Like puddles after a rainfall, so many places for paddling

kayaking Jen Frantz, of nearby Morrisville, at Lake Elmore in northern Vermont.
By Marty Basch
Globe Correspondent / July 12, 2009
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A canoe or kayak is a ticket to flat-water fun across northern New England’s ponds, lakes, and waterways. Surfaces range from smooth as glass to roiling white caps. Here are suggestions for various levels of paddlers.

Southern Vermont’s Somerset Reservoir is surrounded by the Green Mountain National Forest. Access is at the southern end near a hydroelectric dam. A sprinkle of islands dot the north. “The reservoir is remote with a lot of coves,’’ says Gray Stevens, executive director of the Vermont Outdoor Guide Association. From Wilmington, travel west on US Route 9 about 6 miles and turn right on Somerset Road (turns to dirt) for 10 miles.

Paddle pristine Green River Reservoir in north-central Vermont midweek to avoid the weekend rush. “The reservoir has 19 miles of shoreline, giving it some of the greatest amount of undeveloped shoreline in the state,’’ says Susan Bulmer, northeast parks regional manager with Vermont State Parks. Escape to the many inlets and curved coves on the 650-plus-acre waterway in its own state park. A big draw is paddling to a campsite from the launch off Green River Dam Road. Green River Reservoir State Park, 29 Sunset Drive, Morrisville, 802-888-1349,

“The Northeast Kingdom has a great deal of variety of lakes and little ponds,’’ says Stevens. “Many are remote,’’ like Little Averill Lake in Averill. The cliffs of Brousseau Mountain give the small heart-shaped pond a wild feel despite there being a few camps in the surrounding forest. Bring the binoculars for a chance to see peregrine falcons. Little Averill Lake Natural Area, Averill,

Western Maine’s Brownfield Bog Management Area is loaded with wildlife, marshes, and White Mountain vistas. The shallow 5,700-acre bog is a quiet spot near the vacation area of Fryeburg and Conway, N.H.

“Beaver, mink, and moose have come along,’’ says Judy Camuso, a Maine Fish and Game biologist. “It is a pretty remarkable spot.’’ From the junction of Routes 160 and 113 in Brownfield, head north on Route 160 over the Saco River and turn left on Lord’s Hill Road at 1.5 miles. In several yards, turn left on the dirt access road to the bog about .8 miles down by a shack.

Far from city streets, Attean Pond near Jackman has many uninhabited islands off its scenic shores. Paddle by 2,220-foot Sally Mountain with its hiking trail to a sandy beach with camping. Part of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Attean is also the heart of a popular 34-mile Moose River Bow trip. “It’s pretty wild up there,’’ said Kate Williams, the trail’s executive director. From junctions of Routes 6, 15, and 201 near Jackman, turn right on Attean Pond Road and travel about 2.5 miles to the launch.

Horseshoe Pond in Lovell is set among rolling hills. Enter the water along a narrow arm before an elbow-bend yields the higher peaks of Evans Notch straddling the Maine-New Hampshire border. Complement the paddle on hiking trails steps from the launch. From the junction of Route 5 and West Lovell Road in Lovell, travel approximately 3 miles and bear left on Foxboro Road. In 1.5 miles, bear right and in about a half mile turn right on dirt Horseshoe Pond road to launch (with limited parking) one mile down. For hiking trails, Greater Lovell Land Trust,

New Hampshire
The White Mountains are on display in the western sky above Conway Lake. The lake does see motorboats, but also loons, waterfowl, and evening’s alpenglow. The southern end has quiet coves while the boat launch on the northern tip provides easy access and parking a few miles from North Conway’s outlets. From Center Conway, turn on Mill Street from Route 302 and travel 0.8 mile to the boat launch on right.

Though there is the drone from Route 16 traffic, the scenery on Chocorua Lake takes paddlers miles away. The small lake sits by splendid Mount Chocorua. Paddle under the bridge at the southern end to adjoining Little Lake for an incredible look at the mountains. No motorboats are allowed. The lake is a popular swimming spot with a handsome renovated waterside park. From Route 16, turn left on Chocorua Lake Road about 1.5 miles north from the junction of Routes 113 and 16 in Chocorua.

Unspoiled Long Pond in the White Mountain National Forest is home to loons, moose, and beaver. Mount Moosilauke towers over the small, remote pond with its islands and marshy coves. “The best time to go is after daybreak because there are more chances to see wildlife,’’ says Herb Karsten, a US Forest Service ranger. From Route 116 in Benton, turn onto Long Pond Road and travel about 2.5 miles on dirt road. Turn right at sign for Long Pond to boat launch.

Marty Basch can be reached at


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