Champlain Canal

OK, so this isn’t Wilderness Tripping.

I’m thinking of doing an overnight paddling trip on the Champlain Canal. I’d like the trip to include at least one of the locks. An opportunity for a combined outdoor adventure & history lesson.

  1. Does anyone have route recommendations (either out-and-back or one way)? I want it to be pretty easy going, figure 7-10 miles a day, although I’m interested in hearing about any really pretty routes.

  2. Does anyone have any outfitters recommendations in that part of New York? There may be a group of us and some of the party may need to rent boats.

  3. Can you camp at the lockstations? Has anyone run into any trouble doing this?

  4. How safe is the water? I know some parts of the Hudson have PCB issues. There may be kids along, and it’s difficult to convince them not to play in and/or drink the water.

    Thanks in advance,


Alright …
I take a stab since no other replies yet.

Is there a specific reason for the Champlain Canal? If not you might look into the Mohawk River-Erie-Barge Canal.

I would contact Kayakguy via his website below. He has kayaked the length of both the Champlain and Erie Canals, camping along the way. Do the Date Sort and look under 2006 for the Erie Canal and the Champlain Canal trips. He can tell you a lot about camping along the way.

The Hudson River above the Troy dam is beginning of the Champlan Canal. I frequently paddle this area up to Lock 2. This area is about 30-35 miles South of where PCBs are currently being dredged from the river. To check on the water quality from PCB dredging go to this website:

If paddling downstream from the dredging I’d stay below Lock 5 and I would do much any swimming and I’d frequently check the water quality monitoring website. Lock 8 to Lock 12 might be the area to paddle, but I have no experience there, sorry.

Erie Canal

BTW, you may lock through small boats such as canoes and kayaks.



Thanks of the information
Thanks for the info. That link to the water quality information with be particularly valuable.

The Champlain came to mind for a variety of reasons. I’m something of a canal junkie, and one of the coolest trips my wife and I ever did was a transit of the Rideau Canal in Ontario (Kingston to Ottawa). I was looking for something similar, but closer. I was under the impression that the Chmplain was more scenic and less traveled than the Erie, but that’s not true (I grew up in Rome, NY, where the Erie is not particularly scenic).

My church has an “Adventurers Group” and I was looking for a possible trip. The Canal seemed to offer something for lots of different people: history & technology, easy flatwater paddle, accessible camping sites with running water, possible leaf-peeping (thinking of mid-September), and short drive from northern Connecticut.