Northern Forest Canoe Trail

I did a quick search and didnt see mention of this. Its just opened to the public.

From the website:

“The canoe trail is a 740-mile water trail that follows Native American travel routes from Old Forge, New York, across Vermont, Québec and New Hampshire, to Fort Kent, Maine. In addition to being a paddling route, the Trail celebrates the history of the Northern Forest. Paddlers will be able to explore both the natural beauty of the rivers and lakes as well as the communities through which the trail passes.”

Can’t wait to get on part of it!

Official opening ceremonies on June 3rd though…


Looks good!
A long drive though from the west coast. I’ve been meaning to visit the northeast so maybe this will give me a reason. It would be great to paddle the whole route if it isn’t too crowded.

missiquoi in quebec
I’ve always wanted to paddle the stretch of the Missiquoi in Quebec. It’s a beautiful drive in the winter when we ski nearby. The map has good descriptions, etc. In mid summer, the levels may be a bit low. Wooded mountains nearby in Quebec. Further down in Vermont it’s a bit more open. There’s a rail trail in Vermont.


the adventure continues
My son and I paddled the new york section of the trail last summer.From Old Forge to PLattsburgh:146 miles;it was the best 9 days i’ve ever spent on the water.We’re planning on doing the next section;Vermont and quebec;sometime in August.Don’t know what to expect in those sections but am looking forward to it.Now if I were more computer savy I would post some great pitures,but better still,go see and enjoy it for yourselves,Iknow we will.

Another NFCT fan

I know a bit about the NFCT and have been section paddling it for 2 or 3 years now.

The trail has actually been “open” for years, but it is true that it is being formally dedicated this summer, with issuance of the final two trail maps.

I wrote up a little report form a multiday trip I made on the trail last summer with another p-netter. It is here:

There are a couple other trip reports out there, and on the news page of the NFCT is a link to a report by a trio in the process of thru-paddling this summer.

Does anyone know if you take dogs
on the route? I’m really starting to get interested in doing the whole route or at least a good portion of it. I take it you can bring canoe carts. It would seem like a good long canoe adventure.

dogs yes . Canoe Cart?
Only in some places. Better to portage than get stuck in the mud or worse try to manhandle the cart over roots and rocks. Sometimes logging roads are followed sometimes not.


– Last Updated: May-31-06 12:31 PM EST –

I agree. As a sectioneer, I have the luxury of considering what gear will best suit me on a particular section of trail. If a long portage is cart-friendly, so be it. I would NOT want to bring a heavy cart the whole distance, however, as there are too many place I'd end up carrying it (too).

Wow, a eight mile portage!
One of the things that I started to think about is if I don’t use a cart then I’ll probably have to make two trips. That isn’t too bad if you can safely leave your equipment while doing the portage. It’s one thing in Quetico, but I don’t like the idea in a more populated area.

I assume that most of the rapids can be lined or portaged? If I do the trip, I’ll be with my wife and two dogs with no other canoe for safety. We don’t want to run anything more than a class II (don’t have the skills) and would rather portage than take a chance.

Would a kevlar canoe be OK or do you need a Royalex for the trip?

Wood Canvas
The first thru paddle of the NFCT was done in a wood and canvas canoe the paddler built.

The material may be less important than knowing it’s limitations.

Wood Canvas
True, WC, It was great to read that a wood canvas canoe made the first “Thru Trip”

A few years back, I was sleeping in my truck at a put in after an all night drive, my wood canvas still tied to the roof.

A few youngersters stopped at my truck and mentioned that these wood canoes where “flimsy” and not capable of handeling the rigors of a northern canoe trip.

If I could have gotten my pants on fast enough, I would have given these fine young Canadiens a history lesson that included the names like Morse, Mason, Olsen, Thompson, etc. who set off in wood canvas canoes without anywhere near the support systems available today and made it back to tell us about the great places to see and explore.

Today, Too many folks see a wood canvas canoe and think “Mantel Piece”, yet they are still out there serving modern day trippers as they where made to do. A little care and common sense, and you can trip like they did in days past.

Kevlar vs other?
Depends on your experience and skills. Though, if you are on your own in a remote area, and doing white water with a load, I would take an adequate Royalex boat, a Z-drag set up, and maybe even an EPERB. Also set up your boat so that all gear is lashed in (packs will then act as flotation).

A kevlar boat would typically be up to the challenge in white water… as long as you don’t dump and wrap it around a rock. You can more often than not recover a Royalex boat, not so with proprietary lay up. This is a general statement, but most (not all) kevlar boats are built more with speed/flat water in mind compromising menueverability and sea worthiness. Skills can overcome that compromise in the right hands. A wood/canvas would be a better choice than kevlar (learn some minor canvas repair techniques). Wood/canvas is something I would love to do.

Good luck.

Going without any backup
canoes in a 18 ft canoe loaded canoe with my wife and two dogs, I’m not eager to run anything more than a class II. I have an kevlar Wenonah Champlain (not ultra light) and taken it on several trips, the latest a 123 miles on the Green River in Utah. I’m not really concerned about its strength, but more concerned about scraping along in rock gardens, which doesn’t bother a Royalex. but isn’t a good thing in a kevlar canoe. My other two canoes are Royalex so I know the advantages between the two layups. I doubt a wood and canvas canoe would be better than a royalex in the same conditions or lighter than a kevlar for portaging. Anyhow, I don’t own a canvas canoe and doubt if I could afford one. If the gas gods are favorable, I’ll be heading up to BWCA/Quetico for a paddle and can stop at Ely at the end of paddling season and possibly pick up a used Royalex tripping canoe if needed. My other two Royalex canoes are a solo canoe and a 15 ft Explorer which is too short for such a trip.

Wheels and Composites
Yes, the 8 mile portage is very cart-friendly. The designated route goes via some busy roads, as I understand it.

In general, I have been able to plot portage routes around major rapids. At this point, I plan to go around and Class 3+ on descent and any Class 2+ on ascent. In a couple of spots that I am aware of, however, a good portage route is not at all evident, due to steep banks, thick woods, and/or trespassing issues. These are in the Nulhegan Gorge (VT) and to a lesser extent on the South Branch of the Dead (ME).

Early in the process, I traded in my Royalex Wildfire for Kevlar. It has taken my abuse quite well so far.

Upriver in New Hampshire

I just returned from a few days of section paddling eastbound on the trail via the Upper Amonoosuc and Androscoggin Rivers in New Hampshire. If anyone needs information as to what one might expect travelling UP these NFCT sections, don’t hesitate to ask me.