as a dairy farm. The fields around the farm buildings are used to grow forage (livestock food) so it is important to minimize any damage to these crops when you are looking for the launch site. Please park in the designated parking area located back at the edge of the farmstead.
Directions: From the Town of Newbury continue north on Route 5 for approximately 4 miles. Turn right onto Round Barn Road (formerly Leete Rd.) and continue to the farmstead where you will see a cartop boat launch directional sign. Turn right at the “T” and you should see a sign at the field edge for the designated parking area. This is where all vehicles should be left after launching your cartop boats. To launch a boat continue past this parking location and over a concrete pad, turn right onto the farm road which travels through the field. Looking to the left, keep your eyes open while driving along this road for a boat launch sign located near the top of the river bank. There is often irrigation pump equipment at this same spot. Drive to the sign taking care to minimize any crop damage (use the same route previous visitors have used), prepare your boat for launching, and return your vehicle to the parking area before heading out on the river.
Howard Island Campsite – Haverhill, NH – River Mile 260
Capacity: okay for large groups.
Amenities: cleared tent site, box privy, fire ring.
Directions: In Haverhill, about 2 miles below the Woodsville Bridge. Approximately 1 mile past the bridge, the river bends left as the main channel passes to the left of an island. The river bends right ½ mile later, just before reaching Howard Island on the left. The northern campsite is located at the northwest end of this island with access on a moderately-sloped cobblestone bank. Look for exposed gravel bars just below an open hayfield, marked with yellow campsite signs. The southern campsite is at the southwestern corner of the island. Look for the backwater section that flows slowly around the southern edge of the island. A dark sandbar provides access to the campsite, just upslope in the silver maples.
Campsite Maintenance: Campsite is maintained by UVLT staff and volunteers.
Harkdale Farm Campsite – Newbury, VT – River Mile 254
Capacity: 12 campers
Amenities: cleared tent site, box privy, fire ring, picnic table.
Directions:This campsite is on the Vermont side of the river between North Haverhill and Newbury and is located on the second large river meander (oxbow) downstream of Howard Island. At the beginning of this second meander, the river takes a sharp turn to the east, producing a large sandbar on the NH bank. A quarter mile downstream there is a high sand cut bank on the NH side. The bank dwindles away as it meets a small brook which flows into the Connecticut There is also a small landslide where trees have fallen into this section of the river. The Harkdale campsite is located directly across from this brook on the VT side of the river, amongst the large willows and silver maples. In low water conditions you’ll see the campsite sign at the edge of the brush above a large sandy beach.
Campsite Maintenance: Campsite is maintained by UVLT staff and volunteers.
Vaughan Meadows Campsite – Newbury, VT – River Mile 248
Capacity: 12 campers.
Amenities: cleared tent site, box privy, fire ring, picnic table, shallow beach.
Directions: This campsite is located in South Newbury, about 1 mile below the old Bedell Bridge abutment, which is now marked by a boat ramp on the New Hampshire side of the river. Downstream of the Bedell Bridge, the river curves left as you pass tilled fields on the Vermont side. The Vaughan Meadow campsite is located a few hundred yards north of the Bradford line. Going south, the river turns from SE to S, and you will notice a broad wooded bank set just above a long, curving beach. Look for yellow campsite signs and a set of wooden steps set into the slope above the beach.
Campsite Maintainers: This campsite is is maintained by UVLT staff and volunteers.
Birch Meadow Campsite – Fairlee, VT – River Mile 233
Capacity: 12 campers.
Amenities: cleared tent site, box privy, fire ring, picnic table
Directions: Birch Meadow is located 2 miles below the arch bridge in Fairlee, VT. The site is on a low, wooded point, just upstream of the marshland at the outlet from Lake Morey downstream from some private camps. The river will make a bend to the west, and the campsite is on the northern bank of this east-west stretch of river. The landowners maintain a campsite for their own use about 1000 feet upstream of the Birch Meadows campsite. You will notice a red camp structure at this site. Please be respectful of their privacy and proceed to the downsteam public site. Watch for yellow arrows to lead you to the grassy landing area.
Campsite Maintainers: The Hulbert Outdoor Center generously assists with the stewardship of this campsite.
Roaring Brook Campsite – Thetford, VT – River Mile 230
Capacity: 10 campers.
Amenities: cleared tent site, box privy, fire ring, picnic table with shelter/lantern supports
Directions: In North Thetford, about a mile below Clay Brook, this grassy campsite is located between two streams, the southern one is Roaring Brook. The landing is located a few canoe lengths up the upper stream on the Palmer Farm. This farm is well distinguished by its picturesque cupolaed barn. The campsite is on the outside of a left river bend, where Roaring Brook enters the main river. Look for the yellow campsite sign and a small, grassy opening. Yellow landing signs point upstream to the canoe landing.
Campsite Maintainers: The campsite is maintained by UVLT staff and volunteers. If you are interested in helping to maintain this site, please contact UVLT’s Stewardship Coordinator, Jason Berard at [email protected] or (603) 643-6626 ext. 110.
Hewes Brook Cartop Boat Launch – Lyme, NH – River Mile 224
No overnight camping is allowed at this site.
Description: This boat launch is owned and managed by the Lyme Conservation Commission. Located on River Rd. in Lyme, this 1.1 acre property provides access to the Connecticut River at the mouth of Hewes Brook.
Directions: From the Thetford/Lyme Bridge in Lyme, head south along River Road for 4.2 miles. On your right you will see a light blue and white Hewes Brook Cartop Boat Launch sign. Leave your vehicle on the gravel parking area. Please walk your boats along the designated path that leads to the brook. In low flow conditions you will need to launch at the second access point along the brook.
Burnap’s Island Campsite – Plainfield, NH – River Mile 207
Capacity: 8 campers.
Amenities: cleared tent site, box privy, grill.
Directions: Located about 3 miles below the mouth of the Mascoma River and the I-89 highway bridge at West Lebanon, and just above the mouth of the Ottauquechee River. The railroad on the VT side runs close to the river for a couple of miles, but swings away just opposite Burnap’s Island. The campsite is near the southern end of the wooded portion. Access to the site is from the west side of the island, off the main river channel.
Campsite Maintainers: Burnap’s Island is owned by the Town of Plainfield and is maintained by UVLT staff and volunteers.
Burnham Meadow Campsite – Windsor, VT – River Mile 200
Capacity: Suitable for large groups. Amenities: cleared tent site, box privy, fire ring, picnic table.
Floodprone?: Yes (access area only)
Directions: This site is located on the first real bend in the river after Sumner’s Falls (about 4 miles below); 1 mile below Hart Island, and 3 miles above the Windsor-Cornish covered bridge. Look for the “Path of Life” sculpture garden just north of the campsite. The fields are buffered by a row of trees along the river, but you can see some of the larger sculptures peeking out from above the trees. Below the campsite, the river bends to the east and the railroad embankment follows the shore. Look for the campsite sign 50 yards south of the mouth of Bashan Brook. In low water, the landing area is just after the gravel bar at the mouth of Bashan Brook. This campsite is located at the top of the steep embankment. The bank is steep and high throughout; please help prevent further erosion by using the chain-link step ladder to access the site.
Campsite Maintainers: The campsite is maintained by UVLT staff and volunteers. If you’d like to help to maintain this site, please contact UVLT’s Stewardship Coordinator, Jason Berard at [email protected] or (603) 643-6626 ext. 110.
Campsite Use Guidelines
- UVLT campsites are available on a first-come-first-served basis; reservations are not accepted.
- These campsites are intended for access by canoe and kayak paddlers. Land-based access is prohibited.
- Please limit your stay to two nights per site. Set up your camp on your day of arrival, not in advance. This will allow other paddlers to share in the enjoyment of these campsites.
- Please limit the area you occupy so others may share the campsite.
- In the event that campsites are full and you must find an alternate place to camp for the night, please request permission from the landowner.
- To help us to monitor usage and campsite needs, please register in the logbooks provided. Look for a mailbox at each site that holds the log book.
- Minimize your impact. Please avoid climbing on exposed banks, respect the capacity of the campsites, and carry out everything you carry in.
- If you choose to build a fire, please do so in the fire ring provided and use only downed and dead wood.
- Privies are provided for your convenience; they also help limit the impact on each site. Please use them!
- All washing should be done at least 75′ from the river.
- Noise carries easily on the river. Enjoy the solitude; please leave your CD player/iPod at home.
The maintenance of these sites is conducted by the Upper Valley Land Trust and its volunteers. We ask for a donation of $10 per tent per night to assist with the costs associated with campsite management. Remittance envelopes are available at each site, you can make donations online, or mail them to UVLT, 19 Buck Road, Hanover, NH 03755. Thank you!