First Trip on the Allagash

Hey all!
My partner and I are planning what will hopefully be a low-stress canoe trip on the Allagash in late August. We have set aside 4 days total which should include travel up and back from Portland as well as about 3 full days of paddling/camping.

My partner has done a 3 day trip on Chamberlain but this will be my first experience canoe camping. We’re both fit, confident with our paddles, but still beginner level. Admittedly, I’m a bit overwhelmed looking for trip planning info online so I’m hoping someone here can provide some help.

We’re looking to keep the trip as cost friendly as possible. We know there are road and camping fees (no problem there) and are prepared to pay a reasonable rental fee for the canoe and paddles. What we can’t seem to figure out is if we can get away with not using a shuttle service.

Originally we wanted to start at the northern point of Umsaskis lake and enter via Realty road. We wanted to do something other than Chamberlain so my partner could experience a new part of the Allagash, but also avoid the Chase rapids as neither of us are interested in trying to run them.

That said, we haven’t found many others who have paddled downriver and returned to their original put-in by paddling back up river… It’s making us reconsider our route.

Would it be better to stick to the lakes where having the same start and end point will be less stressful? Are there other sections of the river we could do a 3-4 trip on without using a shuttle service? If none of the above, we’d also take suggestions for other 3-4 day canoe trips around Maine that can be totally DIY.

BONUS if you can recommend a place to rent a canoe from that offers foam blocks and ties for mounting on your car. Thanks!

Rental is a big issue… The main rental is at Pelletiers in St Francis… Its a full day of driving from Portland. They do a lot of business on the Allagash as they offer your car waiting for you.

For the trip Umsaskis is a good put in because at the end of Chase Rapids is great moose watching.
But alas no rental.

Allagash Gateway Campground rents canoes. Its on Ripogenus Lake not on the river itself but its not far from the Telos Road you will be using

Moose River Bow trip is a 34 mile three day outing… Rentals available in the nearest town Jackman.

Thanks for your reply! We were hoping not drive all the way up to the town of Allagash (like you said, it would sacrifice a whole day from our trip). I think we have decided to rent from the Maine Bound Adventure Center in Orono and just secure the canoe atop our car.

I am mostly looking for advice on whether or not we can feasibly paddle 1.5 days downriver from Umsaskis and then 1.5 days back upriver to our original put-in? Is that just not done on the Allagash? Thanks!

Missing the point
Umsaskis at the run out of Chase is moosy
The stretch from
Long Lake to Round Pond is one day but has shallow spots
Yes sone people do go upstream in some places by poling. If you havent done that tou may be in for a bit of walking
The stream moves about 3 mph but can move over five

I have not paddled the Allagash R but it is a famous place in Maine.
If you are beginners you should forget about paddling upriver.
Do a normal shuttle. Focus on your ability to get downriver without incident.
Ask some local people about the difficulty of your planned route.
Can you read water? Do you know what a back ferry is?

check out the Moose River Circuit near Jackman- rapids are portage-able or can be run. There’s also a portage over railroad tracks and around a small falls . Your time frame and desire not to shuttle make it a good choice for you. The campsites aren’t as developed but they don’t have the allagash fee structure.

It would be so much less hassle to paddle the lakes… Put in at Churchill Dam and paddle sw through Churchill Lake and Eagle Lake. Go see the old tramway and the railroad and the locomotives that were left in the woods 80 years ago. Return to your car. A downriver trip is not really worth it for that short a trip. You will spend 8 hours just shuttling.

We have gone almost every year as it is close to my home. Usually we do our short trips based out of Lock Dam which is a full day paddle from Chamberlain Bridge.