Help Please - Multi day Canoe Trip in September

Hi there,

My brother and I are looking for an unguided, self supported canoe trip in September for at least a week, ideally two weeks. We would need an outfitter to provide rental of all canoe equipment (we have our own camping gear). If possible the weather would be warm during the day, cold at night is fine.

We are both experienced in the backcountry and have limited experience in kayaks. When it comes to canoes we are beginners so flat water to Class II?? is our level I think.

Ideally the outfitter would be able to provide instruction on how to pack the canoe and any other relevant information relevant to the water as this would be our first expedition in a canoe. A one or two day course would be perfect.

This would be the first two weeks of a four week trip, so if there is decent mountain biking and climbing in the same area that would be a bonus.

So far we are considering Boundary Waters, Green River or Allagash Wilderness, Any advice considering these three for September or other suggestions would be appreciated.


I don’t think you are ready for the Allagash with your non-experience in a canoe. Boundary Waters fits your criteria, except I don’t know abut any biking or climbing in that region.

another suggestion would be the Bowron Lakes circuit in British Columbia ( you didn’t say where you are located, nor how far you are willing to travel) That is similar to Boundary Waters, but a much milder version. You can rent canoe carts as well as canoes for the portages - most are pretty easy, a couple are difficult due to the spacing of the “corduroy” in places. Beautifull scenery. should be plenty of mountain biking and climbing in Jasper and Bannf National parks. Note that you would have to have passports to cross the border - Canada will reject you if you have a DUI on your driving record.

I suggest staying away from anything with rated whitewater, even class 2. It is highly unlikely that you would have or the outfitter supply things like dry bags to preserve the useability of your stuff in case of a cspsize. And you did not mention pfds, would say you need them.

I have friends who have the enhanced NY state drivers license that gets them across a land border into Canada. And they do have a DUI on their youthful record, which blocks their getting global entry for flying. But it does not inhibit the enhanced drivers license. So l am scratching my head about why a DUI would be a stopper for a land crossing into Canada.

Get off and stay in flat water, you could have a good trip.

Your ID is in a database… They know about you before you get in. Yes a DUI can be a stopper. Anectodal stories do not count. Whether or not you are denied entry depends if you have been deemed rehabbed, or applied for a waver or the inspection agent is having a good day… Its totally up to their discretion. Celia, the law is the law

Well, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area would be an obvious option and there are many outfitters that can provide any and all equipment you need and might not have. They can also help you with entry permits and route planning. I know many individuals who favor September for BWCAW and Quetico trips as the insects are usually gone after the first frost, and the crowds have thinned out. But you have to be prepared for just about any type of weather from quite hot to below freezing. I do not know of any outfitters that provide any type of instruction apart from written and verbal tips. If you choose the BWCAW you will likely be portaging and when it comes to gear, lighter is better.

An option in the Midwest might be the middle and lower Buffalo National River in Arkansas. The problem is that September is typically a pretty dry month there and the river is rain dependent so water levels are not guaranteed. There are outfitters that can supply and shuttle you but again, I am not aware of any who provide instruction. But you could probably arrange for an overnight “shakedown” paddle to work out any glaring issues before you depart on the main trip.

Thanks all, the information was very useful.

Kayakmedic, from whence do you assume my info is anecdotal?
A local long time friend has a brother who lives in Canada, said brother moved there during Vietnam war. My friend has a youthful DUI, got an enhanced NY driver’s license, and has never had a problem going up to visit his brother crossing with the enhanced license. Before or after NY came up with the enhanced license. Given the start of this time line none,of us involved are young. He is in the database, he can’t buy tsa precheck.

I do not doubt that someone could be stopped for many reasons. I went to college near the border and particularly the US guys would make up something if they needed. But in many years of visiting his brother my friend has never a problem crossing. So this kind of problem is not universal. Someone might run into it or might not.