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Kennebago River Paddle

This quick, beautiful paddle down the secluded Kennebago River is great for families and popular with visitors to the area. The calm water and stunning views make this a relaxing and enjoyable day paddle.
Trail Activity
Length
3.7 miles, One Way
Difficulty
Easy
Town
Rangeley
Surface
River/Stream
Pets
Permitted
Fees
No

Description

From the put-in, the Kennebago River slowly winds through uninhabited forests. The river is mostly flatwater, except for one short section of quickwater and rocks found about 0.1 miles after the put-in. It is best run by cutting to the far left before going back to the middle of the river to avoid the rocks on the sides. While this section has no big waves or strong current, it requires some quick maneuvering. The rest of the 3.75 mile paddle is in calm water around many meandering bends.The take-out is just beyond the ME-16 bridge on the left side of the river at a sandy beach.

This river is popular with fly fishermen, especially near the put-in, at Steep Bank Pool. Watch for wildlife in the many marshy areas along the river's banks. There are excellent birding opportunities for boreal chickadee, Blackburnian Warbler, Black-backed woodpecker in particular.

Other Information

Access to this paddle is provided by a 3,000 acre easement held by Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust, in partnership with the Stephen Phillips Memorial Trust, surrounding both sides of the river with conservation land for nearly the entire route. 

Private Property: Much of the land and many roads around the Kennebago River and Lake are privately owned. Respect the gates placed along the roads and do not trespass. 

Invasives: Boats and recreational gear should be checked before put-in and after take-out for plants and aquatic invaders.

Shallow Water: It is only possible to go a few hundred yards farther upstream than the Steep Bank access point, as the water becomes too shallow for most boats.

A downloadable map of the route is available at the Northern Forest Canoe Trail website (free for members!). 

Trail Manager

For more information, contact:

Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust

Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust
2424 Main Street
Rangeley, ME 04970
Phone: (207) 864-7311
srousseau@rlht.org
View website

Northern Forest Canoe Trail

Northern Forest Canoe Trail
PO Box 565
Waitsfield, VT 05673
Phone: 802-496-2285
Fax: 802-329-2239
info@northernforestcanoetrail.org
View website

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Trail Tips

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Keep Maine green and clean! Pick up trash, even if it's not yours. Leave soon-to-be trash like excess packaging, stickers, and twist ties at home.
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Trailhead Information

Put-in: Steep Bank Access. Head north off of ME-16 onto Boy Scout Road 1.4 miles west of Oquossoc. Follow the dirt road for approximately 2 miles. There will be a sign on the left for a boat launch. There are a number of steep steps down to the river and an outhouse slightly farther down the road. Park along the road and be sure not to block traffic.

Take-out: ME-16 Bridge. 1.5 miles west of Oquossoc on ME-16, there is a bridge that crosses over the Kennebago River. Park on the south side of the road in a gravel pull-off. There is a dirt path that leads down to a sandy beach.Parking is along the road, please use caution and be sure not to block traffic.

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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Trail Alerts

Trails
Private Property
This trail passes through private property. Please respect the landowner and protect future access by staying on the marked trail and following all rules.
Safety
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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