Date(s) Price(s)
May 28-June 2, 2024 $1,650 per person
June 25-30, 2024 $1,650 per person
September 23-28, 2024 $1,650 per person
October 7-12, 2024 $1,650 per person

Allagash River Canoe Trip

The Allagash River Canoe Trip is the most famous of Maine’s rivers. It was established in 1966 by the state legislature to protect its “forever wild” status. In 1970, the Allagash was the first river to receive the US Department of the Interior’s Wild and Scenic River designation. Our most popular 6-day Allagash trip starts at the head of Long Lake and continues to our take-out in Allagash Village, often referred to as “Moose Town.”

The Allagash River is suitable for beginners and provides the best moose-viewing opportunities of all Maine river trips. We schedule our Allagash canoe trips on the shoulder months (May, June, September, and early October) to avoid the summer crowds. We also allow for more days on the river for a given section than most outfitters to have time to enjoy the country. If you want a relaxed paced trip with time to fish, swim, and explore artifacts from the logging era, come with us! The highlight of every Allagash trip is a leisurely lunch at the spectacular 50-foot Allagash Falls. Fishing on the Allagash is best in late May to mid-June or the end of September. Campsites are rustic but comfortable, with fire pits, outhouses, and picnic tables. To view a trip itinerary, click here.

Custom Guided Allagash Canoe Trips

If you want to explore more of the Allagash country, we can design a custom Allagash canoe trip based on your interests and availability from 5-9 days long. Popular options are:

  • Allagash Lake and Stream to Allagash Village: recommended for fishermen/women. End of May through mid June is the optimal time for this trip. (8-9 days)
  • Chamberlain Lake to Allagash Village: This route traverses the entire Allagash Waterway. (8-9 days)
  • Round Pond (Henderson Bridge) to Allagash Village (4-5 days)
  • Retracing Thoreau’s Journey: Webster Stream and the East Branch of the Penobscot River to Whetstone Falls (5-6 days). Thoreau referred to Webster Stream as “somewhat like navigating a thunder spout.” If you like whitewater, you’ll love Webster Stream!
  • Custom Allagash Fly Fishing Trips: We are available to guide fly fishing trips on the Allagash for those avid anglers who would like to fish their way down the river. Please contact us for custom rates and scheduling, which can range from 5 to 7 days in length.

Call or email Polly or Kevin for custom Allagash dates and rates.

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  1. All meals and paddling and camping equipment
  2. Two guides
  3. Transportation to the river from the Black Bear Inn in Orono


  1. Transportation to the Black Bear Inn
  2. Personal clothing for the Canoe Trips
  3. Overnight stays at the Black Bear Inn

Allagash River Canoe Trip: Maine’s Most Famous Wilderness Canoe Trip

The word “Allagash” is an anglicized version of the Wabanaki word, which means “camp on the lakeshore.” We have been guiding the Allagash River since 1973, which was Kevin’s first trip up the Allagash. That’s right! You read it correctly. He poled up the Allagash, where he was duly informed by every downriver party, “Hey, you’re going the wrong way!”. That was the old timer’s way of teaching Kevin how to pole a canoe; as he said, “The best way to learn a river is to go up it”. We never tire of sharing the beauty of the Allagash River with our guests.

The Allagash River Canoe Country

The Allagash River country was the traditional winter hunting and trapping area of the Wabanaki people. During very dry summers, when the lake levels are very low, you can still sometimes find evidence of their winter hunting camps in the form of chert hide scrapers and percussion-flaked arrow heads, especially in the area and islands of Eagle Lake, some of which date back 12,000 years. The citizens of Maine voted in a referendum to protect the “forever wild” status of the Allagash River and, several years later, the Allagash received the first US Wild and Scenic River designation. The Allagash River trip is one of our most popular canoe trips. Putting in at the thoroughfare of Long and Umsaskis Lake, we canoe 55 miles north to the take-out at Allagash Village, which locals refer to as “Moose Town”. The Allagash has consistently proven to be our best river trips for wildlife watching; moose, bald eagles, and osprey are commonly seen. We will stop at several sites along the way to view artifacts from the logging river drive era and visit one of the oldest homesteads along the waterway that most people do not even know exist.

The Best Times to Paddle the Allagash

We schedule our Allagash River canoe trips during the shoulder months (May, June, and September) to ensure a more peaceful experience, avoiding peak-season crowds. Paddling during these months also offers the best chances for wildlife encounters, as moose, deer, and other animals are not scared away from the shoreline by the crowds of canoeists in July and August.

May & June

In May and June, the river levels are generally higher due to melting snow and spring rains, making paddling easier and more enjoyable as there are less obstructions in the rips. These months also provide the best opportunity for bird watching, as migratory birds return to establish their territories, nest, and raise their young. For birders, the Allagash country is the southernmost extent of the many Boreal bird species, including the Rusty-Winged Black Bird, the Boreal Chickadee, and the Black-Backed Woodpecker. May and June also provide the best native brook trout opportunities.


September offers a unique experience as the fall foliage begins to change, creating a stunning backdrop for your canoe trip. The cooler weather also makes for more comfortable camping conditions, with fewer bugs and more manageable temperatures.

Our extended itinerary allows for a relaxed pace, giving you ample time to fish, swim, explore historical artifacts from the logging era, and just do some good ol’ plain relaxing. For those interested in fishing for native brook trout, cooler water temperatures during the last week of September allow for better fishing opportunities.

Camping & Stargazing Along the Allagash River

Our campsite locations may vary based on water levels, weather, and wind. However, each campsite offers a rustic yet comfortable experience with fire pits, outhouses, and picnic tables. One of the highlights of camping along the Allagash River is the opportunity for stargazing. Nationally recognized as a dark sky area, during New Moon conditions, you will see the brightest Milky Way you have ever seen in your life. If you are very lucky, you may even get to witness the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights.

For trip itinerary, click here

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Custom trips

Mahoosuc Guide Service can design custom Maine canoe trips for families, youth groups, clubs, or organizations from one to 10 days in length. We can also design trips to retrace any part of Henry David Thoreau’s route, including Webster Brook and East Branch of the Penobscot River. Contact us today to discuss your group’s interests, abilities, goals, and available dates.

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Safety and Basic Information for Canoe Trips

All our Maine canoe trips are fully outfitted and guided by Mahoosuc Guide Service’s owners Polly or Kevin. We provide all the food, camping, paddling, and cooking equipment, as well as a detailed clothing list to help you in packing for your trip. Most of our trips meet in Orono, Maine (just north of Bangor). We provide transportation to and from the river. Many of our canoe trips require no special physical conditioning. If you have any concerns about the physical requirements of a trip, please contact us.

On the Trip:

We are experienced teachers and will help you master the art of canoeing by teaching paddle strokes and poling techniques. You will learn how to set up a warm dry camp, and if you want, how to cook and bake over an open fire. All our food is natural or organic, and we source much of our food locally. Natural history, wildlife viewing, and fishing will be covered as your interests warrant.


You are in safe hands with Mahoosuc Guide Service. With more than 40 years guiding experience from Maine and Quebec to the Yukon Territory and Alaska, we have an excellent safety record. We are certified in Wilderness First Aid and Wilderness First Responders. We carry a satellite phone for emergency communication!


Trip Itinerary

Where we camp on the river varies greatly, depending on water levels, weather, and other travelers on the river.

Day 1

Meet at the Black Bear Inn in Orono, Maine, at 7:30 a.m. after breakfast.


Issue necessary gear (sleeping bags, foam pads, life vests, dry bags).

Drive to put in at Umsaskis Lake.

Introduction to canoes, paddles, loading canoes, and strokes.

Paddle to first campsite at Long Lake.

Day 2

Lesson in paddle strokes and river travel.

Travel to Round Pond.

Day 3

Brief history of Native Americans, loggers to Wilderness Waterway.

Travel to Five Finger Rapids area.

Day 4

Check in at Michaud Farm.

Travel to Allagash Falls Campsite.

Day 5

Leisurely morning to enjoy Allagash Falls.

Travel to Twin Brooks area.

Day 6

Travel to take-out at Allagash Village.

Drive to Black Bear Inn in Orono. Arrive around 5 p.m.

Say good-byes.