The Waits River is located in a wooded valley in the northeastern portion of Vermont. The overall description covers the entire boatable section from the town of Waits River through Bradford Vermont, approximately 11.5 miles. There is a three mile section that is of most interest to boaters located about a mile below the Waits River town put in.
At the town of Waits River take a left (if coming from the south) at the white spired Church. The put in is located at the bridge crossing a short distance down the hill.
The first mile of river is narrow and rocky if the water is low, it passes farm fields on both sides of the run. After the first mile the river passes under the Vermont rt 25 bridge. This is a more desirable put in for a sportier run. It is located approximately 10 miles from interstate 91 exit 16 just a half mile past the Northeast Slopes ski area. GPS location 44° 4'38.60"N 72°15'33.52"W.
There is a good put in on river left downstream of the bridge.
The river here continues the its rocky nature but then starts to transform to ledge drops about a mile further downstream. A dairy farm borders most of the river right through this section so you will have plenty of bovine spectators. As of mid 2013 there was a left channel strainer/beaver dam that presented some difficulty, take the right route if possible. There were still some strainers in this section to avoid.
After this problem section the river drops back into a more secluded section away from the farm fields. Ledge drops start becoming more common. At first starting out small (1 ft) then building to 2 and 3 foot drops. Many of these drops have very nice play holes (or sticky nightmares) at the bottom depending on water level. The last slide in this section drops 4 to 5 feet over a length of about 20 ft. A few more small ledge drops come up to a snowmobile bridge then continues to a convenience store/gas station and bridge. Hedgehog brook enters from the left just past the Corinth bridge. The river widens considerably here. Two more small river wide ledge drops come to a convenient take out on river right for this section. It is located at a good turnoff about a third mile downstream of the bridge. For those seeking the most challenging section of river this is the place to take out. Located approximately 6 miles on route 25 from exit 16 on interstate 91 at gps coordinates 72°12'59.42"W 44° 2'58.47"N.
The river flattens out of a couple miles then passes under the route 25 bridge. Once it passes under another local bridge class I and II rapids continue for approximately 1 mile. More occasional class I and II rapids occur downstream to the take out in Bradford but the frequency diminishes as you paddle downstream.
Paddled the Waits River (in a canoe) from West Topsham past Waits River today. Above the village the river is a great Class III creek with lots of nice boulder gardens in a wooded setting. There are a few strainers. There were some also some bad strainers at blind bends below Waits River village, and with high water and few eddies, made for some fairly challenging paddling.
8 years ago
by Mark Lacroix
The guage is located on East Orange Branch which feeds into Waits River. The flows are a guess based on the 75th percentile. No historic data has been provided to build a better correlation. If you run this section please leave a comment with the level.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Waits River Ledge drop
Waits River ledge drop
Waits River play hole
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The Vermont Superior Court sided with American Whitewater in a long-running dispute with the state over whitewater boating on the Green River in Morrisville. The Court overturned state restrictions that would have eliminated any meaningful opportunity for boaters to enjoy this extraordinary river and required scheduled releases in a ground breaking decision.
In response to of the state’s draft basin plan for southern Vermont, American Whitewater and scores of boaters pressed the state to support the expansion of releases on the West River. Restrictions by the Corps of Engineers and Agency of Natural Resources have led to the elimination of nearly all scheduled boating opportunities on the West River over the past two decades, eliminating recreation opportunity and hurting the local economy. AW and its partners have been working to restore these releases.
A hardy group of northeast boaters climbed into the natural river channel below a hydropower dam to participate in a flow study designed to assess whether whitewater flows should be restored to this dewatered river reach on the Connecticut River. While significant obstacles remain, this site has the potential for providing instruction, playboating, and a big water feature that that could be run throughout much of the year and provide a much needed boost to the local economy.
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