your paddlesports destination

Connecticut River in Connecticut

Trip Overview

North & South Cove / Conn. River Trails

Although the North Cove by itself is a easy body of water to paddle, if you go along the entire trail to South Cove and back, it gets tricky as you have to navigate on the CT river, which has some chop, is windy and has strong currents.

You drop in at Sheffield Street, which is the street that runs next to Town Hall, at Main Street. At the end of the street is a town mooring field. You unload your kayak, and then park up the street at the middle school. Once in the water, there are pretty homes, nice marshes to view and moored boats to paddle past.

If you choose to explore further, head up the river to see the Amtrak trains traversing the river, or head south to South Cove, another sheltered area that is perfect for pleasant paddling. Going south you have to paddle past the Saybrook Point Inn and marina. South Cove is terrific to paddle because it is extremely shallow, limiting motorboat access on the water.

For those who fish from kayaks, the Coves and the CT river are awesome fishing spots. Throughout the year Striped Bass are caught by fisherman along the piers, as well as shad in the spring.

The suggested time required to paddle the North Cove is 1 hour (although it could be done much quicker) but if you paddle both Coves, give yourself several hours to enjoy the scenery and the views.


Small Connecticut town with many shops and stores. Good restaurants. There's a porta-potti at the town dock, and bathrooms in town hall during weekdays.
North Cove outfitters on Main Street is a top-notch outfitter for kayaks and fly-fishing gear.


Permit parking is required at the dock, which is why you park up the street during season.


I-95 to Old Saybrook, CT (exit 67).
If Southbound, you are on Elm Street - go left at end of ramp, drive straight until you hit Main Street (North Cove on right side). Make right.
If Northbound, stay on right fork of ramp. Go straight until you see Main Street (Sunoco station). Make left.

Sheffield Street is on left side across from Police Station. If you go past the firehouse, you've gone too far.


Town dock for boats. Not an awesome area to drop in, but the town may be improving that.


The CRERPA has a free map of the kayak trail.
Free laminated copies are available from CRERPA, or they have some at the local public library (Acton Library).
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip