Summer is here and one of my absolute favorite adventures in Maine is exploring the 347-mile section of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) contained within our wild and wonderful Pine Tree State.
The trail is truly one of the Northeast’s most spectacular natural features. Starting in the Adirondacks, the NFCT runs 740 miles through multiple states, even crossing into Canada at one point, until it ends in northern Maine. In total, the canoe trail connects 22 rivers and streams, 58 lakes and ponds, and 45 communities.
The Maine portion, which is by far the longest section, enters the state on the western border and runs all the way north to its terminus on the Canadian boarder, and is — in my totally unbiased opinion — the gem of the entire trail system. I love it because no matter your skill level or mood, it is impossible not to find something exciting. From lazily paddling across Spencer Lake, to taking an adrenaline-inducing plunge into the West Branch’s most nefarious whitewater, I promise you will never have a dull moment.
Whether you are feeling ambitious and decide to tackle the whole portion in the state or just a chunk of the trail, I suggest taking a break at one of the campgrounds speckled along the shores of various lakes, ponds, and rivers. South Arm Campground, in Andover, and Moosehead Family Campground, in Greenville, are two of my favorites. Both offer the quintessential camping experience, with friendly staff and beautiful pine forests, perfect for nestling a tent in. South Arm Campground is even situated on picturesque Lower Richardson Lake.
While the NFCT is amazing and an adventure I highly recommend, there are so many other fun, exciting, and captivating water expeditions in the state. If you’re in Bar Harbor this summer or fall, check out Coastal Kayaking Toursand National Park Sea Kayak Tours. The folks at both companies are awesome and super experienced. Taking a day kayak tour with either of them gives you a uniquely stunning perspective on Acadia’s rocky coastline, as well as the possibility of an up-close encounter with the wildlife that calls the area home.
If you didn’t quite get your canoeing fix on the NFCT, check out Allagash Canoe Trips in Greenville. As the name suggests, this outfit of highly skilled, fourth-generation canoe guides offer guests an unforgettable journey along the Allagash Waterway. A little insider secret: Book a trip in early summer to get an extra two days of paddling, replete with amazing trout fishing, a stopover at Little Allagash Falls, and ice caves to explore.
While in Greenville, I would also suggest taking a scenic flight with Currier’s Flying Services in one of the company’s beautiful seaplanes. There are numerous flight options, each offering spectacular views of Maine’s most scenic and remote locations.
Whether you want to canoe, kayak, or camp, Maine is the place. The waters are clear, the forests are wild and beautiful, and the people are friendly and knowledgeable. So, hopefully, I will see you out there this summer.