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East Branch of the Penobscot River: Grindstone Falls to Medway

Paddle the scenic and historic East Branch of the Penobscot River from Grindstone Falls to Medway.
Trail Activity
9.00 miles, One Way
Grindstone Twp, Medway, East Millinocket
Water - River/Stream


This 9-mile paddling trail begins at the Grindstone Falls Rest Area on the East Branch of the Penobscot River and heads downriver through aggressive and then gradually calming waters to the confluence at the head of the Penobscot River in Medway.

From the rest area on ME-11, the East Branch of the Penobscot descends over Grindstone Falls for 0.75 miles. The falls are long and challenging and it is recommended that paddlers of the falls have strong whitewater experience. For those seeking to avoid Grindstone Falls, there is a second parking area less than a mile south on ME-11 which provides hand-carry access to the river. For those paddlers who have paddled to this point from Hay Brook or Whetstone Falls upstream on the East Branch, there is a hiking trail connecting the two launching points.

Below Grindstone Falls, the river passes over Ledge Falls, a short but tricky drop, and then widens and slows. As the river approaches Medway, expect to see many other boaters on the water who have traveled upstream from the Medway Public Boat Launch. The takeout is on the right (west) side of the river a short ways before the large ME-157 bridge. 

Other Information

Changes in water level will significantly alter the condition of this paddling trail. Some portions may be unrunnable in low water conditions. Whitewater experience recommended.

Trail Manager

For more information please contact Katahdin Area Trails or the Town of Medway:

Katahdin Area Trails

Katahdin Area Trails
PO Box 669
Millinocket, ME 04462
Phone: (207) 723-5438

Medway Recreation Department

Medway Recreation Department
53 Main Street
East Millinocket, ME 04430

Phone: (207) 447-5645
View website

Nearby Events


Trail Tips

Dispose of Waste Properly
Wash your dishes at least 200 feet away from water sources, use biodegradable soap sparingly, and scatter the dishwater.
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Trailhead Information

To Grindstone Falls put-in: The Grindstone Falls hand-carry boat launch is located at the Grindstone Falls Rest Area on ME-11, 9 miles north of Medway and 16 miles south of Sherman.

To Medway Public Boat Launch: From Exit 244 on I-95 travel west on ME-157 for 1.5 miles. Take the first right hand turn after crossing the bridge over the East Branch of the Penobscot. Travel a short distance down the paved access road to a large parking lot on the right. Visible from ME-157.

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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Trail Alerts

Be a Safe and Respectful Paddler
Paddling conditions will vary according to the weather and season, so always exercise caution and always wear a lifejacket. With good judgment and proper equipment, the risk associated with paddling can be minimized. Respect the natural world and the rights of landowners, and be considerate of other outdoor enthusiasts. Paddlers should seek to avoid causing erosion, trampling vegetation, disturbing wildlife, and harming water quality.

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