Date(s) Price(s)
July 17-24, 2023 $1300 per person
August 16-20, 2023 $1300 per person
October 4-8, 2023 $1300 per person

West Branch Canoe Trip Description

This part of Thoreau’s route is an excellent wilderness trip for beginners through country rich in wildlife, logging history, and Native American history. There are no difficult rapids or portages on the entire trip. We also visit the historic Chesunook village, which Thoreau visited in 1850.

On most of our West Branch trips, we see moose, bald eagles, and occasionally black bears and river otters. Our comfortable campsites, located in the boreal forest along the river banks and lake shore, have picnic tables, outhouses, and stone fire rings.

This is the most popular introduction to Maine canoe camping we offer and an excellent choice for families. To view the trip itinerary, click here.







  1. All food and gear (including sleeping bags, pads, dry bags)
  2. Transportation to and from Orono
  3. Two guides



  1. Transportation to Orono
  2. Overnight stays in motels or bed and breakfasts in Orono

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

Day 1

Meet at the Black Bear Inn in Orono, Maine, at 7:30 a.m. for breakfast. Look at map together and pack up gear for the trip. Depart around 9 a.m. Drive to put in on Lobster Stream. Lesson about paddling strokes, loading canoes, and traveling as a group. Paddle to campsite on Lobster Lake.

Day 2

Paddle down Lobster Stream to confluence of the West Branch of the Penobscot River. Lunch at Thoreau’s Island. Camp at Big Island area. Fish or lesson about canoe poling.

Day 3

Paddle down the West Branch of the Penobscot to Pine Stream. Lunch and exploration upstream, if people desire. Paddle down to Chesuncook Lake. Stay over in area around Chesuncook Village with beautiful views of Mt. Katahdin. Walk around village and see historic cemetery.

Day 4

Paddle down Chesuncook Lake. Camp at Mouser Island with beautiful views of Spencer Mountain. Last night together and on an island! Good swimming, poling, or fishing.

Day 5

Paddle to take-out at south end of the lake, visit the museum if it is open. Load canoes and gear. Have lunch. Drive back to Black Bear Inn in Orono. Arrive around 5 p.m. Say good-byes.