Date(s) Price(s)
August 10-13, 2023 $1100
September 14-17, 2023 $1100

Way of the Wabanaki Cultural Canoe Trip

We begin with a half-day paddle down the main branch of the Penobscot River to the Sugar Island cultural site. Then we spend two days on Sugar Island, where we learn about medicinal plants with Jennifer Neptune, Penobscot place names and the stories and meanings behind them, the history and culture of the Penobscots.

We’ll also watch drumming and singing demonstrations by Chris Sockalexis. You can weave your own basket, learn how a birch bark canoe is built, paddle in a birch bark canoe, and explore the surrounding islands.

On our last day, we canoe to Indian Island, for a tour by James Francis, director of Cultural, History and Preservation, and visit the Penobscot Cultural Museum. To view the trip itinerary, click here.



  1. All food and paddling, camping gear.
  2. Transport from Black Bear Inn, Orono.
  3. One Mahoosuc Guide.
  4. Two Penobscot Guides.
  5. Numerous Penobscot cultural educators for various activities.



  1. Accommodations at Black Bear Inn, Orono.
  2. Meals if needed 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 at 7:30 a.m. (after breakfast).

Meet other trip participants, load up into Mahoosuc van.

Drive to put in at public boat landing at Passadumkeag (about a 40 minute drive).

Load gear into canoes, paddle lesson if necessary.

Paddle 7 miles to Sugar Island.

Get settled into our base camp in either a lean to shelter or tent.

Campfire chat after supper with special Penobscot guest with some drumming.

Day 2 & 3

We will get to participate in some of the following activities during these two

days depending on interest of participants, weather, etc.

Canoe poling/paddling around the island.

Basket making.

Native plant tour.

Root club carving.

Flint knapping demonstration.

Birch bark canoes – how to build and maintain – most likely will get a chance to paddle one.

Shelter making.

Campfire chats sharing Penobscot history and culture.

Day 4

Pack up after breakfast.

Paddle to Indian Island, about 9 miles.

Visit interpretive display by gazebo.

Lunch at gazebo by the Penobscot river.

Visit the Penobscot Nation Museum.

Say our good byes to our new Penobscot friends.

Arrive to the Black Bear Inn by 5 p.m.