Canoe Trips

All of our canoe trips are fully outfitted and guided by 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 (just north of Bangor) the first day of the trip. 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 particular trip please contact us. 


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 of our food is natural or organic and we source much of our food locally. Natural history, wildlife viewing, and fishing will be covered as guests interests warrant.


With over 40 years guiding experience from Maine and Quebec, to the Yukon and Alaska you will be in safe hands with Mahoosuc. We have an excellent safety record and are certified in Wilderness First Aid and Wilderness First Responder. Due to the remoteness of our trips we carry a satellite phone for emergency communication.


Mahoosuc can design custom trips for families, youth groups, clubs or organizations from 1-10 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. Give Polly or Kevin a call (207.824.2073) or email: to discuss your groups interests, abilities, goals and available dates.



Traveling by canoe is the most natural way to see the Northwoods and its wildlife. Our wilderness canoe trips provide instruction in traditional northern canoeing and camping techniques developed by the Wabanaki People and later by Maine Guides. Use of a setting pole for shallow river travel, native paddling techniques, and baking sourdough bread in a reflector oven are several examples of these techniques, which are becoming lost with time. We offer most of our wilderness canoe trips on the northern rivers of Maine; the Allagash River Canoe Trip is our most popular, but we also guide the Penobscot, St. John, and the Moose. By previous arrangement, we are also available to guide the Machias, St. Croix, Aroostook, and any other area you wish to explore. Late summer finds us migrating north to Quebec for our Canoeing with the Cree trip. This is a rich opportunity to travel with a Cree family, the Bosums, in their ancestral homeland they call Chitchinnu (our garden). New this year we are offering canoeing/cultural experiences with Penobscot Natives to Sugar Island in the Penobscot River. This will be a rare opportunity to spend time learning about some of the ways of the Wabanaki people. We offer shorter 1-3 day canoe trips into Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge;  contact us about scheduling and available dates.



Before the Bugs – May 14 – 19th $1225

After the Bugs – September 5 – 10th $1225

Fall Foliage – September 26 – October 1 $1225

Understandably Maine’s most famous canoe trip, the Allagash is in many ways the most representative of its canoe country. It is rich in wildlife such as moose, otter, eagle and osprey and historic artifacts from the river logging era. The rapids are beginner level, and the only portage is around the spectacular 50 ft. Allagash Falls. We choose to paddle the Allagash at times of the year that avoid the crowds and the bugs. 

group at Allagash falls 9:15!IMG_0233

We are available to do custom trips on the Allagash river June through September on dates that meet your schedule. We require a minimum party size of four. Contact us for dates of availability. We also offer custom family trips on the West Branch of the Penobscot during this period.




May 16-20

The upper East Branch is the most spectacular wilderness river in the northeast. The many falls and gorges are interspersed with majestic views of the Baxter Park Mountains. The trip starts at the outlet of Lake Matagamon. The Maine River Guide Program is designed for those wishing to become registered Maine Guides and guides wanting more experience on technical rivers. All aspects of canoeing and camping will be covered. Some of the topics will include: poling, portaging, lining, campcraft, cooking and baking, fly fishing, setting up a warm and dry campsite, northwoods natural history, and whitewater techniques/river safety. The East Branch is ideally suited for a guide training course. There are numerous Class II and III rapids and four portages. It is well worth the effort for the privilege of canoeing the East Branch.



May 22 – 28

The Abenaki knew it as Wallastook, or “Beautiful River” – and it is! Largest of Maine’s rivers, the 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 St. John is a great river in which to learn or refine river paddling techniques because the rapids become successively more difficult as we voyage north to our take-out in Allagash Village. The St. John winds through some of Maine’s wildest and most remote country;  small wonder that the lynx has chosen this area to be his last home in the eastern lower 48 states.


 June 5 – 9


The headwater of the Aroostook river is an excellent native brook trout and land locked salmon fishery. We’ll spend 5 days slowly fishing our way down to the main confluence of the Aroostook. Early June water temperatures should provide plenty of action with frequent hatches. Since we’re traveling by canoe, we can concentrate our fishing on the least accessible stretches of river. To maximize our fishing time we will be based out of two different cabins on the river. Don’t miss this opportunity to fly fish for native brookies in a remote and wild region of Maine.


June 19-24


 The Miramichi River is world renowned for its Atlantic Salmon runs. This trip will combine the best of both wilderness canoeing and fly fishing for salmon. We’ll spend four days on the river fly fishing our way down.  Daily paddling distances won’t be much, but you’ll get to see some spectacular and seldom visited country. Legendary local guide, Kevin Silliker, will be guiding this trip with us. We’ll do either the Little SW Branch or the NW Branch depending on water levels and where the salmon are running. Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity.


brooks and wife


The Rapid River is nationally known among fly fishermen/women for it’s Native brook trout and land locked salmon fishery. We will be base camped in woodstove heated canvas wall tents at the outlet of the Rapid river. From there we have easy access to 3 miles of the river up to Pond in the River. Minimum party size of 2; with a maximum of 4 is required. Recommended times are late May to third week of June and last week of September.



August 17-20 and September 14-17    


This is a canoe trip that will bring you to a cultural immersion into the world of the Penobscot First Nation. Jason Pardilla, a Native Penobscot, will be guiding the trip with us. We will begin with a ½ day paddle down the main branch of the Penobscot River to the Sugar Island cultural site. We will spend two days there where some of the activities could include learning about medicinal plants, Penobscot place names and the stories/meanings behind them, history and culture of the Penobscots and demonstrations of drumming and basket making, exploring the surrounding islands. On our last day we will canoe down to Indian Island where we will receive a tour of Indian Island given by James Francis, director of Cultural, History and Preservation and conclude with a visit to the Penobscot Museum.

wigwam and long house




July 15-19



Loon Lodge

Loon Lodge, operated by Ray and Leslie Cooley, is located just 3 miles south of Allagash Lake. This area is rich in its diversity of northwoods wildlife. We will explore some seldom visited areas by canoe, looking for moose, deer, otter, osprey, and eagle. Each night we will return to the lodge for a delicious home-cooked meal. This trip combines the comfort and hospitality of a traditional Maine sporting camp with abundant wildlife viewing opportunities.

Yukon River, Alaska

July 14-21




-2The Yukon River is Alaska’s largest river; a landscape of huge proportions. Canoeing the Yukon is a classic Alaska wilderness experience, full of striking scenery and rich with history. A week on the river is a timeless experience suitable for novice paddlers and seasoned explorers alike.

This year we have a special guest who lived on the Yukon in the 70’s and who can bring the history of the river alive. This trip is a perfect combination of wilderness and cultural history; a journey through time and a timeless journey.



 August 22-26
$ 850


This trip retraces part of Thoreau’s voyage through the Maine woods with his Penobscot guide, Joe Polis.  This part of Thoreau’s route offers an excellent beginners’ wilderness trip through country rich in wildlife, logging history, and native American history. There are no difficult rapids or portages on the entire trip. An added feature is the opportunity to visit historic Chesunook village which was visited by Thoreau in 1850. This is the most popular introduction to Maine canoe camping we offer, and it’s an excellent choice for families (children 15 and younger 25% off).



July 24 – 29

We’re offering a new women’s trip to the Northeastern Maine lakes region. Local resident and Maine guide, Sue Szwed, will be guiding this trip with Polly. Some of the lakes we will explore include Sysladobsis, Pocumcus, West Grand Lake, and Junior. Time will be spent learning about the edible and medicinal uses of plants that grow in this area. Sandy beaches, interconnecting lakes, and the surrounding mountains make this area unique. Another added attraction after the canoe trip is the Grand Lake Stream Festival, July 29 – 31st, with crafts and music all weekend.


(3 Days)
August 4 – 6


This is a unique paddling experience in one of Maine’s most beautiful lakes, where the surrounding mountains provide a spectacular panorama in every direction. We will paddle down the Magalloway River to Umbagog Lake and to the mouth of the Rapid River, camping close to a bald eagle’s nest and hiking on the foot trail that parallels the river. We will finish the trip by paddling down the Androscoggin River to our take out north of Errol, New Hampshire. Sandee Conley will be co-leading this trip with Polly and facilitating yoga exercises throughout the weekend.



August 26 – September 2

$2650Cree guides, Anna & David Bosum

Quaking bogs, black spruce, woodland caribou, northern lights welcome us to the land of the Cree! This trip offers our guests a rare opportunity to travel with a Cree couple, David and Anna Bosum, through their ancestral homeland. Several days will be spent in the Cree Village of Ouje-Bougoumou learning more about the Cree language and culture. We will also do a tour of the Cree Cultural Museum. Learn traditional northwoods canoe traveling techniques with the people who developed them.


June 2 – 4  $250



This course is designed for people with little or no whitewater canoeing experience. It is also highly recommended for anyone who has no formal training in whitewater technique. Price includes lodging, meals, and paddling equipment. Participants are asked to arrive by 7 p.m. Friday. The course will cover the following topics: canoe design and handling properties, whitewater strokes, whitewater equipment, safety, self-rescue, group management, throw bag use, river hazards, river reading and scouting, paddle signals, and maneuvers, including eddy turns, peel outs, ferries, side slips, and surfing.


call to schedule dates (3 days)

This course was first developed in 1984 to train Outward Bound Instructors how to respond to a swiftwater emergency. It is designed for guides, instructors, trip leaders, and whitewater paddlers who have no formal training in modern whitewater rescue techniques. The course is experiential in nature; participants should be comfortable paddling and swimming in Class II+ whitewater.

Price includes meals, lodging, and paddling equipment. Participants are asked to arrive by 7 p.m. on the first day listed.

The Course will cover the following topics:

  • River Safety
  • River Hazards
  • Rescue Theory
  • Rescue Types: Shore, On and In Water
  • Swimming Rapids
  • Rescue Equipment
  • Strainers
  • Belayed Swimmer
  • River Entrapment
  • Boat Entrapment
  • Boat Rescues
  • Advanced Throw-bag Use
  • Conscious vs. Unconscious Swimmer
  • Unpinning Boats and Haul Systems

There will be several live accident simulations that participants will need to respond to. 

 Children under the age of 13 are 25% off all canoe trips.

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