Western Maine paddling ?

Wife & I are finally gonna visit Maine. After some time in Acadia we hope to visit & paddle in the Umbagog-Rangely & perhaps on to Flagstaff area of the NFCT. Their website & “places to paddle” here offered very little info. I have the AMC river guide to Maine but looking for some specific recommendations as to best paddling & backcountry camping locations. We’re fine in class2+ water have no problems/objections to long portages.

Hoping Kayamedic & others will supply info/advice on “must paddle” places in W Maine. Thanx

…have to voice my $.01…

– Last Updated: Jul-26-09 10:15 AM EST –

A few areas/lakes: Rangeley, Mooselookmeguntic, Richardsons...Flagstaff = Are nice. (PC_filtered)

(heh heh) If you’re OK about class 2+,
take a late morning run from Carry Brook to Forks on the Kennebec. No portages.

I’ve been wanting to paddle the
St. Croix along the NB border. (Not western Maine, I realize.) St. Croix has enough water all year long, campsites along the route, and rapids are not savage.

Lots do you want a lake or river or

You can do sections of the Androscoggin River.


Or canoe in the Rangeley area


South Arm manages sites on Richardson and Stephen Phillips Memorial Trust on Mooselookmeguntic

Flagstaff Lake and Dead River to Grand Falls and back is a good moose watching opportunity. Its about a fortyish mile trip though you can do a day trip on the Dead for 12 miles round trip and launch from below Long Falls Dam.

You will need a Maine Atlas and Gazeteer…its got information on the boat launch sites.

For less busy than Umbagog try Aziscohos Lake in Maine nearby.


Want whitewater? Try the Androscoggin around Errol NH and Pontook Dam.

Maine is a paddling paradise
You can find paddling everywhere in the state. Just decide what you want to do: ocean, big lakes, small lakes, whitewater, small streams.

The Rangely Lakes are big lake paddling, unless you stay in the nooks. Personally, I don’t care for big lake paddling – to much wind, waves and powerboats.

I also recommend the DeLorme Maine Gazeteer. It has an extensive section on the most popular canoe trips. You can also just look at the maps to seek out smaller lakes that seem to have stream connections, which is what I like most.

This book is good for quiet water trips:


Unfortunately not this year
for Western Maine… Pleasant Pond campsite is flooded and the road to Brownfield Bog, never good, is passable only by a tank.

If you do get the AMC Quiet Water Guide or happen to look at it in a bookstore, even though it is not great for western Maine it has a gem… Look up Donnell Pond near Acadia. Its got backcountry campsites and two of the best mountains for views. Plus it is more than a mile trip but its not a huge lake…

I also recommend the Ellis River between the covered bridge in South Andover and the junction with the Androscoggin if you have two cars. No shuttle services that I know of.

Well if you’re thinking about Donnell
might as well check out Tunk and Spring River Lake - in the same general area - about a half hour east of Ellsworth -

Thanx for the help
Really appreciate the replies

This will be our 1st trip to Maine. A bit spoiled here in Adks w/ the fee & reg free backcountry waterfront camping. Had been intimidated by what I’d learned about all the regs, permits, & fees (even to drive the rds?)in ME. Also, in alot less driving time we could well into the wilds of N Ontario.

But we’re excited to see a bit of what ME has to offer the paddler. Will definitely pick up the Gazetteer & find some smaller streams to explore in Rangely area. Aziscohos looks good, too & will likely include the Bow trip. Hope it’s not mobbed mid-week ?

Thanx again

Permits tolls etc,
First off some of the finest canoeing is in what is called the North Maine Woods.


Maine is 95 percent private land. There is comparatively little state and federal land.

Those dirt roads in the North Maine Woods are ergo private and subject to toll. Its fair to levy a toll as no federal or state funds are used for road maintenance.

Campsite fees again are becasue you are camping on someone elses land…

Bureal of Parks and Lands does have some acreage of public lands…

Camping is generally free and if you stay on public roads there is no toll. A possible Western Maine trip would be the Moose River Bow trip if you have three or four days available and dont mind a couple of lengthy portages (longest is 1.25 miles)… Its near Jackman. Free

Here is a website to link to Public Lands


Kim & others
Thanx again for great leads !

Although we managed to secure a modest rooom near Acadia to celebrate our 40th anniversary, we got shut out of campground. Another CG in park doesn’t take res. So, reviewed Donnell pond info & phoned Bureau of parks & lands (very helpful & accommodating) New plan is to camp there or @ Tunk & enjoy area while trying to get into other Acadia CG. After we’ll paddle W ME inc Bow trip

This cloud did have a silver lining thanx to your advice

Seawall is nice so you might take a spin
but unless its really nasty the line up forms overnight! People actually sleep in their cars overnight.

I love Acadia and visit every year. In December.

the st.john is up
a rare opportunity to paddle her in the summer. i wish i had time off to run her now.

Western Maine paddlin’
I’ve just returned fron the area you are talking about and we had a great time in spite of the weather. We did have one spectacular day on Flagstaff Lake. We paddled about half way down the lake and camped on Hurricane Island on our first day. We had an easy second day and paddled to the new Flagstaff hut which is part of the Maine Huts and Tails System.


If it is in you budget it’s a very nice place to stay, only accessable buy canoe and hiking.

We were lucky to have a relative in the area to shuttle our car to the east end for us, you would have to paddle back or figure out a shuttle.

I also did a solo two day trip on the Moose River from Jackman to Rockwood on the NFCT. Again this was very nice in spite of some bad weather. I did a three mile portage but if you’re comfortable on Class II+ you may be able to run the rapids at Demo road to avoid the carry. I spoke to a youth group in Rockwood who had run them and they did have a boat dump.

The Rangeley to Richardson trip is wonderful but I did it in the off season to avoid boaters and camping regulations. Big lakes with big wind potential.

All the rivers and lakes were up as of last week due to all the rain. The Bow trip should be good but may be crowded at this time of year with camp groups.

A very nice overnight may be to go in the Spencer Road and paddle south on Sp[ender Lake and Spencer Stream to Grand Falls, you may be able to work out a shuttle with one of the outfitters in The Forks.