Maine - Moose River Bow

Anyone done this? I’m looking for some detailed info, namely on what kind of whitewater to expect and where to find a map. Also, when can one expect ice-out for that area? How about parking, is it safe?

Lots of Info Out There
I looked at doing the Holeb loop in 2003. Got up there and diverted to West Branch, Penob because there wasn’t enough water for the Holeb.

I had rec’d a nice brochure with a detailed map from Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. Call them at 207-287-3821 and ask them for it. The map is not as good as a quad, but probably all you need for this trip.

There was a TR on Northeast Paddlers Board by Norma Roche. They reorganized their board and the url doesn’t work (I just tried it). Go to and search around, it’s probably there.

Maine Parks and Lands also had some info on the web, not too detailed, but some.

Use your google skills, you should be able to find what you need. If not, drop me a line and I’ll run a copy for you. I still have the stuff tucked in the file. I’m still hoping to get there someday.

~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD

About all the information you need is here:

All the rips are short and usually navagable. If not - easily portaged. The portage between Attean and Holeb is the hardest part - approximatley 1 mile.

We did the loop in a leisurely 3-days.

Mosquito Rips is appropriately named - you have been warned!

You do need a fire permit from rangers in advance.

Email if you have specific questions.

Fab Site
Wow, that adventures in maine site does have it all! I love the way that site is organized with the pictures from the water of the various sites. That site gets a bookmark in hopes I eventually make that trip.

A bit worrisome is the “I love you” text that appears faintly in the photo of the Holeb portage. Hopefully, I’m not about to crash the system here at my job.


Looks to me like…
someone forgot to turn the “watermark” off on their camera.

It is a nice trip. Get in there and do it before Plum Creek wrecks the place.

I’ve seen that adventures in Maine link before, but just wanted to get some input from folks who’ve actually done it already. Thanks for the info.

More Answers…
We did the trip first week in June. The water was fairly high. I think the rips are short Class I and Class II. Winds on the lakes were tough - and this is a common complaint. As far as I know, there haven’t been issues with parking.

Ice out varies a fair amount but 1st week in May is close for most lakes in the area. Last time I knew there were two cabins at Holeb Falls for use (free). All they asked at the time was, “don’t burn them down”. No screens on cabin windows - see mosquito note above.

Have a good trip.

One more…
Thanks for all the replies. Can I get a fire permit through the mail, or do I need to get it in person?

Been going there since 1990
I try to do a bow trip in early May and again at the end of September each year.

This site has a good description of the Bow Trip.


PS the cabins at Holeb falls are
infested with mice. It seems as though the people who have used the cabins in the past havent been too good with cleaning up after themselves and the mice have congregated under the floors of the cabins. It would have to be pretty crappy outside for me to want to get a nights sleep in one of those cabins again. The little bastards were everywhere the one night I decided it would be wise to seek a roof over my head to escape some bad weather. It was dark by the time I carried my stuff through the portage and rather than set up my tent in a driving rain I opted for one of the cabins. Things started off ok. But as soon as I retired to my sleeping bag I heard them. Oh sure they’re tiny little harmless critters. But they walk with pretty heavy feet when your head is only an inch or two off a floor in the same room as you. The little bastards got into everything that night. A constant barrage, a large herd swarming, searching for the tinioest morsel, overtook me. First just one or two popping there heads out and sniffing around. You cant try to fight them. As soon as you move they scurry and reset. If you dont make a noise they wander in and all their buddies show up a minute or two later and join in. I spent the night listening to them running across the floor. Trying to kill them became a futile attempt at best. Dumb city boy let them get the best of me. Wasnt able to kill a single one of em though not through lack of effort on my part. I tried stomping on em, yelling at em, pleading with them, throwing stuff, all my heavy stuff anyways, even tried stuffing the holes they were coming through. I tried ambushing them from afar with a double kayak paddle or bowling for meeses with a water bottle. In the end they were too much and I gave up. After a while a guy gets tired. Occasionally I would catch some sleep but they are noisey little buggers. And not to shy about invading somebodys space. You here them getting close to your head. By you r ears. touching the ends of your hair. Kind of gets to you after a while when your tired. I should have just set up my tent in the rain.

Dont let me steer you away from the trip. It is as nice a trip as you could want. Just dont think the cabins are a great place to stay. They are pretty trashed.

The trip itself is always a pleasant trip that I enjoy immensely. I have it down to a two day trip. I try to make it to Holeb falls from Attean landing the first day and make it back to the car by the end of the second day. There is no way I would plan on doing that a group. I have never done the trip with anyone but if I did I would definitely plan on making it a three day trip.

Don’t try to use portage carts on the trails. They are utterly useless and just end up being more weight to carry.

For me, the Holeb pond carry is best done in two trips. The four mile hike takes me around 2 and a half hours. I have tried to carry boat and camping stuff in one trip but I aint man enough.

Moose river
I did this trip a few years ago with my daughter who was 13 at the time. The rapids are very small…nothing to worry about. The scenery is spectacular. I would cut out the portage…you can use Cry of the Loon outfitters for a shuttle…and canoe rental if you want. They are nice people and know the river well. It can be a little bit of tough paddling at points if the wind is in your face but it’s well worth it. It can’t imagine anyone would mess with your car up there but I guess yoo never know. All in all it was a great trip.