Date(s) Price(s)
May 13-19, 2024 $1,885

Guided Canoe Trips on the St. John (Wolastoq) River

The largest of Maine’s rivers, the Wolastoq (St. John), is reminiscent of the great rivers of the Canadian North. From Baker Lake, the river begins as a small stream, gradually growing in size and power as it flows near the Canadian border. The Wolastoq (St. John) is a great river to learn or refine river paddling techniques because the rapids become successively more difficult as we voyage north to our takeout at Dickey Landing. The river winds through some of Maine’s wildest and most remote country, so it’s no wonder the lynx chose this area to be their last home in the eastern lower 48 states. Other wildlife commonly seen on the Wolastoq are bald eagles, river otters, beavers, and majestic moose. To view the trip itinerary, click here.




  1. All food and gear (including sleeping bags, pads, dry bags)
  2. Transportation to and from Medway to river
  3. Minimum of 2 guides



  1. Transportation to Medway, Maine
  2. Overnight stays in motels in Medway, Maine
  3. Meals if needed in Medway, Maine

St. John River – Wildest Country in Maine

The St. John River, also known as Wolastoq, is within the southernmost extent of the great Boreal Forest. This is the wildest, most remote country left in the eastern U.S. and contains the highest density of Canadian lynx in the lower 48 states. For many avid wilderness paddlers, the St. John River is a must on their bucket list.

A Journey from Baker Lake to the Canadian Border

The St. John River’s Canoe Trip starts at Baker Lake and becomes more impressive as it goes north. Starting as a small, meandering stream, the river gradually grows in size and power as it flows near the Canadian border. It is very reminiscent of some of the big Canadian rivers that we have paddled in the past.

Progressive Rapids for Skill Development

As you paddle down the St. John River, you’ll encounter rapids that become successively more challenging. This unique feature makes the river an ideal progression for novice paddlers looking to learn river canoeing skills and experienced canoeists who want to refine their river paddling techniques. By the end of the St. John River trip, you will be much more competent and confident in your river canoeing ability.

Wildlife on the St. John River Canoe Trip

The St. John River’s remoteness is home to diverse wildlife, which offers many opportunities for wildlife viewing of North Woods animals.

North Woods’ Mammals

As you embark on the St. John River, keep an eye out for the elusive lynx, the last of their kind in the eastern lower 48 states. This rare sighting adds a sense of wonder to your journey through Maine’s wild landscapes. Other common sightings on the St. John River trip are moose, river otter, beaver, white-tailed deer, and, if you’re lucky, a glimpse of a black bear or coyote.

Birds and Waterfowl

The St. John River is also a haven for birdwatchers, with bald eagles and osprey often seen along the river corridor. The St. John River country is also the southernmost extent of many Boreal bird species, such as the Rusty-Winged Black Bird, the Boreal Chickadee, and the Black-Backed Woodpecker. Common waterfowl seen along the river include Common Mergansers, Goldeneye ducks, Wood ducks, and Black ducks.

Join Mahoosuc Guide Service on our St. John River canoe trip and experience the thrill of encountering diverse wildlife in their natural environment. Our guides will help you spot wildlife, enriching your wilderness adventure and creating lasting memories.

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 7:30 a.m. in Medway.

Drive to Baker Lake put in.

Review strokes/poling techniques depending on water level, practice river

maneuvers (eddy sets, ferries, etc.).

Travel 7 miles of  Class 1 & 2 rips to camp at Turner Bogan or Baker Branch.

Fishing up Turner Brook in evening.

Day 2

Pole/paddle mostly calm water, small rips.

Stop at Baker Branch cabin where Kevin spent winter ‘79 trapping.

Knowles Brook River Drive Camp.

Stop & look over old logging equipment at Knowles Brook.

Camp at Knowles Brook or Lower Ledge Rapids.

Day 3

Pole/paddle to Nine Mile Bridge.

Explore history of Nine Mile area cabins and border patrol cabin.

Camp at Nine Mile or Upper Seven Island.

Day 4

Pole/paddle to Seven Island.

Stop and explore old settlement of Seven Island.

History of settlement.

Continue on to lower Simmons Farm Campsite.

Day 5

Pole/paddle to Big Black Rapids.

Scout and run/line Big Black depending on water level.

Native American history of confluence of Big Black.

Camp at Big Black or Long Rips in p.m.

Day 6

Late start to allow for early a.m. fishing.

Pole/paddle to Fox Brook Rapids.

Camp at Fox Brook.

Day 7

Early start pole/paddle to Big Rapids.

Scout Big Rapids and run/line various sections depending on water levels.

Take out at Dickey Landing mid-day.

Return to Medway around 4-5 p.m.