New England Wilderness Tripping

-- Last Updated: Aug-04-12 5:03 PM EST --

Interested in wilderness tripping class I and II in New England.
Prefer primitive campsites to state campgrounds
I was just in Adirondack Park in August and realized that this is hard to find.
Not as interested in flatwater as mentioned in earlier posts.

Not all are “wilderness” but…
Check out the Northern Forest Canoe trail. Allagash, West Branch of the Penobscot, Moose River, Moose River Bow Trip, Missisquoi, West River White River, Machias, Upper CT. River, Androscoggin, St John river, Dead River, and probably more.

Not all are passable in the summer

Good list
The list that Mister123 provided is as good as any you’re going to get. Most only have intermittent whitewater if any. The St. Johns and the Allagash are your best bets. The Androscoggin too…but that isn’t really much wilderness. There is some good whitewater on the Missisquoi in Vermont, but again, it is intermittent, and campsites are few, far between, and each has their own issues, like long paths, slugs, no fires allowed, etc.


Go to, join, and
use their national river database.

Class 1-2 I’ve done in New England includes the Housatonic in CT, the Androscoggin in northern NH, the White in Vermont, and the run from Carry Brook to Forks on the Kennebec. All are relatively short runs, fairly unscarred though not wilderness.

I think you’re setting your criteria wrong.

Go to Maine
Allagash, St. John or Machias. St. John and Machias are spring only. Allagash has little white water but it is a jewel. Wonderful mix of lake and river travel. Don’t miss the lakes which many cut out for some reason I have never understood. The other New England stuff is in pretty settled country - not going to get a wild feeling. There are others in Maine - but these three will not disappoint. Be sure to verify water levels.

a few more off the radar

– Last Updated: Sep-25-12 11:08 PM EST –

possibilities in Maine: Aroostook River from Millinocket Lake to Masardis, Sebois River from the Grand Lake Road to the East Branch of the Penobscot taking out at either Whetstone or Grinstone Falls. The North Branch of the Penobscot from Snake Pit to Pittston Farm is another possibility. All of those trips are somewhat water dependent. These are more likely to run in late May and Early June (when the blackflies are bad) The Sebois trip has one portage but is considerably easier than putting in on the East Branch of the Penobscot at the Wilderness Campground. The East Branch Trip has multiple portages around pitches, class 2-3 whitewater and is one of my favorites but it is fairly strenuous and you need to be willing to step it up to class III. It is runnable most of the summer. East outlet of the Kennebec into indian pond is also frequently runnable as well but is just a few miles long with a very long shuttle route. Catch it on the low side for class II, on the high side for class III. Webster Brook is very remote (within Baxter State Park) but requires flatwater paddling on part of Telos and all of webster lake. There's also a portage around the pitch and below Telos Dam unless they're releasing and you have solid class III skills. It requires campsite reservations with Baxter Park and class II+ skills on the brook itself. Again, most of these runs are seasonable but do come up frequently in the summer after some rain. One of great things about being off the radar, a bit more remote, is the lack of permits. Baxter requires reservations for Webster Brook, and the North Branch is part of NMW so you've got all kinds of fees. But the East Branch, Sebois, and Aroostook only required fire permits. Some of these steams I haven't paddled in 20 years. You can get more up to date advice on the North East Paddler Message board. Do your homework and buy a Maine Gazetteer and bring the Ole Woodsmen, you'll need it!

West Branch of the Penobscot
You can put in at Sebomook Roll dam and enjoy an overnight down the West Branch and take out at Chesuncook Village. There is new public road access there.

There are campsite fees and access is on a tolled logging road.

lots of choices in Adks
So where didya go in Adks that was so disappointing ?

wilderness, New England
For anything and all about New England wilderness (strictly speaking, semi-wilderness) canoe trips, look up the Appalachian Mountain Club and its books on Maine rivers and streams. Good class 1 and 2 rivers in my experience are the St. Croix, Moose River ‘bow’ trip (Attean Lake, portage to Holeb Pond, Moose River back to Attean Lake), and the West Branch of the Penobscot.

NE rivers
Wow you guys are making me wish I lived in NE in the summer. Great list of destinations.

I guess the days of
little known remote areas remaining little known and remote are pretty much done. Still, even today, there are some special spots.

Even popular areas in the summer are remote in the fall.

I spent five days in the Grand Lake Stream area…covered fifty miles and saw not a person.

Timing, yeah. And some luck
I have done several August trips down the West Branch Penobscot. Usually find other people in Lobster Lake, but hardly anyone ever shows up between there and Chesuncook when I’ve been there.


I’m interested! I’m planning a trip on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail which has all kinds of water. Diana