First Debsconeag Lake is a 1.6-mile long lake within The Nature Conservancy's 46,271 acre Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area. The lake is connected to the West Branch Penobscot River by a narrow channel. In order to reach the lake, paddlers must travel from the boat launch through several braided river channels. First time visitors should print a map to assist with navigation.
First Debsconeag Lake has three campsites on the east end, each with their own private sandy beach. On the west end, there is one campsite and a portage trail accessing Second Debsconeag Lake. All campsites have fire rings, picnic tables, and pit toilets. Day-use and overnight visitors to these campsites should use leave-no-trace ethics to reduce their impact and preserve a primitive natural experience for the next visitor.
The Ice Caves Trail can be accessed on the north shore of Debsconeag Lake, a few hundred feet below a rocky outcropping visible from the lake. A small sign marks where the trail meets the lake. The sign is easy to miss, so pay close attention or bring a GPS showing the trail location. The Ice Caves are less than a half mile from the lake.
Paddlers seeking an extended trip may paddle into the Debsconeag Deadwater and the West Branch of the Penobscot River. See the Maine Trail Finder connector trail posting for the West Branch Penobscot River for more information.
Debsconeag means "carrying place," named by native people for the portage sites where they carried their birch bark canoes around rapids and waterfalls. The Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area contains the highest concentration of pristine, remote ponds in New England, as well as thousands of acres of mature forests.
For more information, contact the Maine Field Office of The Nature Conservancy:
From Millinocket: travel about 10 miles northwest on the Baxter Park Road and turn left at the junction marked "Allagash." This short connecting road quickly comes to the Golden Road; turn right here. Travel about 3.7 miles on the Golden Road and turn left onto the road marked "Debsconeag Area 4.5 Miles." This very rough road, not suitable for most vehicles, goes about 3.5 miles directly to the boat launch. HIGH CENTER VEHICLES ONLY.
Warning: the Golden Road is a private logging road, all visitors must yield to log trucks.
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