It looks like I may be moving to Maine later this year or early in 2005. I’ll be living in the Presque Isle area. I know the Allagash is not far from there. What other spots are there for paddling in the area. I usually do rather long day trips and like wilderness paddling for anything from 2-3 days up to a week.
Pick a spot
Look at a map. There are literally hundreds of places to paddle. I’m not really sure without looking at one myself, but I think there’s a place called Great lake not too far away. Anywhere in Maine should be less than a days drive. And it’s so full of lakes, rivers and swamps you should be in paddlers paradise up there.
Ditto on Dancingmouse’s Reply
Aroostook County is known as “The County” and has numerous lakes, streams, and ponds that are definately considered “wilderness”. Buy a DeLorme Map of Maine (get the book version) and have fun. An interesting read is Thoreau’s book about paddling in Maine (Can’t think of the title at the moment). Enjoy, Laura
East Grand Lake?
I cycling up to Orient, ME from NJ on a bike tour (we cyclied into New Brunswick too) and spend some time at a friend’s camp (cabin) at East Grand Lake in Orient ME and there is that lake and North lake in Canada, as well as some lakes south of East Grand.
We went out in an old (circa 1930’s Old Town Canoe) but he had some rec. Old Town Loons there so I took a spin in one on the lake.
Maine is awesome for paddling since ever lake of a certain size has to have a public boat launch.
That’s the name!
Not Great lake but East Grand lake, that’s the one I was trying to think of. Beautiful! And full of Salmon, big ones!
Get the Guides
AMC publishes good Maine Flatwater and River Guides. Latch on to them and the DeLorme Atlas and you’ll have plenty to keep you busy for 2 or 3 decades.
Paddler’s “Paradise” (And Anglers…
too). Get the Delorme Mapbook. It gives lakes, rivers, backroads, camp sites, launches, etc.
What a selection of paddling opportunities, from ponds/lakes, rivers to the wide open ocean.
Learn to love winter and pick up some winter sports: x-county, downhill, snowshoeing and, if you really must, snowmobiling. If I ever retire up there, I would have to build a big garage or barn with an indoor workout room.
The waterline at East Grand is very low this year, something to do with the paper mills downstream requiring water that was underpredicted so the folks that control the dam had to lower the spillway to allow for more water to go downriver, hence the lower levels.
There are a couple of islands in the middle of the lake where it is legal to camp on with picnic tables and firerings already established.
I grew up in upstate NY and lived in the Pacific NW and Germany for several years. I’m looking forward to strapping on some boards again. Both downhill and xc. I’m not much for motorized recreation, but doing some web research on the area revealed 2,000 miles of snowmobile trails. That’s kind of tempting.
Snowmobiling Is A “BIG Deal…”
up there. Folks go off in "convoys" near my camp in western ME and ride all the way up to Canada and back. I don't feel the same thrill but they create these networks of trails that you can actually x-country ski on. Just make sure get off the trail ASAP as soon as you hear the snowmobiles... Oh, you'll 'em hear quite awhile before they get to you.
You can typically pick up free brochures for the official snowmobile trails at most fish and game stores, or places of that sort.
You can also pick up a pretty good Maine Bike Map which lists shoulder widths and traffic densities. it’s from 2001 but it covers most of the state and county roads for the whole state.
I cycled from NJ to Orient, ME just this past 2 weeks and we went from Kittery to Orient using published Adventure Cycling Associate maps and also the state bike map. Even so, the route that are marked the worst are not that bad as long as you don’t hit it at rush hour. And of course, Route 1 is super trafficy in the summers (and also closed to bikes from Brunswick to Bath so you have to go around that section).
That’s good to know as I am an avid cyclist. More off road than road riding these days. Maybe those snowmobile trails will be good mountain biking trails in the summer! Of course when will I find the time to bike with all those Maine paddling destinations!!!
Just be careful to check the regulations and postings on the part of the snowmobile trails you wish to use. Much of the snowmobile network crosses private land and it is up to the landowner to decide what type of access he/she will allow. Many ban motorized, wheeled vehicles (4 wheelers), others ban all wheeled vehicles, and some ban all non-snow access. Large tracts of Maine are probably more forgiving than NH and VT, but remember you're on their property.
So true Jeanne
They wont even let a bike go through the gates on the Golden road. If you have a bike in your vehivle you will be asked to leave it at the gate. I think that kinda rules out several million acres of Maine for bicycles.
At Baxter State Park bikes are allowed but only on the main roads.
Much of the snowmobile paths in Maine are simply not passable for anything once the snow is gone. Not even the knareliest four wheel drive trucks. The annual 10 feet of snowfall covers the piles of rock the make up much of the trails. Even hiking on some of them is way more work than it is worth.
No bikes on the Golden Road…
I didn’t know that. Any reason given for the ban? I had a great time riding the gravel roads in Pittsburg, NH. The Carriage Trails in Acadia are great in the off season; too busy on some of them for my taste in the summer. My bike, canoe, hiking boots, and fly rod have pretty much been abandoned since I discovered sea kayaking. At least the camera is still seeing some action.
I’ve snowmobiled a couple of times in three locations - Fort Fairfield, Rangely, and Colebrook, NH. The trails and facilities for snowmobilers are extensive in northern and western Maine. I enjoyed it, but prefer the peacefulness and pace of snow shoeing.
I think the no bike rule comes from
the truckers that are dealing with driving at 50+mph carrying a triple trailer full of logs on gravel roads that really don’t want to deal with chuckleheads on bikes that don’t feel like they have to get off the road when a truck roars by. Purely speculation on my part.
It might also be that mountain bikers have a tendencey to end up on their heads and bleeding all over the place. It would really be a drag to be hurt out there.
Hey, it’s their road. I guess they can do whatever they want. Sucks that I can’t use a bike for a shuttle. That would be ideal on the West Branch trip.
Keep a mirror handy especially for all those logging trucks coming from up north. You can get a really good suction from them but you also don’t want to be that close if you are at some speed.
I have a friend in Stockton Springs so even though I obviously wasn’t hauling my kayak, I had a chance to borrow hers for a day. Breaks up the cycling a bit to spend time on the water than on a bike seat.
A much better time to go anywhere near the coast is in the fall. Honestly, there’s too much traffic on Route 1 in the summer for my liking. A lot of it is pretty wide but going through some of the resort towns like Kittery or York, it gets sketchy. Still safe but a little hairy and probably kind of harrowing if you’re not used to it. I’m a bike commuter too so I’m used to riding in heavy traffic.