Northern Forest Canoe Trail: Section 11

The 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail traverses some of the most scenic paddling country in the northeast. Section 11 of the trail includes historic canoe routes on Moosehead Lake and the West Branch of the Penobscot River into Chesuncook Lake.
Trail Activity
42.30 miles, Normal
Rockwood Strip T1 R1 NBKP, T6 R14 WELS, T6 R13 WELS, T5 R14 WELS, T4 R14 WELS, T4 R13 WELS, T4 R12 WELS, T3 R12 WELS, T2 R12 WELS, Spencer Bay Twp, Seboomook Twp, Sandbar Tract Twp, Beaver Cove, Piscataquis County Island, Northeast Carry Twp, Moosehead Junction Twp, Lobster Twp, Little W Twp, Lily Bay Twp, Kineo Twp, Greenville, East Middlesex Canal Grant Twp, Days Academy Grant Twp, Chesuncook Twp
Water - Lake/Pond, Water - River/Stream


This section of the NFCT is characterized by dramatic features and a rich history. Moosehead Lake is the largest lake in Maine, boasting the striking Mt. Kineo. Thoreau traveled this section of the NFCT, writing of his trip in the posthumously published "The Maine Woods." The historic Katahdin steamship was used for logging until the 1970s and today provides summer cruises. The Northeast Carry was used for centuries by Abenaki and early white settlers to access the West Branch of the Penobscot River. In the historic Chesuncook Village on Chesuncook Lake – accessible only by boat or float plane – paddlers will find amenities to ease their trip through the wilderness. 

In order to safely experience the Northern Forest Canoe Trail in this region, please bring the NFCT Section 11 map with you on your trip. The Maine Trail Finder is not intended to be a comprehensive resource along this trail.

Other Information

To learn more about this region and plan your trip, visit the Northern Forest Canoe Trail website. There you can:

  • Buy waterproof maps and a guidebook, which describe local regulations and attractions
  • Use the Trip Planner Map Tool to locate outfitters, guides, and other amenities 
  • Learn about the trail and its unique history
  • Become a Northern Forest Canoe Trail member or volunteer
  • And much more!

Specific rules apply to the many campsites in this region and many require a fire permit. For more information about local regulations, please refer to the official map.

Camping and access sites along this section of trail are a result of NFCT collaboration with the following partners and landowners: Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, North Maine Woods Inc., and private landowners.

Private Land Consideration: Many trails are comprised of both public and private land. Trail organizations work to secure landowner agreements and maintain public use through stewardship and maintenance efforts. Each campsite, trail, and access point may have a different code of conduct required by trail users. More information about specific user requirements and guidelines can be found in the resources -- website, map, or guidebook -- provided by the trail manager. As a trail user it is important to understand and uphold these codes of conduct to allow future use of these locations.

Trail Manager

Visit Northern Forest Canoe Trail online for more information or contact:

Northern Forest Canoe Trail

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

Nearby Events


Trail Tips

Minimize Campfire Impacts
Keep campfires small and contained to established fire rings in permitted sites only.
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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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