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Home » PEOPLE AND PLACES in VT » VERMONT (all topics) » The Quiet Paddler
The Falls in Middlebury
The Quiet Paddler

Otter Creek, Vermont

By Allison Flint | August 24, 2011

Summer brings quiet waters for kayaking or canoeing on Vermont’s Otter Creek.

Upstream Countryside

Every spring, the snow run-off swells Vermont’s rivers and creeks with a roaring force which some consider a playground.   These are the whitewater kayakers who brave the frigid temperatures and test their skills and bravery.   But we’re not talking about that here.

For the faint of heart and the lover of the lazy river, a slow kayak up and down a tranquil creek is a peaceful way to enjoy what rural Vermont has to offer.   Instead of viewing the creek from the road or a bridge, a kayak allows you to be a part of the water for a short time.   The ducks and beavers may not appreciate your invasion of their home, but they let you come in peace (as long as you leave the same).

On a recent afternoon, Otter Creek in Middlebury, Vermont, was calling for a quiet paddle.   The creek begins in southern Vermont’s Bennington County and wends its way northward to eventually empty into Lake Champlain in Ferrisburgh.

Along the way there are a few falls and ancient dams, but mostly quiet water.   As rivers are meandering and fluid, Otter Creek has been measured at 90 miles (in 1839) and 68 miles (in 2010).   The creek provided means for transport in Vermont’s early days and still shares its banks with freight trains between Burlington and Rutland, the tracks following and crossing the creek.

A Train Crosses the Creek

If you’re visiting the area and don’t have your own boats, rentals and even guided tours are available at Middlebury Mountaineer just off of Main Street.

If you need a place to stay along the creek, River’s Edge Campground in Vergennes lets you enjoy a guest cabin, park your RV or pitch a tent, as well as rent a boat.

Entering the creek above the falls in Middlebury and paddling upstream gives you twenty-five miles of quiet water between Middlebury and Pittsford.

For those who crave the adventure of rapids during the quiet summer months, the falls in Middlebury provide a thrilling practice area for kayakers.

Watching experienced boaters maneuver the falls can be overwhelming and often too exciting for the quiet paddler.

One might question the wisdom in tempting the roaring force for a few seconds when just upstream the calm waters welcome you for an entire afternoon.


Peaceful Waters at Farm's Edge

Middlebury Mountaineer

2 Park Street, Middlebury, Vermont 05753

(877) 611-7802


River’s Edge Campground

47 Donovan Lane, Vergennes, Vermont 05491

(802) 475-2700


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