Lake George

Lake George
Lake George - from Tongue Mtn Range - 11/11/2011

Monday, June 11, 2012

Kayaking the Battenkill River - 6/10/12

The Battenkill River is a popular destination for everyone that knows about it.  Fly fisherman love it, tubers love it, and kayakers and canoers  love it too.   And what's not to like.  There is great trout fishing, nice Class I water, 4 covered bridges, mountains, and farm country.  Nearby Arlington and Manchester VT have great golf courses, hiking, shopping, dining, Hildene (the home of Robert Todd Lincoln) and the Inn on Covered Bridge Green (the summer home of Norman Rockwell).  

Our launch spot on paddler's left; just upstream from the West Arlington covered bridge

I've kayaked many times on the Battenkill, but I didn't get there at all last year. Sunday was the perfect day to go back. It was 80 degrees and sunny. I had checked the hydrologic gauge reading from the Battenville Gauge and it was 5.1. That would be OK. Once it gets below 5.0, the river gets a little scratchy and you start bottoming out in places. The water was a little cold to be swimming, but it was great for boating.

West Arlington covered bridge

We chose to put in at the covered bridge in West Arlington, VT. You can start further upstream at various spots if you choose. Our take-out location was the Shushan covered bridge in Shushan, NY.   I spotted my bicycle there at the take-out since we didn't want to bring 2 cars.  The river throughout is Class I with some sections of quiet water.  There is no section that requires any special skill.

Steep embankment on paddler's left in the early part of the paddle

The paddle from West Arlington to Shushan is about 11.5 miles and we made the trip in a very leisurely 3 hours.  You can continue another 11.5 miles further if you choose to a take-out on paddler's right just before the Battenville Dam.  Once past Shushan, the water becomes mostly quiet water and the scenery becomes mostly farm country.  The part we paddled was mountainous with rolling hills in the end.

West Arlington covered bridge

Midway through our paddle we passed underneath the Eagleville covered bridge. A 4th covered bridge can be seen in Jackson, NY if you continue to paddle from Shushan to Battenville. I've done the 23 mile stretch in 5 hours when I've paddled at a brisker pace.

West Arlington covered bridge

Our take-out was immediately after crossing under the Shushan covered bridge on paddler's right.  After I had the kayaks out of the water, I hopped on my bike and rode a beautiful 7.5 mile stretch of road back to the car.  Leesa waited with the boats and enjoyed the sunshine.  There are also river outfitters, such as Battenkill Canoe, that will bring you and your boat back, for a fee, if you'd prefer not to have 2 cars or a bicycle.  You can also rent kayaks from them.

Eagleville covered bridge (Try the rope swing!)

On weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day, you'll find a great number of younger people tubing on the river.  If you can manage to go on a weekday, you'll find the river a bit quieter. 

One of many numerous sand and rock bars

After our 3 hour paddle, I recovered the car and we stopped at the Burger Den Restaurant for dinner!  It's a great family place with a huge menu and great food.  It's also good for just an ice cream.  Don't miss it...It's probably only a mile west of the Shushan covered bridge.

Approaching farm country

The Shushan covered bridge (Now a museum)

Until another day...

My Battenkill River GPS track(11.5 miles)

In the map above, you can see the state boundary (dashed white line).   Arlington, VT is on the left, and Shushan, NY is on the right.  There is a large parking area just west of the state line where many people launch or take out their boats and tubes.  The river flows generally westward in area where we paddled.

Everybody enjoys the Battenkill.  Don't miss it!  We had another great day.

My GPS track of my bike ride back to the car (7.5 miles)


  1. Wow looks like a great time. Nice photos. I especially liked the ones of the covered bridge.

    1. It's a great river. I really enjoy the covered bridges as well.

  2. Great memories of the Battenkill. Loved the summer fun there and, of course, the covered bridge. I live in Lubbock, TX now. The only flowing water we have are flash floods!
    Thanks for sharing.