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Reach 5: Below Bolton Falls Dam to Richmond (10.5 miles)

Location Distance Access
Below Bolton Falls Dam in Duxbury 0 Left bank of river
Bolton 2 miles below dam 2 miles Left bank of river
Jonesville stream from Jonesville bridge 6.5 miles Right bank of river
Richmond 1.4 miles below Huntington River 8 miles Left bank of river
Richmond: Bridge St. bridge 10.5 miles Right bank of river


Canoe Map

Reach 5:
Below Bolton Falls
Dam to Richmond


The 10.5-mile stretch from the Bolton Falls Dam to Richmond presents some hazards only during low or very high water and contains two moderate rapids. Here the Winooski flows through the heart of the Green Mountains providing spectacular scenery as it heads towards the gentle farmlands of Bolton and Richmond.

Put in at the access area below the Bolton Falls Dam in Duxbury. This spot can be reached by following River Road which runs along the south side of the River. Follow Winooski St. in Waterbury, cross river, turn right on to the south bank of the river and follow the road 2.9 miles to the DeForge Hydro Electric Dam.

Look for the Green Mountain Power sign and dam access road on the right which is a small dirt road that goes over a bridge from the main road down to the river. (See Reach 4 map and Bolton Falls Dam portage map.)

The area just below the dam is a good fishing spot. Boaters should be mindful of eddies caused by discharges immediately behind the powerhouse.

Below Bolton Falls to Jonesville

This scenic stretch of the Winooski bisects the Green Mountains and passes through northern hardwood forests and farms. As the river meanders through this section there are gravel bars, islands and rocks which obstruct the stream' s flow. Canoeists should be cautious in maneuvering around the rocks in this area.

There is an unmarked canoe stop for picnics or overnight camping approximately one-quarter mile downstream on the right side of the river. A clear brook feeds into the river here and it is a good fishing spot because of the many deep pools in the river.

About three-fourths of a mile below the Bolton Falls Dam is a moderate set of rapids which can cause problems in low water, and serious problems at very high water due to strong currents with large waves piling into trapped flotsam on the railroad bridge abutments. At the end of the rapids underneath the railroad bridge, there are many large rock outcroppings which have been smoothed by the water. The water forms deep pools here and the channel is deceptive. Approach with caution.

If you choose to run the rapids, bear right to pass under the railroad bridge. These rapids can be portaged to the left by landing near the mouth of Ridley Brook, carrying your canoe through the woods, past a private dwelling to the RR tracks. Follow the RR tracks to the trestle and put in on the downstream side. Do not cross the trestle. The portage is about 1500 feet.

About one and one half mile downstream from the railroad bridge, on the left bank is the Bolton canoe access. There is an inlet here and a large rock projects from the bank. Parking is available. This access can be reached by car off River Road. (See reach 5 map for reference)

The next bridge you pass under will be the Jonesville Bridge. Just after the Jonesville bridge, there is a canoe stop on the right bank. This is also where the Long Trail passes through Jonesville on route to Camel's Hump to Bolton Mountain. For further information on hiking the Long Trail consult The Long Trail Guidebook.

Jonesville to Richmond Bridge Street Bridge

At the mouth of the Huntington River in Jonesville, trout fishing and swimming are possible. In this section the current is fair with some riffles. Beyond the Huntington River, the river takes a slow curving course, flowing around islands, past bluffs and rock outcroppings, and through hardwood forest. One and one quarter mile downriver of the confluence of the Huntington River, on the left, is the 35-acre Rivershore Preserve owned and managed by the Richmond Land Trust. This area can be used as a rest stop. A developed canoe access is proposed along with picnic areas, trails and parking.

As you continue downriver, the next bridge you will pass under is in the town of Richmond. Shortly after the bridge you can beach your canoe on the right at the Richmond Town Green, called Volunteer Green. This is a good picnic site. There are tables, grills and garbage cans available. If you need to pick up supplies, it is a short walk to town, where there is a pharmacy and grocery store, as well as a bakery. One-quarter of a mile south from the steel bridge in Richmond is the Old Round Church. Built in 1812, this unique historical structure has sixteen sides capped by a bell cupola.