Black River: Coventry to Lake Memphremagog South Bay

The lower Black River is an excellent quiet water paddle that can be done as a one-way trip, taking about 3 hours, or as an out-and-back day trip. A town park in Coventry and a state launch on Lake Memphremagog’s South Bay make for easy access. The paddle is almost entirely flatwater, with only very small sections of quickwater. The majority of this paddle takes you through the South Bay Wildlife Management Area, an 1800 acre preserve protecting some of the finest wetlands in the state. Here, you are likely to see herons, turtles, and beavers, especially during early morning paddles. The trip ends (or starts if you are doing an out-and-back trip) in the South Bay of Lake Memphremagog, which has beautiful views all around. 

The Black River offers an easy day trip from Newport, where you can find a bustling downtown, a good natural foods store, a sporting goods store, excellent coffee and a tasting room for locally-made products including a number of local breweries. We recommend Tim and Doug’s for ice cream after the paddle.

Downloadable Map

Trip Details

  • Miles: 8
  • Put In: Ladybird Johnson Park, Coventry. There is a large parking lot just off Route 5. Stone steps provide good water access on the far side of the park from the parking area.
  • Take Out: Vermont Fish & Wildlife South Bay Access Area, Newport. This large access area is just south of Newport on Coventry Street. It is managed by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife department, and includes a dock and two boat ramps.
  • Services:
    • Black River: Coventry to Lake Memphremagog South Bay
  • Trail Features