Moose River Bow

Who can give me the lowdown on the Moose River Bow trip? I was hoping to solo the Allagash this spring, but it turns out that I’ll have less time off work than I expected. I’d rather wait and do the full 90+ miles of the Allagash than settle for a piece of it.

Is the Moose River trip a worthwhile alternative? Much of the literature describes it as “popular.” How popular? Should I expect crowds and competition for campsites in late May? Are water levels an issue? Most people seem to do it over three days (two nights). Any advice on stretching it to three nights? Is the river section shallow enough for poling? Any advice on campsites?

Thanks in advance!

More Info
If you go to you’ll find a bunch of folks who have done it and will probably answer questions. Best I can offer.


done it many times
as its close to home. Blackflies may be out. Water will be too high to pole but bring it anyway.

If there is rain forecast there is an upper level parking lot with easy portage to Attean Pond.

Don’t risk flooding your car. I have seen a few loose on the pond while their owners were canoeing.

Even in August I don’t see that many people. Kids will still be in school in May and city folk cowering not wanting to meet the blackfly.


A roof over your head
is available at the end of the portage trail around Holeb Falls. It was put up and maintained by a timber company. It is about 50 yards off the end of the portage trail, to the left, and not visible from the trail. I spent a cozy night in there while the rain beat down on the roof and the camp sites flooded.


Drunken Fools
Best to go early or midweek before school gets out for solitude. We have run into serious drunks a few times. One guy must have thought he was on American Idol because he was singing all night at Holeb Falls. Another fellow missed his planned takeout at Spencer and drove his little aluminum motor boat complete with case of beer down to Attean, over the falls, and then back up the falls clanging and banging his boat and motor the whole way. That fella was well primed.

We have been a few times and it is a nice trip. Hopefully, you will have the place to yourself.

Allagash Lake?
Thank you for these helpful replies. Another idea is to paddle up Chamberlain to Allagash Lake, returning the same way. Three nights out. Is it folly to think I can pole/paddle up Allagash Stream at this time of year? I assume the flow would be pretty strong in May. Is there a relevant gauge? Thoughts?

stretching out the moose…
I did the bow trip 3 or 4 times in the early eighties. We used to portage on the rr tracks- but I’m pretty sure that was stopped for good reason. Nothing like throwing a tripper over the bank when you hear an oncoming train to create excitement before scurrying down the bank after it. You mentioned stretching it out- that was my favorite part- descending on down the Moose through Long pond, then the rush of whitewater below the demo road, paddling across Brassua, portaging the dam, on through Rockwood, paddling past Kineo on Moosehead before descending the east outlet (more whitewater) before ending the trip at Indian Pond. That trip had a bit of everything on it (ponds, big lake, river, ww) and was also cool because you could get ice cream and other snacks in Jackman and Rockwood and also on the shuttle ride in Greenville. A real treat if you’re out paddling all summer- 3 ice cream stops. I paddled the east outlet 3 years ago and portaged back up- the lower part of trail near Indian Pond was pretty much nonexistant- bushwacking with kayaks until you get to some campsites just before the gravel road.

Do it…you’ll enjoy it
Previous trip posts here somewhere, as well as on