Allagash Wilderness Waterway resources?

I’m planning an Allagash Wilderness Waterway trip for 2022 and would like to get some resources to help. On Amazon, I’ve found two guides, The Allagash Guide by Gil Gilpatrick, and Discovering the Allagash by Jeff Sims, in addition to a National Geographic map.

Does anybody have any opinions about these? Or can suggest some other resources? It’ll be my first river trip and I’d like to figure out stuff like minimum cfs, location and rating of rapids, logistics for car shuttles, etc. All the basics and then some.

Opinions/advice welcome. Thanks.

Gilpatrick’s book is very good. You should also get the Norther Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) maps for the sections you want to do.


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If you are doing the entire 92 mile Waterway ( and technically you have to paddle to Telos and back to Chamberlain Bridge to do that ; it is worth seeing the outflow of the E Penobscot into Webster Stream a shuttle by a commercial outfitter is the best option. if you do a self shuttle your vehicle that stays in the Waterway corridor is charged per day for sitting in the parking lot. The shuttle from Allagash VIllage to Chamberlain Bridge or Indian Stream takes three hours. This would mean to set up you would park at the end in Allagash Village and drive back to Chamberlain Bridge. The roads are logging roads all dirt but usually passable by any car,
The Allagash is best run at levels over 1000 cfs but there is not much dragging till below 500 cfs measured at Allagash Village. Anything over 3500 cfs is a bear to stop in ( like for a campsite!)
If you are coming from the south you can arrange to mail a separate set of keys to Norm L’Italien at Pelletiers Campground in St Francis will do a shuttle this way or the traditional way in his van.
Running Chase is fun if one in the canoe is a strong ww paddler but you have to be there before noon as they close the sluiceway then… You will be having the Ranger portage your gear to Bissonette Bridge… ( this is a result of too many “yard sales”)
Water levels:USGS Current Conditions for USGS 01011000 Allagash River near Allagash, Maine

Map is straightforward. Free, Gils guides are good for enriching your trip and have hiking trails indicated too.

Chamberlain can be one nasty lake and Eagle too can be as we say sporty. The locomotives and tram are a must. Nothing like poking in a dark balsam and spruce forest and walking along railroad tracks with whole trees inbetween or looking at old train wheels from the 1920’s
For this reason some people prefer to put it at Indian Stream.

Chase is a class II. However it is pretty long; does have some pools in between. 2 miles. Long Dam rapids is a short shoot but the spikes from logging days are a hazard to some. Twin Brook rapids are a low 2 not very long. Round Pond ( outlet) rips are a perhaps class 1 plus.

Allagash Falls is just a don’t do it. People have tried all have had wrecked boats. The carry is only 400 yards cartable.

Spend time poking around Umsaskis Lake Chisholm Brook is a good campsite to sit and just watch… moose. If you don’t see any you were asleep.


Thanks for your replies, much appreciated. Other advice, suggestions, welcome!

Check out my trip report from May of this year: (Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW)some-5.21 - Trip Reports - NSPN Message Board)

If this is your first river trip, you might think twice about doing the whole route, especially Chase and Allagash Stream (one continuous ClassII) rapids.


Thanks for the advice. I am hoping to take a semester-long whitewater canoeing course this spring as a lead-up to the trip, but may not be able to. If not, I may think twice about the Chase/Allagash stream section. Are there any other spots that a beginner should skip?

Not that I can think of at all at a good water level. Just be aware that the Ranger at the Dam will portage your gear. downstream to the site of the former Bissonette Bridge. ( a calm pool)
Don’t let the rapids build overly in your mind. Our group picked up a canoeist to claimed to be an expert solo canoer but did not have a solo canoe. I was dumb enough to lend him mine. He started sitting on the seat then kneeling and gave up , He ran the rapids sitting on the bottom of the canoe letting the water carry him. It was good for a laugh. He got increasingly pissy over the trip and blamed everything but himself on his slow progress!

You will live without the course if you remember the mantra; never get cross ways. That course will enhance your enjoyment though.

I’m looking at two different map options, the National Geographic 2-map set, and maps 12 and 13 of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

Does anybody have opinions about which set is better? Thanks!

so you can get where you are going with the northern canoe trail maps but they really lack detail, I have no experience with the natl. geographic set, topos are what I used most in northern maine

you don’t need either. Both chop the Waterway in half and the Nat Geo set has too many lakes outside of your travel area.

By far the best map is free

Thanks, I appreciate the responses!