There is paddling in every part of Maine’s Kennebec Valley. Serene ponds, manmade lakes, wide rivers, and vernal streams all work together to form the watershed for one of Maine’s largest river systems. Up north, the Bow Trip is a welcome counterpoint to the froth of whitewater rafting. Wyman Lake, set within view of the Old Canada Road Scenic Byway, is a 12-mile-long widening of the Kennebec River that makes for ideal paddling. Likewise, Moxie Pond is one of the loveliest lakes offering paddlers the chance to explore unspoiled coves, forested islands, and views of the region’s surrounding mountains.
Inspiring Paddling Trips
While there are countless locations for excellent paddling in the Kennebec Valley, here are a few to get your next paddling adventure started.
Flagstaff Lake: This large, manmade lake sits at the base of the Bigelow Range and just to the north of the Appalachian Trail. Undoubtedly, Flagstaff Lake makes for a great one-day family paddling excursion. Whereas, for a longer multi-day exploration combine the lake with the 12-mile excursion along the Dead River to Grand Falls. Put in at Long Falls Dam.
The Moose River Bow Trip: One of Maine’s most famed paddling trips is the Moose River Bow Trip. Spectacular scenery and great fishing make this a truly memorable trip. The 2 to 5-day wilderness paddle begins on Attean Pond, hooks to the Moose River, then goes back around to where you began—with only one portage. Additionally, a quick hike to the top of Sally Mountain will provide a broad view of Attean Pond.
The Belgrade Lakes: The Belgrade Lakes is easy to get to, and even easier to enjoy. For this reason, they have all the makings of a classic Maine paddling trip. Using Belgrade Village as your base, try Great or Long Pond to explore many coves and islands. Next, Hike the hills at the north end for a panoramic view or tour the south end of Messalonskee Lake for birding. Certainly don’t miss the Antique Boat Parade held here each Independence Day.
The Kennebec River: The river slows its pace as it widens to the south. Skip packing a lunch and grab something tasty along the way in Augusta, Hallowell, or Gardiner. It is easy to simply tie up and walk into town. While on the water pass by Old Fort Western, spy bald eagles, or watch for massive prehistoric sturgeon as they breach the river’s surface.
Other Great Trips
China Lake: West of Augusta the beautiful shoreline and deep blue waters of China Lake make for an excellent day of paddling, Furthermore, the lake is a nationally-recognized bass-fishing destination.
Wyman Lake: This large and beautiful lake is easily accessible from Moscow’s town dock. While you are there, visit the Carrying Place Stream and Houston Brook Falls. Maybe explore the islands scattered around the lake.
Northern Forest Canoe Trail: The NFCT offers paddlers 347 miles, including some of the Kennebec Valley’s iconic experiences: Flagstaff Lake, Dead River, Attean Pond, Big Wood Pond, Moose River, Long Pond, and Brassua Lake.
Paddling is an escape. Therefore, it is an ideal way to disconnect from the world’s manic pace. Being on the water allows you to simply go with the flow. Additionally, Life from this vantage point is great for spotting wildlife and birds. An Autumn foliage paddling tour makes for an unforgettable trip.