Sandy River Paddle: Fairbanks to Farmington Falls

This day paddle has meandering flatwater as well as an exciting ledge drop that can be challenging before water levels decrease in the spring. With an abundance of biodiversity and interesting geological features on the river bank, it is a relaxing outing for all.
Trail Activity
10.70 miles, One Way
Water - River/Stream


This reach of the Sandy River has only one challenging rapid, and the rest is an easy paddle with flat and quickwater sections.

4.5 miles after the Fairbanks bridge, there is an interesting ledge drop (Class II+) on each side of a boulder in the middle of the river. The right side has a small chute to go over the ledge before immediately encountering a few boulders to the right. The left side has a wider area that can be used to go over the ledge, which is then followed by a series of waves and assorted boulders. Either line can be taken to go through the rapid, depending on water level.

After the ledge drop, the remaining 5 miles are through calm water before reaching the take-out point at Farmington Falls at a beach on the left of the river mid way through a Class I-II boulder garden.

Please note: It may be necessary to land before the take-out on the rock outcropping on river left and line/portage your boat to the take-out since the beach is located midway through the rapid.

Other Information

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

Trail Manager

For more information, 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

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Trail Tips

Plan Ahead and Prepare
Tell someone your plan and when you’ll return, just in case.
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Trailhead Information

Put-in: Three miles north of downtown Farmington, turn left onto Pierpole road. There is a baseball field and plentiful parking. There are two trails that lead to the beach on the west side of the river just downstream from the ME-4 bridge.

Access point: There is an easy walk to the river and a picnic area at the Maine Department of Human Services building at the intersection of ME-4 and US-2 in Farmington. 

Take-out: Take US-2 4.4 miles east of the intersection of US-2 and ME-4 in Farmington. Turn right onto ME-41. Parking is at a gravel pull-out before the bridge after 0.4 miles. The trail up from the parking area to the river is quite narrow and access from the river can be tricky.

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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