Looking for info on the Allagash river in Maine.   I want to do it this late summer/ Autumn.  I own a carbonlite kayak and wonder if others have done that river with one and  didnt have any problems . What I am asking is if the river is a rock garden and if it is easy to avoid rapid sections by portaging or leading .  I  want to use my kayak but at the same time I don't want to ruin it( especially somewhere on a wilderness 100 mile trip).

re: Allegash
I think you should have no problem on the Allegash river with a carbonlite kayak. Just be sure to bring along an innertube just in case.

there are no portages on some of
the potentially bony sections of river.

Allagash Falls of course can be avoided. Its unrunnable by anything

Long Lake Dam can be run/portaged

Chase Rapids can be avoided by a two mile shuttle or portage. You probably should not run that anyway. Its class 2 with rocks when the dam is releasing. Its all rock when not.

Yes the river has a rock base .Rock and gravel.

Water levels above 1500 cfs minimize rocks elsewhere but Twin Brook and Outlet Rips require maneuvering.

The inner tube idea is not going to work…Its wont work as a vessel or flotation.

I cannot tell you what the water levels will be in August. I will mention that it probably will be more crowded than in the past with the 50th anniversary of its river designation and some celebrations.

I’ve pinned boats at some water levels and floated just fine in Kevlar at others.

Norm L’Italien at Pelletiers will offer you a rental when presented with your kayak

What sort of kayak? There are length/width restrictions and rec kayaks sometimes violate those parameters and the Rangers will pull those off. I am guessing you have a sea kayak… Quick maneuvering is sometimes necessary.

Bee there
I’ve done the Allagash twice. Once in June and the other in August. Once starting above Unaskis and the other at Round Pond.

There wasn’t much in the way of “rock garden” rapids but we had to drag our canoe over numerous rocky shallows one year and I was glad to have a Royalex boat. I think a composite boat would be be a mess after all of that.

I recall two carries, a short one of a few hundred feet and a longer one to get past the falls. They say the falls aren’t runnable, but my brother-in-law was with us on one trip and ran the falls in his whitewater kayak. That is a long story, but the short story is that he made it through the falls alive. Barely. He flipped part way through and lost his helmet in the process.

Bottom line I don’t think a composite boat is a good idea on the Allagash that time of the year. If the water is up, then it can work, but there is no guarantee.

Late Summer
That’s the dry season.

I was there in August some years back and we dragged the canoes over gravel bars fairly often.

Last time we were there in October it rained for two days and we didn’t drag at all.

we can come up with all sorts of
anecdotal data from our trips (I’ve had a dozen) wildly divergent water levels. Ranging from can’t stop to where is the water.

We usually do all of it including Telos Lake but once did just down from Churchill dam

Your best source is the river gauge at Allagash.

Here is the link for current and historical data.

The gauge is there all the time and we aren’t

Thank you for all the valuable information. So great to tap the minds of paddlers that have done the Allagash.

Another question I have is; "Does anyone know how late in the season the shuttle over the portage around the Chase Rapids runs? We are thinking of doing the Allagash in mid to late September.

Thanks again. Happy paddling.


The ranger lives there

– Last Updated: Jun-21-16 10:56 AM EST –

year round. So it is still operational
Late September is historically the lowest water level

The lakes are dropped to provide opportunity to work on the dams over the winter. ( Lock Dam and Churchill) and the one at the end of Telos.

We did a lake trip last October and the lakes were down some 10 feet. We didnt do the river but looking at historic water levels it was not floatable.

Lake trip on the Allagash can be very nice and just ideal for your boat. The big lakes can get "sporting" and snow starts late Sept , Likely the water will be too cold to enjoy swimming.

There is a thread of a Trip Report on the Allagash starting from Lobster Lake going all the way over to Chamberlain and down the Allagash

Thats about 140 miles. The first 80 is flatwater or moving with easy maneuvering around rocks.

as you see some of us like the West Branch of the Penobscot to Chesuncook to Umbazooksus to the Allagash. It always delivers for wildlife. And its quite suited to your boat.