Lake Umbagog, Maine

Early morning and a very foggy day


Nice lake to camp. I wish I were there now, but I wasn’t paying attention when they opened reservations this spring and I missed out on the remote sites. The morning fog is typical.

Been there a couple times, great place to camp

Been there about a dozen times. Great camping and a nice big lake

We had a lot of foggy days in 2011, but at least a couple of really nice ones. We found the lake to be choppy on windy days, but not dangerous, I guess it’s pretty shallow.

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It is shallow and it gets quite rough when the wind is blowing. Once when we had to cross the lake, the wind was coming from the west. The chop was intense, but I had a 7 hour ride home and I crossed the lake into the wind. Fun times!

Yup. Much of the lake is under 12’ so when the wind picks up, especially from the north or south, there is a good fetch to get the wind waves/chops going.

On one launch from the public landing on the south part of the beach, I was on-shore with a couple of out of staters with their canoes, looking out at the wind waves coming down from the north with a 20 MPH plus north wind. They asked me whether it would too rough for them to head out. I said I thought it could be dicey for them in open boats but that it would be easier for me in my sea kayak. Anyway, my intent to launch might have “inspired” them to make a try. We all got on the water about the same time. I just got into my cadence and went out. About 1/4 mile out, I turned around to take a look and saw their canoes turning around and heading for shore (thankfully).

It wasn’t my place to tell them what to do, not knowing their skills, etc. But, I’ve been in those conditions and know I can brace and roll with my kayak. Would have been tough to to rescue a capsized open boat.

Umbagog can be beautifully placid but also a churning mess of waves in the right wind conditions.


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It can get a little windy, but you can’t beat the views.

Earl makes the crossing

This is crossing the top of Umbagog heading west - the view is looking south. We got out early that morning, but I remember it being a relatively calm day anyway.

I had a reservation at one of my favorite sites (R28) in June, but couldn’t get out of work and had to cancel. It was a real bummer…

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I camped there once with a girlfriend, when we were both fairly new paddlers. We definitely experienced some significant chop one afternoon, but soldiered through it safely. Watching and listening to the loons was really quite special. Hearing the mosquitos “singing” on the screens of our tent at night was not quite as heartwarming and was surprisingly loud.

One rather odd thing was that when we landed on one small beach, I found what appeared to be an earthworm, but it was over 18" long and as fat as my little finger. I’ve never seen another one like it.

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Typical 16 inch on an Island in Scotland. Even bigger ones in Australia.

I’ve read that they can get up to 9 feet long in some areas of Southeast Asia, but until that day on Umbagog, the biggest I’d seen in the US were the typical “night crawlers” that are ~8".

i mentioned tha

I mentioned that I have been to Umbagog many times, here are a few photos


Dang, creepy!


Looks like ScottB is still part of your annual pilgrimage to Umbagog. :+1:


What campsites do you folks recommend?

They are all pretty nice. I have stayed at R9 on Big Island, R15 on Sunday Cove near the Rapid River, and my favorite island site R28 at the mouth of the Magalloway River. I have also camped at the Cedar Stump campsite on the Rapid River run by Northern Waters

I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them.

As I recall, campsites on Umbagog proper are 1 night only. Then you have to move. Years ago we didi that, but now we stay on the Rapid river, run by Northern waters. We stay there for 3 or 4 days. No need to pack up every morning.

You can book multiple nights at a single site. I had 3-nights at site 28 in June,

Thanks. I’ve only been up there once and only saw the south end, which seems to be busier. I wanted to check out the Magalloway delta, so I was thinking of booking R28 or R29 and putting in at the state boat launch on the Androscoggin. I’ve also read nice things about the sites over by Sunday Cove & Rapid river. Any good places to take the kids swimming (besides the campground obviously)?