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Water Trails > Northern Forest Canoe Trail

Northern Forest Canoe Trail

(NY, NH, VT, ME, Quebec)

Length: 740 miles
Where: Fort Kent, ME to Old Forge, NY
Accomodations: From primitive campsites, to lovely inns, with overnight options roughly every 15 miles.

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a long-distance paddling trail connecting the major watersheds across the Adirondacks and Northern New England. In the 740-mile traverse across New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire, and Maine, the Trail links communities and wild places, offering canoeists and kayakers a lifetime of paddling destinations and adventures.

The route's variety of flat water, swift water, and whitewater, on a range of rivers, streams, lakes and ponds provide extensive opportunities for canoe and kayak recreation. Vibrant communities along the way offer inns, B&Bs and camping facilities, as well as other recreational and heritage attractions.

Trail Facts:

  • Rivers & Streams - 22
  • Lakes & Ponds - 56
  • Carries/Portages - 62 (55 miles)
  • National Wildlife Refuges - 3
  • Towns - 45
  • Proposed Campsite Interval - 10-15 miles

Route Overview:

New York: 147 miles
From the western terminus of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail at Old Forge to the Saranac River is a classic paddle on waterways that make up the historic "Highway of the Adirondacks." The Saranac River is a scenic, challenging, route off the Adirondack Plateau.

Vermont/Québec: 174 miles
Lake Champlain is one of the most storied lakes in America, and very big. The Missisquoi River flows through farm country and enters Lake Champlain through a delta protected by a National Wildlife Refuge. The "Grand Portage" connects the Missisquoi valley with Lake Memphremagog in Quebec. The Clyde River flows through remote fens, but also has stretches of whitewater. The Nulhegan River drops through a National Fish & Wildlife Refuge on its descent to the Connecticut River valley.

New Hampshire: 72 miles
The Connecticut is placid as it meanders through a broad valley to the Upper Ammonoosuc River. The Upper Ammonoosuc is a fairly slow-flowing river with a few rapids. The Androscoggin is wide and swift with some rapids.

Maine: 347 miles
The Rangeley Lakes are large and surrounded by conserved forests and mountains. The South Branch of the Dead River provides a whitewater run when it has enough water to be paddled. Flagstaff Lake spreads out beneath the dramatic ridgeline of the Bigelow Range. The Dead River is placid until it tumbles over Grand Falls. Spencer Lake and Stream are remote and scenic. The Moose River flows through many lakes and ponds as it meanders to Moosehead Lake, which is the largest in Maine. The West Branch of the Penobscot is wide and slow and ends in the open stretches of Chesuncook Lake. The Allagash Wilderness Waterway is a spectacular ribbon of lakes, ponds, rivers and streams winding through northern Maine. The St John River flows through a scenic, international valley to the eastern terminus of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

Contact Info:

Northern Forest Canoe Trail
P.O. Box 565
Waitsfield, VT 05673
Phone: 802-496-2285 Watertrail Index

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