Maine trip recommendations

Looking for recommendations for a 4-7 day canoe trip in July in Maine. Nothing above Class 2 whitewater, unless portage options are available.

We plan on bringing our own canoe and gear, but will need a shuttle, so outfitter recommendations would be appreciated.

Allagash Trip
Chamberlain Bridge to Allagash Village. Norm L’Italien will do your shuttle. Norm is very reliable and a great guy. If you are coming from the south you could leave your vehicles at the put in and he will shuttle them around to the take out. Saves you a lot of time getting going at the start. Have an alternate idea in case water levels are too low, but it will likely be fine. Others may disagree but my feeling is a 17 foot royalex tripping canoe is best. Such as the Old Town Tripper, or Nova Craft Prospector. Seven days is not a lot for that trip but you could shorten it in a variety of ways if you are concerned about time.

West Branch of the Penobscot
including Lobster Lake, Black Pond and Chesuncook Lake if your trip is only four days.

Though Chesuncook can kick up now there are bail options at Chesuncook House.

Four days on the Allagash might have too expensive a shuttle for your party… Norm charges fairly but the shuttle is not short. The West Branch trip can be much shorter in shuttle time if you go back to Allagash Gateway Campground. Its about 45 minutes to the put in at Lobster Stream.

If you can make more time… seven days is a minimum for the Allagash, though I have done five day trips starting from Churchill Dam.

what kind of a water do you like?
lakes, ponds, rivers, streams? 2nd the westbranch- lobster, black pond option. You might also consider some no shuttle trips: putting in at caucamgomic dam and going up ciss stream (not hard) and exploring the further ponds: poland, dagget and exploring caucamgomic. Or moose river bow trip out of Jackman.

Keep in mind driving time

– Last Updated: Nov-08-14 12:52 PM EST –

Maine is a very big state. Even when we leave from Bangor and go directly to a put in that country (Allagash, St. John, West Branch Penobscot) it always seems to be early afternoon before we actually get on the water. Might be my group is slow? But it is a long drive even from Bangor.

I agree that 7 day is minimum for Allagash if you are putting in at Chamberlain Bridge and for my money I would save that trip for a day when you have 8 or 9 days so you don't have a so much time pressure. You can shorten the trip but in my opinion you miss a lot if you cut out the lakes which are the first few days of the trip. I also agree the Lobster Lake/West Branch is a real nice short trip with an easy shuttle. The trip makes a big U shape with the shuttle across the top of the U. One night on Lobster, one night on the West Branch and one night on Chesuncook. Nice trip. No carries. Same flavor as the Allagash. The Allagash involves a couple of very short carries.

One last thing. If you are looking for a hotel in the Millinocket area - there is a nice clean and relatively inexpensive hotel right after you get off the interstate as you head down to Millinocket. I think it is called the Gateway. Not 100% sure.

Thanks all
The West Branch trip fits perfectly. What’s the best planning resource and map source?

Longer trip, shorter shuttle
Starting the West Branch trip on Moosehead adds 40 miles to the trip, but nicely condenses the shuttle. In 2008, we started in Beaver Cove, crossed the Northeast Carry to the West Branch, and ended on the south end of Chesuncook.

We were told that for $20, a lake-to-river portage could be arranged through Raymond’s Store at Northeast Carry. I tried calling and mailing them to request shuttle reservations, but we ultimately found their service undependable and had to arrange a portage courtesy of some good Samaritans. Anyway, I doubt Raymond’s would have taken us to Penobscot Farm. The road had severe wash outs, so that is something to check on.

Without reservations, we walked into an evacuated (hurricane was coming) Chesuncook Lake House and rented a cabin at a bargain price, and by coincidence, arranged a bargain-price, car ferry back to Greenville, about an hour’s drive. I’m not sure they routinely offer shuttles, but as it happened, the proprietor, Dave, had to go into Greenville and offerred to take us along. The best way to communicate with Chesuncook House is by email. Had the Lake House not ferried us, we may have gone with Reeves Alligash Campgrounds (#123 in the Gazetteer, 207-723-9215, $75, without boat) or North Woods Outfitters (207-695-3288 – didn’t price).

This route needed no shuttle to the put-in, and only an hour shuttle to get out to where we left the car. That is not bad for a trip of around 90 miles.

I hear there is a road to Chesuncook House now. So, I guess you could get shuttled from there and skip paddling down Chesuncook Lake, rumored to get nasty if the winds are up.


Here is what I use.

– Last Updated: Nov-11-14 8:37 AM EST –

If you get a DeLorme Gazetter the campsites are on that too.


Because they are at the foot of Chesuncook Lake its a good idea to plan for more than one Chesuncook day in case of wind.

Chesuncook House will also shuttle but they are across from Gero Island and that is a shorter trip and a more costly and complicated shuttle.

The Golden Road used to be paved all the way from Millinocket to Allagash Gateway Campground. No more.. Some pavement.. mostly not.

For me coming from an hour north of Portland I go through Greenville. Its about 4.5 hours that way and a little longer through Millinocket. It does help that past Bangor the speed limit is officially 75 and unofficially three digits.

"It does help that past Bangor the speed limit is officially 75 and unofficially three digits."

Best to check your racks and knots pretty close.

what does that have to do with this
topic?? No need to lecture anyone. Past Cold Spring Harbor Rd… very little truck traffic.

At any rate not much truck traffic anyway past Auburn.


– Last Updated: Nov-11-14 6:49 PM EST –

It's just a little joke!

A dumb joke maybe. I'll grant you that.

No lecture intended! Sorry if it came off that way. I neglected to put the smiley face at the end! Sorry!


To the OP - if you are coming in with two vehicles you could do the shuttle yourself. It is quite short. It is a lovely trip. If you touch base with me via PM or EMail I'll point you to a lovely site for your first night out on Lobster Lake. The Maine Gazeteer is a good suggestion for maps - it is all I ever use. If it is your first time up there it can be a little intimidating and confusing but if you get in touch off line with a Gazeteer in hand I can walk you through the route to get in and out. Happy to help any way I can. I have paddled that exact trip many times.

fwiw…Allagash Lake area has campsites

– Last Updated: Nov-11-14 10:11 PM EST –

all around the lake. Moose, deer, Osprey, occasional eagle, brooktrout. It's ~9-10mi north of Black Pond via road, then you have a few trails in from the Round Pond area to the south.
The Allagash River enters and exits, some ice caves, a ranger tower(I think is still open for visits).
Views from Allagash Mtn...(but that was ~6yrs ago..not up on new growth).

*A little heads up on Round Pond(up Ciss Stream from Caucomgomoc)= not a place to setup camp, has a lot of exposed mud bottom around the northern shoreline = breeding ground for the heat of summer.
Other suggestion is fine...there are lots of nice water here & there and the DeLorme Atlas is one thing that is worth its weight & price. There's also a pretty little spring-fed pond 3mi SE of southernmost end of Lobster Lake(Blood Pond)..nice cozy warm name;-), in on the Spencer Mtn Rd, off the main road to Greenville..~7mi south of the GoldenRd)..fwiw. Moose, deer, Blue Heron, Osprey(haven't seen in ~4yrs) and brooktrout, hatches & blackflies on occasion;-). Lies just below the eastern end of Big Spencer Mtn...but may take unwanted time....but just throwing that out...

You know this is SERIOUS BUSINESS
Screw up in Maine the worst that can happen to you is you become the subject of a story.

Unless you are a genyoouine masshole. Those can be smelt from pretty far away.

No worries.

O hell just drive in N from round pond

– Last Updated: Nov-11-14 11:50 PM EST –

There is a road . It kinda peters out so that a high clearance vehicle is handy . Then there is a sign about a mile in with an arrow . It reads AWW. Follow it to the gate (about 1 mile). Unload. Park . The trail to the ranger cabin is grassy with a few muddy spots and entirely cartable. .7 mile. If you need lodging before your trip Loon Lodge has wonderful cabins and the option of meals.

You don't need four wheel drive for any of this but high clearance is a good thing.

Serious MassFool…
Went up to the western Maine camp for the first time in August into Labor Day. Noticed the new Maine Turnpike speed limit and really liked the time saved. However, coming back, I was so used to the new limit that I didn’t eased up crossing over the Piscataqua. Whammo! Hit a NH statie speed trap… I swear NH highway survives on MassFools who give up the cash on liquor stores, toll booths and speed traps.

Oh well. Ain’t too bad. My first speeding ticket in 40 years of driving.


MassFool in NH.