The WInooski river in North West VT makes for a relaxing weekend trip. There are virtually no rapids except for maybe something between class 0 and 1. The river is very scenic and good for swimming. Occasional disturbances can be caused by a train and highway not too far away, however they are out of view.
It is important to check the water flow on this river. Although it is possible to travel through it during off season times, you will definitely bottom out many, many times. Even though we had a great trip, it could have been much better if there was more water. The first 5-10 miles from Waterbury, VT are much quicker moving then the last portion. There is a dam at Essex Junction and this is probably where you should end if you are on a two day voyage from Waterbury. Our initial goal was to make it to Lake Champlain, however the slow current of the second half of the river prevented us from doing so.
Plan your trip accordingly, do a good portion of the river the first day; at least half because the second part will be much slower.
Camping: There are plenty of good places to camp on this river, just don’t be surprised when you are awoken suddenly in the middle of the night by a trail passing less then 100 hundred ft away. Its tracks are just over the hill.
Start – Waterbury VT
End – Essex River Junction
Time – a good two day trip, with time for swimming, and plenty of breaks.
Start Location: There is a spot here for 2-3 cars and easy access to the water.
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End Location: By this point on the second day we were too far behind on time to finish, and had to take a cab to our car, which was further down by the delta.
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Winooski River Photos: