Upper West Penobscot

I have a scout group that wants to kayak for 2 days in Maine. Camping near Baxter State Park. Want a moving river, but not white water. Class 2 may be too much. Heard about the Upper West Penobscot at Lobster. Will this be crowded at the end of July? Will it be moving? We hope to see wildlife, etc…Any suggestions? Oh Yeah, how will the bugs be?

Tks for the help…jrdgang

West branch
The West Branch is a fine trip. It will probably be crowded in July, there will be bugs, the river will be moving, there is no class II, if you don’t see wildlife I would be surprised. It’s really not very near Baxter or anywhere else for that matter, plan on some driving and plenty of fees. If you want to pursue the trip get the Northern Forest Canoe Trail map for the area, Map 11.

Might wanna try the Big Eddy 4starters

– Last Updated: May-31-11 5:05 PM EST –

Ditto mister123,
Once on the Golden Road the West Branch(Rip Dam on downstream) is accessible the whole way. The Big Eddy could possibly be a good place to start looking at...the depth over most of the Eddy isn't really deep(except in main channel of standing waves).
If the Eddy is overly busy...the Roll Dam stretch(below Seboomook Dam stretch) has comfortable stretches alongside campsites. Both would, imho, be well worth checking out. There's plenty of water below Abol Dam downstream for miles as well...I'm NOT familiar with all that water below. A few falls but in between you always have a chance for more quiet sections. I believe the dirt road on the south side just as you cross over Abol Bridge follows the river downstream for miles....fwiw. ~22mi drive on Golden Rd to Lobster Trip Road turnoff...(~14mi past Caribou Checkpoint) or Seboomook Dam road....maybe more like 35?
Moose are out at anytime but odds are best towards evening, deer @dusk. Animals usually will opt to stay away from crowds of visiting people and they'll vacate areas that are under the siege of logging. They're usually out to find specific food...so the less disturbance you(or crowds throughout the day) make, the more they'll usually accept your presence = the more you'll see. Golden Road hugs the West Branch from Ripogenus Dam downstream...so get down there and the group can enjoy just hanging out at various spots...

A tiny Big Eddy video (mother's day)
my apologies for the dull pixel quality...still have the cheapest Canon...and forgive the narrative, had previously hiked ~4mi with a few friends from MA = brain a bit fried! Check em' all out = several from near Cribworks and last one is Nesowadnehunk Falls....


I am unclear if you want to
just go up to Lobster Lake and back along Lobster Stream or go down the West Branch to Chesuncook.

All the way to Rip Dam from Lobster Lake is some fifty miles…43 if you just launch from the Lobster trip and bypass the lake.

There is usually no current on Lobster stream though I have see it flow both ways…after ice out things are sometimes wild.

If you go down to Chesuncook Village you will need a shuttle…if you go from Lobster to Rip you will need a shuttle too.

Yes there will be bugs. Come prepared. They are simply part of the North Maine Woods.

One poster alluded to the cost. Well the roads are private and not maintained with tax dollars and there are campsite fees as well as toll charges.


West Branch Penobscot

– Last Updated: Jun-07-11 10:23 PM EST –

The West Branch Penobscot above Chesuncook Lake is a fine trip. I think it can be "crowded" during the spring and fall fishing runs especially, but otherwise "crowds" are relative. You may see a few folks. I spent a week on Lobster Lake once the first week in August once and saw one other person - a Ranger.

The rapids below Ripogenus Dam can be very serious depending on the water level.

The fees for the State of Maine Penobscot Corridor are collected by North Maine Woods, but are different than North Maine Woods fees if that makes any sense.

Bugs are Bugs. Make peace with them, feed them, enjoy the woods, sprinkle them on your oatmeal, bring some dope if you need it. ;-)


If you plan to spend much time driving on the roads, bring a good spare tire. I lose a tire every trip or so.

Thought he said they were camping
near BSP…y/n? Big Eddy section is “along the way” en route to the Lobster Stream/Roll Dam section… Maybe he did mean BSP in the general area = my fault…:wink:

Not your fault
The OP is describing a very big area for an overnighter…maybe a classic case of map reading and seeing Maine as 1x2 inches.

Probably 2 hours each way drive from BSP to Lobster including check in at Caribou.

Kinda wish we had feedback from the OP. I don’t remember much of the sections below Rip Gorge. Did it in a raft and ran the Cribworks under the raft :frowning: so I cant specify the gentler sections.