What is a Water Trail? The Water Trails Program of Rivers Alliance of CT
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 Rivers Alliance of Connecticut
Water Trails Program
"Paddle and Protect"

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P.O. Box 1797
Litchfield, CT 06759




Formal Water Trails         Informal Water Trails     

Formal Water Trails

The American Canoe Association (ACA) defines a "water trail" as meeting the following five requirements:

  1. The trail must be a contiguous or semicontiguous waterway or series of waterways that is open to recreational use by paddlers.

  2. The trail must have public access points for paddlers.

  3. The trail must be covered by a map, guide, signage, or website that is of reasonable quality and detail and available to the public.

  4. Published or printed materials for the trail (e.g., guidebook, map, sign, website) must communicate low-impact ethics to trail users.

  5. The trail must be supported and/or managed by one or more organizations.

The Rivers Alliance of Connecticut, in partnership with the American Canoe Association, the National Park Service, American Rivers, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, is committed to helping existing and future water trails to fulfill the American Canoe Association's water trail requirements. Trails meeting those requirements are eligible to receive the coveted ACA-Recommended Water Trail designation.

Informal Water Trails

Besides the formally designated water trails, there are many other places to paddle on Connecticut's rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, and Long Island Sound. Click here for our water trails map. 

Do you know of a water trail not included on this website? Send us an email and tell us the name of the trail, where it is located, a trail website address, and who to contact for more information.

Our Mission

To Promote the Use and Appreciation of Connecticut's Recreational Waterways Through:

  • Collaborating with existing local and regional groups such as river and watershed groups, businesses and outfitters, Connecticut DEEP, regional agencies, towns and cities, clubs, and interested individuals.
  • Publicizing existing trails by providing a center for current guidebooks, maps, and other relevant information as well as providing statewide website information.
  • Helping in the development of new trails by arranging for assistance from local, state, and national agencies and private organizations.
  • Promoting responsible stewardship of our waterways by providing conferences and educational materials and supporting activity days and events.
  • Fostering connections to communities by demonstrating that healthy waterways provide economic value to towns, cities, and local businesses.
  • Advocating boating safety by supporting safety initiatives and disseminating safety information and materials.