The shoulder months of May, June, September, and early October are the best times to paddle the Allagash.

July and August can often feel “crowded” by the large number of guided groups and organized groups (plus unorganized groups!), such as scouts and other youth groups. In the peak visitor months of July and August, you’ll need to be at your campsite by early afternoon or you may end up paddling well into the evening to find a campsite.

In this guide, we’re going to tell you why these are the best times to paddle the Allagash River. We want to help you plan a trip you’ll remember forever. So whether you’re someone who loves the outdoors, or someone just looking for a peaceful getaway, there’s an Allagash trip waiting for you.

Best Times to Canoe the Allagash River: May, June, September, and early October

Thinking about Maine’s weather, river flow, crowded times, wildlife spotting, and fishing opportunities during the shoulder months? Here are some important considerations for your Allagash River Canoe Trip.

  • Seasonal Weather Conditions & River Flow

After the spring snow melts, the large headwater lakes are typically full and provide good paddling conditions throughout May and most of June.

If it is a dry spring, water levels in the river could begin to drop as early as some time in mid-June. You can check the Allagash River flow data by visiting the USGS website. CFS levels of 700 or above provide excellent paddling conditions.

  • Avoiding Crowds

If you’re looking for a peaceful, crowd-free adventure, consider the shoulder months of May, June, September, and early October.

July and August tend to be the most crowded months on the Allagash River, often detracting from the tranquil wilderness experience. Our guided trips aren’t offered in these months specifically to enjoy the solitude.

  • Colors of Fall

During the September and early October trips, you get to see the spectacular colors of fall. The changing foliage paints the landscape with shades of gold, red, and orange, creating a picturesque backdrop for your canoe trip. It’s a spectacular scene that captures the heart of every adventurer and nature lover.

  • Wildlife Encounters

The Allagash River is renowned for its abundant wildlife, especially the majestic moose. For the best opportunities for wildlife encounters, we recommend the shoulder months (May, June, September, and early October) because there are fewer people on the river to scare them away from the shoreline.

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  • Insect Activity

June can be quite buggy; however, by wearing brightly-colored clothing and/or bug shirts, it is very manageable. We have found Ole Time Woodsman Fly Dope (No DEET) to be very effective.

May trips are highly recommended to avoid the first batch of bugs that usually appear in the last week of May. By September, bugs are few and far between.

  • Fishing Opportunities

For avid anglers, we recommend the period of mid-May through June as well as the last week of September just before the season closes.

Brook trout are most actively feeding from mid-May to the end of June and in the last week of September as the water has cooled enough for them to become active again.


Choosing the best time for your Allagash River canoe trip plays a crucial role in the kind of experience you have. The shoulder months of May, June, and September through the first week of October each have their unique advantages, from exciting water levels, vibrant wildlife, and serene surroundings, to enchanting fall colors.

Regardless of the month you choose – May, June, September, or early October – each offers a fulfilling experience on the Allagash River. Prioritizing peace and serenity, these months ensure you avoid peak-season crowds and maximize the opportunity for enriching wildlife encounters.

Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a nature enthusiast, a bird watcher, or an avid angler, these months promise a memorable adventure. Ready to embark on this journey of a lifetime? Explore our Canoe Trips on the Allagash River in Maine and start planning your adventure today!