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Reach 6: Richmond Bridge Street Bridge to Essex Junction Dam (11.5 miles)

Location Distance Access
Richmond Bridge St. bridge 0 Right bank of river
Richmond Rte. 2 bridge 2.5 miles Left bank of river
Jericho beyond railroad bridge on Route 117
4.5 miles Right bank of river
Essex Junction 11.5 miles Left bank of river


Canoe Maps

Reach 6:
Richmond Bridge
Street Bridge to
Essex Junction Dam

Essex Junction Dam


Through this stretch the river is broad and flat, flowing through fields and woodlands. Two and one-half miles downstream from Richmond are the Interstate 89 and Route 2 bridges. A quarter mile below these bridges on the right is a store where some camping supplies may be obtained. The store is on the other side of Rt. 117 and is not visible until you are up on the bank.

Just downstream from the next railroad bridge, where Route 117 comes into view on the right, is another roadway rest stop area on the right bank. Garbage cans and parking are available. Two and one-half miles downriver from this access is a state leased boat access. The area is on the right bank across from a small island, and can be used as a rest stop.

North Williston Bridge to Essex Junction Dam

The North Williston bridge is located one mile downstream of the state leased boat access. The bank is steep here but it is used as an access. The river is fairly deep (3-5 feet) through this section as you proceed downriver and becomes deeper as you approach the dam. The river takes a wide slow course through farmland and the residential areas of Essex Junction. Depending upon the natural flows and the amount of water passing through the generation units at the Essex #19 Dam, the current may be swift or slow, and the river narrow or wide.

Just above the Essex Junction Dam, on the left bank, directly across from the IBM boat launch, is an unmarked overnight canoe stop. The landowner has given permission for canoeists to utilize this area provided that they are respectful of the privilege by carrying out all their trash, using only down and dead wood for fires, and making sure that all fires are completely out before leaving.

Essex Junction Dam

There are two portage trails around Essex Junction Dam. Both begin before the boat barriers that are placed in the water about Memorial Day and removed about November 1st.


Always proceed with caution when approaching the dam. It is always possible that the floating barrels may not be in the river for reasons beyond Green Mountain Power's control.

The northern portage is preferable in high water. Take out above the dam on the right, making sure to stay far back from the edge of the dam. Portage along the IBM access road, turn left onto park street and then right onto Cascade Street. Beware of traffic on route 2A.

Follow this road to the Essex Junction Waste Water Treatment Plant located on the left with a small parking lot and a trail leading down to the river. The total distance of this portage is about one mile. See the portage ma .

The southern portage is not quite as long, but traverses more rugged terrain. Bear to the left shore as you approach the barrels. Do not go beyond the barrels. A warning sign should be posted on a tree on a small island near the left bank. Take out on the left bank adjacent to the warning sign. The portage trail runs next to the GMP substation fence and crosses the field and Route 2A. Beware of traffic on Route 2A.

Across the road, Green Mountain Power has constructed Overlook Park which provides picnic tables and port-a-pots. From the picnic area follow the trail over the steep rocks to the footpath leading through the woods to the ledges along the river. Do not launch your canoe just below the bridge because the rocks, ledges and rapids are extremely hazardous to canoeists.

Continue portaging beyond the rapids and put in further downstream. The footpath continues through the woods (and poison ivy) beyond the ledges. The total distance of this portage is about 3500 feet.