Week long trip suggestion, NE USA

I hate being the person who joins a forum solely to ask a question, but my research hasn’t gone well over the last week of countless hours of browsing the web for this information, so I thought I would come here and see if anybody can help me, and perhaps help others with my knowledge in turn.

Myself and my brother are looking to do a 5-7 day kayak trip. I’ve done a good 20+ hours of web surfing and can’t find something to fit my basic criteria. I’m not thinking that maybe I’m asking too much, and/or a place like this doesn’t exist, but I’m not ready to quit yet. My criteria is:

1.) Within ~8 hour drive of Philadelphia, PA

2.) Secluded. Someplace beautiful and peaceful. We want to loose ourselves in the outdoors and don’t want to paddle through multiple towns, hear the roar of traffic, see numerous other people, and things like that. Having to go through a town or two over the course of those multiple days is acceptable (and around the half way point would be ideal so we can resupply).

3.) Water level high enough in mid-August for a 12’ kayak loaded with gear (will be carrying food and camping supplies, but will be filtering water so that weight won’t sink the kayak lower at least).

4.) Limited portages. We want to spend our time in the water, not sweating carrying our gear and kayaks over land. A couple ~hundred yard portages are always expected though.

5.) Enough distance on the river/lake(s) to last us 5-7 days

6.) No white water (Class I and II are OK, but we’re not that experienced and our kayaks don’t have water skirts or anything).

So that’s it. So far I’ve found a couple contenders but they’re not ever remotely meeting everything we’re looking for. We’ve looked at the Clarion River in NW Pennsylvania, but that is still a pretty built up area, and the water is supposed to be pretty polluted so I’m weary about the safeness of drinking it (even with a filter and pen system). St Regis in the Adirondacks seemed very nice but every extended trip seems to have just as much hiking our kayaks over land as paddling. There’s been several in extreme Northern Maine, but that’s over 12 hour drive away which is pushing it.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

doesn’t exist
A trip meetiong those Criteria doesn’t exist in within 8 hours of Philly. If you are willing to loosen your criteria up there are lots of possibilities.

How far?

– Last Updated: Jul-10-09 10:04 AM EST –

How far would I have to travel to have more options?

And which one of my points is making this the hardest to find what I'm looking for? I'm guessing the secluded part. I am also willing to loosen my criteria; they were just listed to give people an idea of the ballpark type of trip I'm looking for.

distance and whether or not
you need a loop trip.

Some of the river trips in Maine require extensive shuttles.

Within ten or so hours you can be in the 1000 islands in St Lawrence Islands National Park (there will be some boat traffic) Algonquin Provincial Park, a little farther up in Ontario is the French River Provincial Park…

Or you can go to the Adirondacks and run part of the mainline route. If you pick well you can do for example from Long Lake to Saranac Lake. There is one long portage and the rest can be avoided by the judicious use of car spots. Two cars are required but there may be shuttle services

You can do Moosehead Lake and not do any portages. This can be a rough lake however.

Same for West Branck of the Penobscot, Lobster Lake and Chesuncook… Because its wild and big… I suspect your 12 foot boat loaded with gear is not a good idea in Chesuncooks four foot waves.

Allagash has a portage service around Chase to avoid those rapids. But you need to watch the water levels…too high and its not possible to stop. Again a car shuttle is needed . There are shuttle services for one car for West Branch and AWW.

Most of the Saco River aside from weekends is pretty wild. Its a hundred and change miles long in Maine.

Saco is near my house. Philly is nine hours from my house. Allagash put in is five hours the other way That puts things in perspective.

Driver a little farther from Philly;
the possibilities for paddling become almost endless.

Two places of which I am especially fond are the

Canadian Thousand Islands


and Cranberry lake, NY



Good ideas so far
Thanks for the suggestions so far, I now have some homework to do.

We’ve done the Thousand Islands before (two or three times), and it truly is beautiful. We’re also looking for a river trip (don’t want to be on a large body of water, or lake). The Maine trips sound great so far; and we’ll be taking two cars probably so getting from the end to start point won’t be a problem.

If you are willing to add a few hours to your drive, you can’t beat the Allagash. A few very short portages and no rapids to speak of. Chase Rapids are not too difficult (class II), but there is a portage service if you want to avoid them.

It’s a hard trip to beat for scenery, wildlife (including moose, loons, otter and bald eagles), and solitude (our first time there we didn’t see another human for three consecutive days).

Your best bet is to hire someone to cart you and your boats to the put in and then you can paddle back to your car.

Check with North Maine Woods

– Last Updated: Jul-11-09 11:22 AM EST –

as to the condition of the logging roads.None are paved, and we have had a fair amount of rain..do not know if there are washouts best handled by high clearance vehicles. And they may change year to year. DeLorme Atlas should be from this year.

It will be about a 110 mile drive over rough roads..do you want to do that several times? Each way takes about three hours.

I recommend a shuttle from Sean Lizotte of Allagash Guide Service or Norm L'Italien from Pelletiers Campground They can leave your cars at the take out and drive you all in one van to the put in.

There are still a couple of large lakes even if you put in at Chase. Long Lake is just that.

Seems to me that you have put in more qualifiers..now its no large bodies of water. That is relative. Chamberlain is largish being 18 miles long and two wide. Long is probably seven miles long and proportionately narrower.